Monterey County

Shale Island

This January I had the pleasure of accompanying Chuck Tribolet on a couple of dives, and he had fun taking me to sites that were new to me. On our second dive he offered up a site within the huge shale bed directly off Del Monte Beach. I am not normally a fan of the shale bed, but new sites are always an adventure. Most of the shale area off of Del Monte Beach consists of low ledges running southeast to northwest, with the face […]

Chase Reef

In 1901 Lucie and Henry Chase moved to Pacific Grove, and Lucie became active in the Woman’s Civic Improvement Club. She was well known for many good deeds, most importantly, giving the Pacific Grove Museum to the city on her 90th birthday. The city later named a park between Ocean View Boulevard and Jewell Avenue in her honor. Old time divers refer to the expansive reef and dive site offshore of this park as Chase Reef. Chase Reef is composed of two reef structures. The […]

Strawberry Fields

Monterey County offers an enormous variety of dive sites. There are well-protected sites that are enjoyable to the least experienced of us, even during rough weather. Then there are exposed sites that offer up a wider variety and greater concentration of marine life. You do not have to travel to the remote corners of the county to find these sites; some are close, accessible, and are passed over by divers on their way to more remote sites. There are several named dive sites in the […]

The Great Pinnacle at Point Lobos

My buddies, John and Brian, joined me on my birthday dive this year, and Neptune offered the best present yet—a spectacular dive site with great conditions. There was no wind and a trivial swell when we pulled into the Point Lobos parking lot. We found a wisp of kelp on an outer pinnacle and dropped anchor. There was a thick plankton bloom near the surface, but as we dropped below 50 feet the vis opened up to nearly 70 feet. Then the fish came out […]

Monastery Beach

Throughout the world there are dive sites with name recognition. Some are famous for their beauty; others are infamous for their challenging dive conditions—the ones requiring a higher level of skill and comfort to enjoy. And, then there are those that are both beautiful and challenging. Monastery Beach just south of Carmel is one of these. The Monastery Beach entry is composed of a steep beach, with loose, coarse sand and plunging breakers. The unstable footing and rough, but short, entry requires a bit of […]

Wharf #2

What is the best dive in Monterey Bay? What is meant by best? Best for photography? Easiest entry? Most varied marine life? Not an easy question; not an easy answer. One way to deal with the question is to listen to what the experts say. Lynn May, former owner of the Silver Prince dive boat, could dive anywhere he wanted. He claimed that the best dive in Monterey Bay was underneath Wharf #2. Beneath the wharf is a three-dimensional structure that has something interesting to […]

Inner Chase Reef

Inner Chase Reef is known among local divers as one of the best sites for underwater photography in the Monterey Bay. This reef is swept by ocean currents and yet receives moderate protection from Point Pinos. The combination produces relatively calm conditions with a cornucopia of marine life to photograph. Chase Reef is a rocky outcropping composed of two structures. The Outer Reef is located in deeper water (40-110 feet), extends from Point Pinos towards Coral Street, and the only access is by boat. The […]

Hidden Beach

Sometimes the name of a dive site is misleading. Take Hidden Beach for example. By the name you might expect it to be hard to find or off the beaten path. Well, these statements cannot be further from the truth. Hidden Beach is easy to find and is located right along Cannery Row. There is a little park near the Monterey Breakwater that is dwarfed by a large hotel on each side. The Monterey Bay Inn and Monterey Plaza Hotel effectively hide the entry from […]

Coral Street

Winter diving in Monterey may be personified by Beauty or the Beast. When winter storms roll through it’s best to find a warm fire, far away from the water. However, something magical happens during the period between storms. The swell calms down, particles settle out, and the offshore wind from an approaching storm turns the surface Monterey Bay into a mirror and the water, gin clear. This is my favorite time to dive Monterey. During the calm before the storm, divers are often able to […]

Point Joe

It was one of those magical days in Monterey. The ocean’s surface shined like polished onyx. Wave height was measured in inches, not feet. Sailboats sat lifeless in their slips, while their owners prayed for wind. Time to go diving! On rare days like these you can dive anywhere in Monterey, so we sought out sites that are undiveable under “normal” conditions. This day we checked out the extensive reef system off Point Joe. This site is about halfway between Point Pinos and Cypress Point. […]

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