San Diego County

Cortez Bank

We were in the water just before daybreak. As we descended, light reflecting off the white sand and shell bottom made it brighter 50 feet underwater than it had been at the surface. Visibility was about 75 to 100 feet; the water was crystal clear. We passed over swaying palm kelp and saw pink-purple coralline algae everywhere. As long as we stayed below 30 feet the surge wasn’t bothersome, but in the shallower areas we felt as if we were in a giant washing machine. […]

Los Coronados Islands: Lobster Shack

A school of tropical triggerfish dances 20 feet away in 100 feet of visibility. Closer examination of the reef in shallow reveals brightly colored cardinal fish. You are in Mexican waters, to be sure, but getting here did not involve a long plane flight nor even a time-consuming border crossing. In fact, it was only a 90-minute boat ride, straight out of Mission Bay in San Diego, good old USA. No visas, no customs, but a different world just the same. The Los Coronados are […]

San Diego’s Best Macro-Photo Dives

Underwater photographers looking for the ultimate macro dive site are in search of a gold mine, a motherlode. I know. My macro camera is big and bulky and I don’t get much pleasure out of swimming around a lot with it. I want to drop down onto site where I can shoot a whole roll of magnificent subjects in a 50-foot radius. I want a target-rich environment. San Diego has its fair share. NOSC TOWER By now, San Diego’s “Wreck Alley” is quite famous, especially […]

Baja La Jolla

“Wow! What is all that?” exclaimed the out-of-state diver as he gazed across the vast biological soup extending to Point La Jolla. Kelp—one of the largest and healthiest forests in the state. It rolled in the swell. Birds rested on the massive surface clumps. Below the boat, you could see that the individual strands made up twisted vine-like strands buoyed to the sky, supported by grape-like air bladders with a single long leaf attached. Depending on the season, current climate mode and storms, this forest […]

The Scripps/La Jolla Submarine Canyon

Off the coastline of La Jolla in San Diego lies a large and very deep submarine canyon system with two branches that climb from the abyss to just within reach of shore divers near the La Jolla Shores resort and the Scripps pier lying one-half mile to the north. After a short swim from the sandy beach at La Jolla Shores, a set of buoys marks the approximate location of the upper reaches of the canyon. At about 30 feet the slope of the sand […]

Three-Fingers Reef (a.k.a. 7 Fathom Reef or Tower Reef)

In a current, the leading edge of the reef is always the most fascinating. There always seems to be a lot of fish and they are always bustling with activity. Fish jostle for the best position to pick tid-bits of food brought in by the moving waters. And there always seems to be a predator fish nearby to pick off those smaller fish that are less cautious. Rocks are covered with busy life that also capitalizes on food brought directly to them in the currents. […]

A Macro View of the Yukon Wreck

On my last dive trip to San Diego, I found myself sitting over the Yukon wreck preparing for my umpteenth obligatory dive on the sunken ship. Don’t get me wrong—I love diving the Yukon. And I have yet to fully explore the wreck (especially the inside). But this was a photo trip and had wide-angle photoed this ship upside down (actually sideways because that is the way she lays) and backwards. Great shots of the gun turrets, bow, divers in hatchways and more, but I […]

Marine Street

During the course of the diving year in San Diego, I always look for new spots to dive. The La Jolla Peninsula offers up some incredible shore diving spots, but I am always drawn to spots that are out of the way and heavily trafficked. Ideally, I like spots that are not well known, have reefs that are not too beat up from divers, and offer a lot of marine life to look at. While just a stone’s throw away from some of the better-known […]

Pillbox

Like a lot of San Diego divers, I used to think that there were no dive sites worth diving north of Scripps Canyon. After all, Point Loma and the La Jolla peninsula offered all the diving I could handle. I was a regular at the Cove, Casa Pool, Sunset Cliffs, etc. These are all fantastic dive spots. Why sit in traffic past the 8-805 split when I could spend more time diving? I didn’t realize the answer until I moved to Solana Beach in North […]

Powerhouse

We often get spoiled in California by the picturesque scenes of beautiful coastlines and long stretches of sandy beaches. We are fortunate as divers not only to recognize the beauty of the coastline on land but also underwater. There are a few spots that really capture what California is all about both above and below the water. Powerhouse is such a spot. Powerhouse is a spectacular beach dive located in Del Mar, California near San Diego. It is named after a large powerhouse that still […]

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