Channel Islands

Little Farnsworth

The first time I tried to dive Little Farnsworth, my buddy and I ended up over a 130-foot sand bottom. In a heavy current, the boat had slipped anchor and on the descent down the anchor line we missed the pinnacle entirely. Little Farnsworth is a tough dive but worth the effort. Recently I was a bit more lucky. Descending to the rock face with my lights on, I was greeted by a wall of color. An orange-yellow burst into my eyes, provided by Zoanthid […]

Parson’s Landing

You’ve all seen them in the travel brochures—deserted island beaches with green hills surrounding a secluded cove. Don’t head for the airport to jump on a plane! We have them right here in Southern California. One of the best is Parson’s Landing on Catalina Island. Once more, there is great snorkeling and diving right offshore. And you can camp right on the beach! As you plan your trips for this summer, put Parson’s on your list for a relaxing afternoon— or a whole weekend. Parson’s […]

Ship Rock – A Mecca For Divers

It’s a Catalina landmark as well as a Mecca for divers. The guano covered pinnacle rises 66 feet above the ocean and resembles the white sail of a ship (albeit an enormous one). This pinnacle is known as Ship Rock. In open water, less than a mile and a half from the little town of Two Harbors at the Isthmus, Ship Rock is considered an advanced dive. It’s deep (more than 120 feet at the base of the pinnacle) and gets deeper the farther you […]


“Wall diving” has become popular on coral reefs throughout the world with just reason. Wall diving gives us a humbling look into the abyss. It also allows us to approach reef life in a different posture that is often more comfortable for the diver and the marine life. A true “wall dive” is a vertical drop of a hundred feet or more. Much of this feature in coral reefs is owed to how the reef grows in a vertical fashion over many thousands of years. […]

Parallel Reefs

Along the backside of Anacapa Island, between Middle and West Anacapa, are a series of reefs that run roughly parallel to shore, hence the name. It is a large dive area with a variety of depths, and one can easily spend an entire day of diving here, if not a whole season. The most interesting of the reefs is the outer spine. This rocky outcropping extends for considerable distance and offers a good profile with pinnacles, ridges, and mini-walls. The top of the reef sits […]

Isthmus Reef: One of Catalina’s Easiest Dives

One of the easiest yet most interesting dives off Catalina is Isthmus Reef. Many student divers arrive here with their classes. And since the hyperbaric chamber at the USC Wrigley Marine Science Center is just more than one-quarter mile away in Big Fisherman’s Cove, this is also a favorite site for boats participating in Chamber Day, the popular event benefiting the Catalina Hyperbaric Chamber taking place the first Wednesday of every May. They put their divers in the water while awaiting their turns to tie […]

Wilson Rock

It’s no wonder I love diving on mountains in the sea. I love earthly mountains. For fun, if I’m not diving I’m knocking about the Sierra Nevada. While I’m not a mountain climber, I do enjoy gazing at them and enjoy communing with the beautiful nature that lies at their bases and on the slopes. With diving, there are some very famous spots around the Channel Islands that make mountain diving worthwhile — but with these mountains you don’t climb, you start at the top […]

Cherry Cove South

Now that the crowds of summer have gone, divers can safely get into nooks, crannies and reefs of Isthmus Cove usually jammed with pleasure boaters during summer months. Perhaps the most popular mooring areas is Cherry Cove on the west side of Isthmus Cove. There are a total of 103 moorings in the cove (controlled by the Isthmus Harbor Patrol) and a Boy Scout Camp on shore. On the north side of the cove is the popular dive site known as Lion Head. Although boat […]


The frontside of San Clemente Island, for the most part, runs in a straight line to the southeast. Steep slopes or cliffs plunge into the sea and the slope continues underwater. There are some prominent and exiting dives here such as Fish Hook, Window Pane, Wagon Tracks and more. But here and there are also fringing reefs along this coast. A few points mark larger reef structures offshore that are by no means hidden but rather given away by heavy kelp growth. Hole-In-The-Wall is just […]

China Point

Smuggling illegal immigrants into the U.S. through California is not just recent history. Nor was it limited to Hispanics. In the mid-nineteenth century, racism and fears of cheap labor taking away jobs of American citizens caused the government to ban Chinese immigration. But that did not stop the smugglers. Catalina became a stopping point for smuggling process and a camp was set up at a well hidden point on the backside of the island. History often leads to the names of locations and the spot […]

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