Dive Spots

Coches Prietos: No Pigs, But Plenty of Photo Hogs

Santa Cruz Island’s Coches Prietos anchorage means “dark pig” in Spanish, but in my mind the dive site off the east end point will forever be known as Baby Sheephead Rocks. I’ve tried for many years to get a decent photo of a juvenile sheephead. They’re not uncommon, but the darned things just won’t sit still. For whatever reason, on a recent dive at Coches Prietos I encountered not a dark pig but a photo hog — a lovely juvenile sheephead that parked itself in […]

Well Protected off Point Lobos: The Wonders of Gibson Beach

When divers board boats in Monterey Bay, most expect to dive in Carmel Bay, and many hope to go south of Point Lobos. It is not that the diving is always better farther south, and often is not, but they expect to head south. Sometimes you do not need to go very far south of Point Lobos to both meet expectations and find superior diving. Gibson Beach is a fine example of a dive site that proves this point. Gibson Beach, along with the adjacent […]

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 […]

Taking it In: Diving Near Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Intake Pipes

When the Monterey Bay Aquarium opened its doors in 1984 it would have been difficult to predict just how much this institution would change the face of Monterey. In a few short years Monterey went from a sleepy fishing and vacation community to a major tourist destination that attracts visitors from throughout the country and internationally. Its large and small tanks are a monument to the marine life of the Monterey Bay, and numerous scientific studies are conducted here, aimed at protecting our oceans. The […]

High Education – and Entertainment – at Hopkins Reef

Hopkins Marine Station

Have you ever thought about diving in a school? No, I’m not talking about being one with the fishes. I’m talking about a real school, with laboratories and classrooms. Well, if you ever dived at Hopkins Reef, off Point Cabrillo, that’s sort of what you’ve done. There is an extensive reef system directly offshore of the Hopkins Marine Station in Pacific Grove. Stanford University operates the lab named after one of its co-founders, Timothy Hopkins. Here students and professors have the opportunity to learn more […]

Fast, Fun Action at Anacapa’s Sea Lion Beach

Anacapa Sea Lion Beach

No animals encountered in the California underwater world are quite as playful as sea lions. Their big dark puppy-dog eyes will melt your heart. Their antics and playfulness will make you laugh into your regulator. And they will challenge your underwater photo skills to the max. Encounters can happen almost anywhere along the coast and out at the islands but only a few locations hold the guarantee that you will see sea lions. One of these locations, and the easiest to get to, is at […]

A Gem of a Dive Site: Catalina’s Multi-faceted Bird Rock

In our humble opinion Bird Rock is among the best dive sites on Catalina Island. The underwater terrain varies from shallow reefs, a steep drop off down a wall, and even an underwater arch. We have been on dive charter boats at Bird Rock with a range of skill levels from certification classes to advanced divers and every body seems to come up smiling. The west side of the domed rock surface gives away to a gently sloping rock bottom with small ledges. Depending on […]

Carmel’s Butterfly House Beach

The Monterey and Carmel Bays have a great number of fantastic beach dives. However, most divers tend to visit the more popular sites along the inner Monterey Bay and Southern Carmel Bay, while ignoring some of the more interesting and off-the-beaten-path beaches. One of my favorite, yet seldom visited sites is Butterfly House Beach. The Butterfly House entry is located on the protected, south side of the City of Carmel-by-the-Sea, and takes its name from the house with the funky, wing-like roof. This house was […]

The Winfield Scott and Wizard Hat

By 1853 the California Gold Rush was well underway, with commerce up and down the coast at full speed. On December 1, 1853, the side-wheel steamer Winfield Scott, loaded with cargo and with 450 passengers onboard, ran aground on a rocky reef off Anacapa Island. The ship and practically all its cargo were lost, but thankfully the passengers and crew survived. Today not much remains of the vessel but even so the chunks of wreckage make for interesting exploration. Gold coins have been found here. […]

Challenges and Rewards at Egg Rock

Egg Rock Dive Site Channel Islands

Visiting remote dive sites can be challenging due to weather and sea conditions, but we often find that the more remote the site, the more rewarding the adventure in terms of underwater visibility and abundance of marine life. Well-known southern California examples of such locations include Farnsworth Bank, Begg Rock, Cortez Bank, and Wilsons Rock. Distance from shore and “sporting” sea conditions make them less frequented by divers. Egg Rock is almost unheard of among diving circles. It sits nearly smack-dab in the middle of […]

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