South Coast

Off the Beaten Path in Laguna: Woods Cove

If anywhere along the southern California coastline can be called a Mecca for beach divers, it would be the Laguna Beach area along Orange County’s southern shores. The reasons are obvious: clear water, easy access, and an abundance of marine life that’s hard to match. It is not unusual to see a hundred or more divers assaulting the beaches here on any given weekend during the summer. Not to worry though. Laguna Beach offers enough quantity and variety of dive spots where one can obtain […]

A Beach Dive With a Bit of Everything: 
La Jolla Submarine Canyon

At-A-Glance Skill Level: Novice to advanced Location: Water entry at several locations but the most frequently used is at Vallecitos Street south of the lifeguard tower at the south end of Kellogg Park off La Jolla shores. Access: Sandy beach from a free parking lot. Entry and Exit: Generally easy across a sandy beach surf entry. Avoid in larger surf. Depth Range: 10 to 50 feet along the sand flats then stair step down or steep drop, depending on location, to over sport diving limits. […]

A Bit of Luck for Divers: The Wreck of the Gambler Monfalcone

At-A-Glance Skill Level: Advanced due to usual poor visibility. Location: Off the east end of Long Beach breakwater. GPS: N33°41.717’, W118°08.740’ Access: Boat only. Commercial dive charter vessel strongly recommended, as location is often difficult to find among shipping and fishing boat traffic. Private boat launches available in Long Beach. Entry and Exit: Can be tough in open water location open to shipping and small boat traffic. Depth Range: 65 to 75 feet. Conditions: Poor to occasionally good. Often surge from even moderate swell in […]

Ancient Artistry: Point Loma’s Sea Cliffs

At-A-Glance Skill Level: Advanced Location: Approximately 1 mile offshore of Point Loma running parallel to the shore. Easy to spot on depth finder. Generally along the seaward edge of the kelp forest. Directly west of the Cabrillo Light House has some excellent walls, even deep cracks and crevices. Access: Boat dive. Charter boats depart nearby Mission Bay. Public boat ramps there as well. Entry and Exit: Boats only but heavy swell can sometimes affect the area. Depth Range: 65 to 115 feet. Conditions: Surge in […]

Coast Highway Classic: Laguna’s Aliso Beach 

Laguna Beach offers some of the best beach diving in all of southern California. Most diving is immediately north of the main part of town. Countless divers have enjoyed the underwater wonders of Divers Cove, Shaw’s Cove, Crescent Bay, Picnic Beach, and other sites. But seasoned divers know there is more to the south of town. Perhaps the dive site with the easiest beach access is at Aliso Beach Park. Cruising along southward as you head toward Dana Point, Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1) dips down to […]

Redondo Submarine Canyon

Many LA County divers are likely familiar with Veteran’s Park and the offshore Redondo Submarine Canyon, as it’s a popular spot for training entry-level scuba students. The canyon is also a great location for more advanced classes. After a short swim you drop down to a 25-30 foot sand bottom and move west. As you reach a depth of about 35 feet, you’ll start down a rather steep slope to about 75-80 feet, which quickly drops to below 100 feet and then to the abyss. This […]

Natural Wonders at White Point

The Palos Verdes Peninsula at the Southern end of Los Angeles County can have some fantastic diving that often rivals that of the Channel Islands. Waters are generally clear, with abundant kelp and marine life, and there are even a few wrecks and an underwater arch or two. Charter boats leave from San Pedro and Redondo Beach but only the six-pack boat Island Diver visits these sites regularly. Shore diving options are limited, requiring hikes down steep trails. However, there is one location that allows […]

Deadman’s Reef

Deadman's Reef
Deadman's Reef

Deadman’s Reef is among the best beach dives in all Laguna Beach, perhaps all of Orange County. Blizzards of fishes swirl about and the majority of marine species common to southern California waters can be found there. Marine life rivals that of great dive sites out at the Channel Islands, and water clarity is often on par with Catalina Island. So what’s the flip side? You’ll have to do a bit of work to get there, as the reef is about 300 to 400 yards […]

Exploring Corona Del Mar’s Little Corona

Repeatedly diving a particular location has its benefits. You get to know the “lay of the land,” individual animals, seasons, and ecological shifts. But at Little Corona the ocean throws something new at us every time we dive there.  Our first dive there years ago produced a huge horn shark at over four-feet long. Subsequent dives over the years have produced large halibut, big bat rays, marauding sea lions, dolphins, diving cormorant birds, as well as the more common but just as delightful congregations of […]

Santa Barbara’s Biltmore Steps

The Biltmore Hotel has been a graceful landmark on the Santa Barbara coastline since 1927. Being one of the most premier hotels in all of Southern California, its elegance is not just owed to wonderful architecture and supreme customer service but also its incredible location. Looking out from the hotel you’ll enjoy views of the Pacific Ocean, Santa Barbara Channel and the silhouettes of the beautiful Northern Channel Islands. The views are spectacular across the thin sand beach where honeymooners often stroll at sunset.  The […]

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