Monterey County

Taking it In: Diving Near Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Intake Pipes

When the Monterey Bay Aquarium opened its doors in 1984 it would have been difficult to predict just how much this institution would change the face of Monterey. In a few short years Monterey went from a sleepy fishing and vacation community to a major tourist destination that attracts visitors from throughout the country and internationally. Its large and small tanks are a monument to the marine life of the Monterey Bay, and numerous scientific studies are conducted here, aimed at protecting our oceans. The […]

High Education – and Entertainment – at Hopkins Reef

Hopkins Marine Station

Have you ever thought about diving in a school? No, I’m not talking about being one with the fishes. I’m talking about a real school, with laboratories and classrooms. Well, if you ever dived at Hopkins Reef, off Point Cabrillo, that’s sort of what you’ve done. There is an extensive reef system directly offshore of the Hopkins Marine Station in Pacific Grove. Stanford University operates the lab named after one of its co-founders, Timothy Hopkins. Here students and professors have the opportunity to learn more […]

Carmel’s Butterfly House Beach

The Monterey and Carmel Bays have a great number of fantastic beach dives. However, most divers tend to visit the more popular sites along the inner Monterey Bay and Southern Carmel Bay, while ignoring some of the more interesting and off-the-beaten-path beaches. One of my favorite, yet seldom visited sites is Butterfly House Beach. The Butterfly House entry is located on the protected, south side of the City of Carmel-by-the-Sea, and takes its name from the house with the funky, wing-like roof. This house was […]

A Cavern in Carmel Bay: Brian’s Crack

Brian's Crack dive site

We divers are nothing if we are not explorers. No matter if we are looking for that long lost sunken ship, rare critter to photograph, dinner, or simply to seek out what lies beyond the next rock, we are constantly exploring our underwater world. No aspect of exploration is more profound than cavern and cave diving. Like the sirens of Greek legends, these lairs tempt us to explore their inner recesses. While California is not known for its abundance of large caves and caverns, there […]

The Island that Isn’t: Monterey’s Shale Island

Each weekend hundreds of student divers fill the parking lots adjacent the Monterey Breakwater. While the diving at the Breakwater is quite good, particularly if you swim out past the classes, few know that better diving is found about a half mile offshore from the tip of the Breakwater. Here divers find a great expanse of rocky reef that old timers call Shale Beds or Tanker Reef. “Shale Beds” describes the composition of the rock found here, while “Tanker Reef” refers to the spot where […]

Monterey Bay’s Aumentos Reef

While beach diving is certainly a lot of fun, the dive sites with better visibility and more marine life must be dived from a boat since they are located so far from the beach. The area east of Point Pinos has a large number of “named sites” that are truly great dives. One of the more popular is Aumentos Reef; and for good reason since this reef supports one of the densest populations of marine life in the Monterey Bay.   The name of this […]

Carmel Bay’s Fire Rock: A Perfect Wintertime Dive

‘When El Niño-driven winter storms hit the California Coast it is best to view the ocean from a long, safe distance. However, the times between storms produce the finest diving of the year. Regardless of El Niño conditions the water temperature in winter is considerably warmer than that found during spring and early summer; and calm, winter days produce the best visibility of the year, often over 80 feet. One of my favorite winter dives is the Carmel Bay site called Fire Rock.   Fire […]

Getting Serious at Monterey’s Seriously Reef

I was out on a dive charter in September and the captain asked me where I wanted to dive. Of course I asked her to select a spot that I have not previously reviewed. She responded, “Seriously!”  “Yes, seriously,” I replied.  “No, the dive sites name is Seriously,” she explained. At first it felt like we were reliving Abbot and Costello’s “Who’s on first?” sketch, but I finally realized we were going to dive a new site named Seriously. The site was identified from bathometry […]

Lovers Point East Side

Lovers Point offers one of the most comfortable and underappreciated dives in the Monterey Bay Area. In the early days of Monterey this area was very popular among amorous teenagers. Now, it is a spot for those who love the ocean and diving. This is a particularly convenient place to dive since you can park near the water and find interesting diving close to shore. Surprisingly, this is one of those sites where unusual things can almost be expected to happen. Lovers Point has two […]

Monterey Bay’s Eric’s Pinnacle

The greater Monterey Bay Area has a large number of “named” dive sites; and there is often an entertaining story that accompanies each name. Eric’s Pinnacle is a good example. Back in the 1990s Captain Phil Sammet and Eric Minard (Captain Dave Minard’s brother) were out looking for a sandy spot to hunt halibut. Phil was driving and Eric was watching the depth finder when they went over a steep-sided pinnacle. Eric exclaimed, “Wow, look at that!” Phil said, “You found it; what are you […]

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