North Coast

Salt Point State Park’s South Cove

Along California’s North Coast there are basically two types of dive sites. First are the popular sites. These are easy to find, are in every dive guide or magazine overview article, and are prominently identified on road maps using the secret word “cove.” Most of these have diver-friendly facilities. The other type of site is the uncommon site (AKA secret sites). These are not identified on any map, are hard to find, and have no facilities. In general you must have a friend who shows […]

Anchor Bay

There are times when I like to find the perfect spot and just stay there for a while. Three-day weekends are like that. With everyone driving here and there, it is sometimes nice to find a superb dive site and have everything you need nearby. Anchor Bay fits this description nicely. Anchor Bay is located north of Gualala in Mendocino County and access to the ocean is through a private campground. Nestled in a large stand of redwoods and amidst one of the prettier parts […]

Gerstle Cove

Back when I was a new diver I embraced a number of dive sites for their easy entries and abundance of marine life. Like many, as I gained more experience I sought out more advanced sites, with the promise of more marine life. One of my formally favorite sites is Gerstle Cove, and I must admit that it has been nearly eight years since I dived there. This year I took a new diver there and was truly sorry that I was away so long. […]

Kruse Ranch

There are two ways to dive Sonoma County: you can follow the crowds, or you can venture out on your own. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. At popular spots like Gerstle, Ocean, or Timber Coves, you will find easy access to the water, diver-friendly facilities, and plenty of parking. You will also find plenty of other divers and less game. Out of the way places often require a bit more work getting to and from the water, but you’ll seldom have a hard time […]

A Diver’s Delight – Public Easements Along the Mendocino County

I’ve never been a fan of big government, but sometimes they surprise me and get it right. Such is the case of the California Coastal Commission. The Commission was established by voter initiative in 1972, made permanent by the Legislature four years later, and is responsible for regulating land and water uses along our coast. Part of their mission is to establish and maintain public access to the coast. All of our State’s beaches are public and no one but the State or Federal Government […]

Van Damme State Park

Many of us in Northern California look forward to the opening of abalone season with child-like anticipation. The arrival of spring denotes longer and warmer days and fresh shellfish for the table. However, opening day also comes with a bit of hesitation since the early-season weather is not always optimum for water sports. What divers often look for in early season are protected sites with a lot of abalone, and Little River Cove at Van Damme State Park fills the bill nicely. Little River Cove […]

Cuffey’s Cove

Roger and I were on a mission: we were looking for big abalone. Some years ago I explored the area north of Elk, called Cuffey’s Cove and found a large number of abalone that were just short of 10 inches. The plan was to find those who had grown up a bit. We paddled our kayaks across Greenwood Cove and headed north. About half way across the cove we felt the impact of numerous small objects striking the bottom of our kayaks. This was somewhat […]

Fisk Mill Cove

Unlike the coastline of Central and Southern California, the Sonoma Coast has relatively few protected areas. Some coves face northward into the predominant northwesterly swell and make for inhospitable diving. Others face southward and are calm havens for divers. At the north end of Salt Point State park is a moderate-sized cove that offers a comfortable dive with excellent abalone hunting. Fisk Mill Cove takes its name from the lumber mill that operated here in the late 1800s and is the most recent acquisition to […]

Mendocino County: Albion

It is amazing how a single conversation can change your life. In the summer of 1850 Captain William Richardson was enjoying a drink in a bar in San Francisco, when a group of shipwrecked sailors stumbled in. The sailors shared their tale of harrow and survival as their ship became wrecked off the Mendocino coast and they had to row in a small boat to San Francisco. But, they spoke of more than survival. They spoke of huge forests without end and trees so big […]

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