South Coast

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 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 […]

Scoring a Satisfying Dive at Point Loma’s Goal Posts

One the largest continuous kelp forests in all of coastal Southern California is off Point Loma, San Diego. Depending on seasons and seas the Point Loma kelp forest can extend dozens of square miles. And not only is this forest thick and lush, but it’s also teeming with marine life.  A great place to experience the Point Loma kelp forest is at a spot known as Goal Posts. Much of the bottom off Point Loma is flat rock bottom. While it supports the kelp holdfasts, […]

Mission Beach’s NOSC Tower Wreck

The ocean has a way of taking massive metallic creations of man, smashing and tearing them, and throwing them to the sea floor in a heap. Then in its own sweet time, it turns the wreckage into a colorfully decorated thing of beauty. Such is the case with the Naval Ocean Systems Center (NOSC) Tower off Mission Beach in San Diego. The Tower began its life as a 100-foot tall steel structure carefully secured to the sea floor in 1959. Although having nothing to do […]

Enjoying SoCal’s Deer Creek

The next time you are heading out of L.A. for Ventura or Santa Barbara take the coastal route. Highway 1, also known as Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) or just Coast Highway, passes through the famous Malibu colony but more importantly directly along side some of the best coastal scenery in all of Southern California.  As you travel, glance toward the sea on occasion and you’ll notice large kelp forests hugging the shoreline at many places. Beneath these canopies are excellent dive sites, reefs with abundant […]

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