Channel Islands

The Garden

If we are to see and photograph more fish, we have to go where they are in abundance. And a long established marine preserve is the best place to do this. With a marine preserve that has been around for decades, not only are fish plentiful, they are usually large and unafraid of divers. Such is the case on the frontside of East Anacapa Island. In existence since 1978, this is one of the longest established marine preserves in North America. Smack dab in the […]

Twin Rocks

Sometimes when you’re out on an underwater photo expedition you want to target one species. On this particular dive trip I wanted some photos of the giant black sea bass (Stereolepis gigas). It had been awhile since I’ve had the opportunity to swim with these magnificent creatures and booking a trip recently on the Sundiver Express was one of my specific goals. I was not disappointed. I was in for the best encounter I’d ever had with these great creatures. We rocketed out of Long […]

Avalon Underwater Park

The Avalon Underwater Park is like the sampler appetizer platter. It has a bit of everything so that the diver can taste what Southern California diving has to offer. There are kelp forests, mini-walls, small pinnacles, wrecks, sand flats, shallows and deep diving all in one place. And all these environs are chock full of critters, big and small. The waters are clear and it is easy to get to, easy to dive and, for the most part, inexpensive. When I am approached by somebody […]

Farnsworth Bank

I peered over the side for a better look and watched the reef drop away to a vertical wall. Even though the visibility was well over 80 feet, I could not make out the bottom below. When I switched on my light I was dazzled by the color—purple hydrocoral, orange sponges, and pink gorgonia. Just then an enormous school of bait fish swam up the wall and over my head. Another great dive at Farnsworth Bank. Farnsworth Bank is a sea mount located in open […]

The Jester of Torqua Springs

It was a fairly “ordinary” dive. Pretty, lots of fish, a few lobster, but most were short. No matter, I was taking pictures, hoping to capture the last remaining soupfin shark or black sea bass before they moved on to their winter stomping grounds. Seeing neither, the dive, however, deteriorated into a half-hearted lobster hunt just the same. Near the end of the dive, I was off looking into a particularly promising lobster hole while Kim was nearby poking around as well. There were at […]

East End

San Nicolas is the most remote, least visited, and most mysterious of the Channel Islands. Once home to Chumash Indians, the island is now owned by the U.S. Navy and is part of the Pacific Missile Range. Unless invited by the Navy, it is strictly prohibited to set foot ashore. But don’t let that stop you from visiting the fertile waters around the island. The East End of San Nic provides a calm anchorage and some of the best game hunting in the Channel Islands. […]

The Channels

The “Channels” dive site on the backside of West Anacapa Island is one of those dive sites I fell in love with immediately. It has a nice growth of kelp, healthy, but not too thick, a varied and unusual bottom structure, and a lot of little, and a few big, undersea creatures to keep you entertained on your dive. Another reason I like this dive is because it’s shallow, generally less than 30 feet and much of it less than 20. Shallow dives last longer. […]

Little Geiger Cove

The big, grand dive sites around Catalina Island get all the press. Ship Rock, Isthmus Reef, Bird Rock, Eagle Reef—these are all incredible dive spots but rarely does a weekend go by where they’re not visited by several dive boats. I personally have an affinity for smaller, lesser known coves. All along the frontside of Catalina are dozens of calm little coves, perfect for just one charter boat or a couple of small boats. Little Geiger Cove is just one such gem. Little Geiger Cove […]

San Miguel Island-Channel Islands Outpost

San Miguel Island is the sixth largest of the eight Channel Islands, just 14 square miles in area. It is also the westernmost. Because of the way the mainland juts out into the Pacific Ocean, however, it isn’t the farthest from the coast, San Nicolas Island is. Miguel is 26 miles south of Point Conception and 55 miles west of Ventura. From Santa Barbara, the island is about a four-hour dive boat run; from Ventura, about five hours. San Miguel is one of the five […]

West End

The extreme west end of the West Anacapa Island is one of the most exciting, colorful dive sites in all the Northern Channel Islands chain—and it is rarely dived. This is a very special place. Descending to the reefs you cannot help but be overwhelmed by the color provided by profuse growths of gorgonia. The more common and colorful gold and red gorgonia are present but what makes this place special is the uncommon purple gorgonian; uncommon, however, except for here. There are several mini-walls […]

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