Dive Spots

At-A-Glance  Location: On the mainland side Anacapa Island (actually a chain of three islets) that is the closest to mainland of all the Channel Islands at only 11 miles off Port Hueneme. It is wedged between the dive sites known as the Pelican Preserve (which can only be dived in November and December) and Goldfish Bowl.  Access: Boat only. Skill: All levels. Visibility: Fair to good. Depths: up to 50 feet on sand. Hunting: Not allowed. Photography: Excellent fish photography. Only fair for all other. […]

A Diving and Paddling Paradise: Van Damme State Park

Californians can easily appreciate the pristine beauty of our beaches and coastal parks as they gear up for a dive. However, it may be difficult to believe that in the past our dive sites were once centers of intense commercial activity. Nearly all of the dive sites in Mendocino County were once lumber ports that provided the timber to build the growing City of San Francisco. Van Damme State Park is an example of a great dive site with a lot of history. The landing […]

A Monterey Marvel: Metridium Mountain

At-A-Glance Skill Level: Beginner or better Location: Offshore of Hopkins Marine Station in Pacific Grove at 36° 37.327’ N, 121° 53.982’ W. Access: Boats may be launched from the public ramps at Monterey Breakwater or between Fisherman’s Wharf and Wharf #2. Facilities: None Entry and Exit: Only boat access Depth Range: 48 to 65 feet Conditions: Predictably very calm Visibility: 10 to 30 feet Photography: Great macro photography even when visibility is poor. Great wide-angle photography of anemones when visibility is good. Hunting: None, this […]

A “Dream House” Dive: Copper Roof Houses

Skill Level: Beginners should buddy with more advanced divers; otherwise it is an intermediate to advanced site depending on wave height. Location: At the south end of Carmel Beach in Carmel. Access: Drive west on Rio Road from Hwy. 1, turn left on Santa Lucia, and make a left on Scenic Road. Park on Scenic near the intersection of Martin Way. Facilities: None Entry and Exit: The beach is a short walk down a well-maintained staircase. Enter close to the rocks on the south side […]

A Good Site, By Any Name: Three Fingers Reef, 
7-Fathom Reef or Tower Reef

Currents are the lifeblood of any healthy reef system, especially in California. In a current, the leading edge of the reef is the most fascinating. There always seems to be a lot of fish life and the reef bustles with activity. Three Fingers Reef is bathed in nutrient-rich currents, creating an underwater garden of color, life and activity. This spot is also frequently called 7-fathom or Tower Reef (named for the water tower on shore). No matter how you call it, it’s a beautiful dive. […]

A Great Escape: Carmel River State Beach

The early Spanish explorers put many of the names on the map, and this spot is no exception. Our Lady of Mount Carmel was the patroness of priests who accompanied the explorer, Sebastian Vizcaíno, in 1602. He named a number of places Carmel in honor of his priests. This beach is found just south of Carmel-by-the-Sea, and is popular with beach lovers and a few intrepid divers. My favorite way to dive this site is to enter at the far west end of the beach, […]

Monterey’s Iconic Dive Site: The Breakwater

At-A-Glance Skill Level: Beginner or better. Location: The Breakwater is located at the intersection of Cannery Row and Foam Street in the City of Monterey. Access: Available at the base of The Breakwater, or above San Carlos Beach, northeast of The Breakwater. It is a short walk to the beach down a well-maintained set of stairs. Facilities: Restrooms and showers are available on The Breakwater. Breakwater Scuba is located on Cannery Row at the north end of San Carlos Beach, and Out To Sea is […]

An Underwater Safari: Exploring Africa Cove

When we boarded the Sundiver Express we were headed for Catalina Island, but when we reached our dive site, the skipper, Kyaa, said we’d just reached Africa. I’m not exactly certain how Africa Cove got its name, but I’m guessing it’s because exploring this site is like being on an underwater safari. Almost immediately I found a pair of moray eels and about a half-dozen lobsters. Africa Cove is part of a Marine Conservation Area, which accounts for some of its bounty. As with most […]

Monterey’s Accidental Dive Site: Municipal Wharf II

‘What is the best dive in Monterey Bay? What is best? Best for photography? Easiest entry? Most diverse marine life? Not an easy question… No easy answers… One way to address the question is to listen to what the experts say. Lynn May, the original owner of the Silver Prince dive boat, could dive anywhere he wanted. He claimed that the best dive in Monterey Bay was the Municipal Wharf II. Wharf II was actually inspired by an accident. On March 3, 1923, the largest […]

The Jewel of Emerald Bay: Indian Rock

My buddy and I became separated. We could not see each other. Although the water clarity was upward of 50 feet, and we were about 20 feet off the bottom, and only 20 feet apart we were blinded simply by the engulfing mass of silver life that surrounded us. I even had trouble telling which way was up! The school of jack mackerel was massive, the largest I’d ever seen. It must have numbered 10 to 20 thousand, but who was counting or even could. […]

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