Monterey County

“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, […]

A Treasured Historic Site: Bluefish Cove, Point Lobos State Natural Reserve 

Divers, in general, are not aware of the colorful history of our most treasured dive sites. They come, dive, and depart without thinking about what happened in the past. Take Point Lobos, for example. In 1769 Point Lobos was named “Punta de los Lobos Marinos”, or Point of the Sea Wolves, by early Spanish explorers because of the large concentration of California sea lions that reside here. It was first a logging camp, then from the 1860s through the early 1890s a whaling port, an abalone harvesting […]

A Perfect Monterey Bay Beach Dive: Cool and Calm on Coral Street

At-A-Glance Skill Level: Intermediate or better on most days. Novice divers can enjoy Coral Street on calm days. Since conditions can change rapidly, novices should be accompanied by more experienced divers. Location: At the intersection of Coral Street and Ocean View Boulevard in Pacific Grove. Access: Free parking is available right next to the entry. This is a good spot to launch kayaks to explore the offshore Chase Reef. A short set of stairs takes you to a gravel beach. Facilities: None at the entry; there is a […]

Enjoying Carmel’s Cypress Point

I am constantly amazed by how many individual dive sites exist within the Monterey and Carmel Bays — and just how different these nearby sites can be from each other. One could guess that sites close to one another experience nearly the same ocean conditions and would have similar geographic features and marine life, but this is often not the case. Take for example Humpback Pinnacle off of Cypress Point. This site was named “humpback” because on bathometry charts the reef looks like the arched […]

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