Dive Spots

Hen Rock

You’ve got to love those dive sites that can satisfy all skill levels. Hen Rock is just one of those locations. Reef and sand bottom depths vary from around 15 to 85 feet on the outer pinnacles. And there is no shortage of things to see and do. Swim-throughs, schools of fish, mini-walls and overhangs — sounds like an advanced dive site, doesn’t it? It’s not. Hen Rock is one of the best beginner dive sites at Catalina Island. It has a lot of fun […]

Something for Everyone: Satisfying Diving at Hen Rock

At-A-Glance Skill Level: All. Location: Just to the southeast of Long Point on the front side of Catalina Island. GPS N 33°24.051’, W 118°21.984’ Access: Boat only. Entry and Exit: Easy off boat as conditions are almost always calm. Depth Range: 15 to 85 feet. Conditions: Excellent where waters are almost always very calm. Visibility: Good averaging a consistent 40 feet. Photography: Good wide-angle with varied reef structure and occasionally a kelp forest. Hunting: Generally poor. Sometimes you might find a fair sized calico bass […]

Rocking It At Monterey’s Cloud Mountain

At-A-Glance Skill Level: Intermediate or better due the possibility of strong currents. Location: Offshore of Pacific Grove at 36° 38.326’ N, 121° 55.307’ 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: 40 to 60 feet Conditions: Variable Visibility: 20 to 40 feet Photography: Great macro and fish photography even on days when the visibility to poor; good wide-angle photography when the visibility is […]

The Farallons: Raw and Rugged, with Sharks

At-A-Glance Skill Level: Anyone, even non-divers, may enjoy the surface cages. Advanced divers are only allowed in the submersible cage. When conditions allow, professional divers are permitted to venture out of the submersible cage, while on the bottom and under safety diver escort. Location: 30 miles west of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Access: There is a special closure around Southeast Farallon Island under the California Marine Life Protection Act that defines where boats may travel and anchor. Visit wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/MPAs. Facilities: None, except […]

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 […]

History and Healthy Kelp Forest: Enjoying Monterey’s McAbee Beach

Each and every one of our California dive spots has a long and rich history. Take McAbee Beach in Monterey, for example. In the 1890s John B. McAbee found the inspiration to set up a seaside resort along what would later be called Cannery Row. He purchased some land in the center of the Row, put up a few tent-cottages, and purchased some small boats to rent. On summer Sundays this was the place to sunbathe, take a dip in the ocean, and to see […]

Diving Point Lobos the Easy Way

Most of us tend to reflect on the “good old days” with a great deal of fondness. I suspect this is true mostly because we tend to forget the tough parts. In the “good old days” (when I was younger, stronger, and poorer) we would dive Point Lobos from the ramp, and swim all the way around the corner into Bluefish Cove. Later, I had access to a small inflatable boat, and traded long swims for time spent prepping and cleaning the boat. These days, […]

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 […]

A Treasured Historic Site: Bluefish Cove, Point Lobos State Natural Reserve 

Divers, in general, are not aware of the colorful history of our most treasured dive sites. They come, dive, and depart without thinking about what happened in the past. Take Point Lobos, for example. In 1769 Point Lobos was named “Punta de los Lobos Marinos”, or Point of the Sea Wolves, by early Spanish explorers because of the large concentration of California sea lions that reside here. It was first a logging camp, then from the 1860s through the early 1890s a whaling port, an abalone harvesting […]

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