Monterey County

A Great Escape: Carmel River State Beach

The early Spanish explorers put many of the names on the map, and this spot is no exception. Our Lady of Mount Carmel was the patroness of priests who accompanied the explorer, Sebastian Vizcaíno, in 1602. He named a number of places Carmel in honor of his priests. This beach is found just south of Carmel-by-the-Sea, and is popular with beach lovers and a few intrepid divers. My favorite way to dive this site is to enter at the far west end of the beach, […]

Monterey’s Iconic Dive Site: The Breakwater

At-A-Glance Skill Level: Beginner or better. Location: The Breakwater is located at the intersection of Cannery Row and Foam Street in the City of Monterey. Access: Available at the base of The Breakwater, or above San Carlos Beach, northeast of The Breakwater. It is a short walk to the beach down a well-maintained set of stairs. Facilities: Restrooms and showers are available on The Breakwater. Breakwater Scuba is located on Cannery Row at the north end of San Carlos Beach, and Out To Sea is […]

Monterey’s Accidental Dive Site: Municipal Wharf II

‘What is the best dive in Monterey Bay? What is best? Best for photography? Easiest entry? Most diverse marine life? Not an easy question… No easy answers… One way to address the question is to listen to what the experts say. Lynn May, the original owner of the Silver Prince dive boat, could dive anywhere he wanted. He claimed that the best dive in Monterey Bay was the Municipal Wharf II. Wharf II was actually inspired by an accident. On March 3, 1923, the largest […]

“Nobody Here But Us Otters”: Scuba Solitude at Monterey’s Otter Cove

Monterey County has an incredible variety of dive sites, and nearly every public access point offers up a great dive. However, some sites are often very crowed with beach lovers and divers, while equally good nearby sites go unnoticed. Otter Cove is one of those sites. Nearby Lovers Point is often chock-full of divers, while you may not find another diver at Otter Cove, and these sites are only about a quarter-mile apart. At the Otter Cove parking area a sign lets you know you […]

Picking Favorites: North Monastery Beach

Last summer a clerk at one of my local dive shops engaged me in conservation. After exchanging a few pleasantries she asked, “What is your favorite beach dive?” This made me think a bit, since there are so many great beach dives in North/Central California. I really wanted to say, “Depends on conditions,” but held my tongue. After a bit more thought I responded, “North Monastery Beach.” Monastery Beach is located right along Highway 1, and just south of Carmel-by-the-Sea. This beach is officially the […]

A Cool Dive Off Cannery Row: Enjoying San Carlos Beach

Sometimes I seek out challenging sites with access to exposed reefs, deeper water and large animals. At other times I prefer to experience a relaxing dive, with an easy entry and exit, and plenty of colorful critters to photograph. Monterey County offers a great variety of dive sites, so there are plenty of sites to choose from depending on my mood and conditions. One of the most relaxing sites is San Carlos Beach. San Carlos Beach may be found at the end of Cannery Row […]

A Perennial Favorite: Returning to Eric’s Pinnacle

I enjoy the excitement of being the first diver on a new site. However, not every unexplored site offers a great dive, and sometimes you have to pick through the rock pile before you find the true gems. I also enjoy diving my favorite sites year after year to visit with old friends, witness any changes and embrace the predictability of a great dive. Diving a familiar site can be as comforting as sharing coffee with an old friend. One site I enthusiastically dive time […]

Rocking It At Monterey’s Cloud Mountain

At-A-Glance Skill Level: Intermediate or better due the possibility of strong currents. Location: Offshore of Pacific Grove at 36° 38.326’ N, 121° 55.307’ W. Access: Boats may be launched from the public ramps at Monterey Breakwater or between Fisherman’s Wharf and Wharf #2. Facilities: None Entry and Exit: Only boat access Depth Range: 40 to 60 feet Conditions: Variable Visibility: 20 to 40 feet Photography: Great macro and fish photography even on days when the visibility to poor; good wide-angle photography when the visibility is […]

History and Healthy Kelp Forest: Enjoying Monterey’s McAbee Beach

Each and every one of our California dive spots has a long and rich history. Take McAbee Beach in Monterey, for example. In the 1890s John B. McAbee found the inspiration to set up a seaside resort along what would later be called Cannery Row. He purchased some land in the center of the Row, put up a few tent-cottages, and purchased some small boats to rent. On summer Sundays this was the place to sunbathe, take a dip in the ocean, and to see […]

Diving Point Lobos the Easy Way

Most of us tend to reflect on the “good old days” with a great deal of fondness. I suspect this is true mostly because we tend to forget the tough parts. In the “good old days” (when I was younger, stronger, and poorer) we would dive Point Lobos from the ramp, and swim all the way around the corner into Bluefish Cove. Later, I had access to a small inflatable boat, and traded long swims for time spent prepping and cleaning the boat. These days, […]

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