Dive Spots

Palos Verdes — Terranea Resort

As we prepared for our dive, dolphins swam a mere 50 yards from shore. This was good sign, indicating the likelihood of good fish life. Or perhaps the dolphins were paying tribute to their ancestors that entertained humans on shore many years ago. Old-timers still refer to this dive site as “Old Marineland.” Marineland was one of the oldest theme parks in America when it closed in 1987. Park guests were awed with a variety of sea life exhibits, and, of course, dancing dolphins. Even […]

Diving Rock Ridge Along Monterey’s Point Pinos

Like the land, the underwater world exhibits distinct seasons. Summertime brings plankton blooms and the entire Monterey Area teems with life. While this is great for the ocean’s inhabitants, divers often complain about poor visibility. However, this is a great time of year to grab your macro lens and enjoy all of the area’s fantastic little critters. A site called Rock Ridge, along the northeast side of Point Pinos, is an often-overlooked Monterey dive site. A rocky boulder field runs parallel to shore, about 200 […]

Heart Attack Reef

As the largest of all the Channel Islands, you would rightfully conclude that Santa Cruz Island has a great deal of excellent dive sites. Most of them are fairly well known as many show up on the charts or in guidebooks. Heart Attack Reef, however, does not. While not a virgin reef, fewer divers and fisherman visit here because of its absence from most published material. Yet I rate this location as one of the best on the backside of this big island. How it […]

Sonoma County’s Fisk Mill Cove

North Coast diving is all about catching dinner, particularly abalone. I can poetically describe the beauty of our northern reefs and their abundance of colorful marine life, yet few will listen. If you can freedive to 30 feet you can bag your limit of abalone off any rocky beach in Sonoma and Mendocino Counties. In my search for the best abalone sites in Sonoma County the area between the Gerstle Cove and Stewarts Point State Marine Reserves is near the top of the list, and […]

Monterey’s Del Monte Beach

Divers are fortunate to have many highly regarded charter boats operating out of Monterey Bay, but the area also offers interesting beach diving. Looking north and east from the large parking lot at the foot of Wharf #2, you’ll notice a beautiful, wide sandy beach filled with divers, kayakers, sailors and other happy ocean enthusiasts. This beach was originally part of the Del Monte Hotel complex, which was one of the finest resorts in California when it was built in 1880. Today the beach is […]

Bountiful Corona Del Mar State Beach

Divers who enjoy hunting their own seafood from South Orange County waters should consider a trip to Corona Del Mar State Beach. While this beach is part of the Crystal Cove State Marine Conservation Area, spearfishing of finfish as well as hand grabbing lobster and urchin hunting is allowed. And it is also an appealing dive for sightseeing or practicing underwater photography. Spearfishers will find hunting the barred sand bass — relatives of the coveted calico, or “kelp” bass — the most rewarding. Some are […]

Destination: Underwater California, Part 2: Los Angeles and Orange Counties

For those of you planning on visiting California to dive, please recognize that the number of dive sites here far exceeds what we can cover in a few pages. The variety and abundance of dive sites is mind-boggling, from the opportunity to see giant black sea bass, exceptionally lush kelp, a great wreck, or an abundance of lobsters. Our first installment in this series started in San Diego. Our next stops up the coast will be in Orange and Los Angeles counties, and the number […]

Admiring Anacapa Island’s Coral Pinnacle

As the boat motored around to the seaward side of the West Island of Anacapa, I asked a fellow passenger if he heard the crew mention what dive site we were going to dive next. “Coral something or another,” he replied. Cool. I love diving the site known as Coral Reef for its many colorful invertebrates. But as the charter boat Vision’s skipper began to anchor, it looked to me like he was setting up too far from shore.   The dive briefing clarified my […]

Mendocino’s Anchor Bay

Mendocino County is home to an incredibly rugged and scenic coastline. Each year tourists come to marvel at sheer cliffs that drop hundreds of feet directly to emerald green water, and a coastline sculpted by the wind and waves into a maze of small bays, points and arches. Divers flock here because the underwater beauty is just as magnificent as that above the water. Anchor Bay is located north of Gualala in Mendocino County. It was first called Fish Rocks Landing by mid-1800s settlers after […]

Doctor’s Cove

We’d already made two great dives along the west end of Catalina and our group was admittedly a little tired, but when offered the chance to make a third dive at Doctor’s Cove we all jumped at the chance. Why? Because a dive at Doctor’s Cove is a rare treat. The reefs surrounding Emerald Bay’s Indian Rock are known for lush kelp beds rich with sea life and excellent visibility, and as a result, Doctor’s Cove is often overlooked. That’s too bad, especially since it’s […]

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