Dive Spots

Exploring the Monterey Breakwater at Night

My buddy and I silently glided across the inky black water. The sun had set several hours before, and the streetlights warmly illuminated the nearby rocks and hotels. However, the water was as black as black can be. Out of the darkness immerged a bewhiskered face. The otter swam right up to my buddy with a great deal of speed and sense of purpose. He then placed a paw on each side of my buddy’s mask, pushed his nose to the glass, and appeared to […]

San Clemente’s Wheeler North Reef

Artificial reefs are nothing new to Southern California, but the Wheeler North Reef in San Clemente raises the bar in terms of its size and scope.    Named after Wheeler J. North, a noted marine biologist who studied California’s coastal kelp forests, its creation stems from a 1989 Marine Review Committee report that found the cloudy water discharged by the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station’s (SONGS) cooling system drifted south, blocked sunlight from a natural kelp bed and damaged about 180 acres of the habitat. […]

Wreck of the Yukon

Technically, a shipwreck is a vessel that sank accidentally. And, since the sinking of the Yukon happened “accidentally on purpose” one might argue that the vessel is not an authentic shipwreck. What’s more, it’s outfitted with “fake” propellers and guns. But ask any diver that’s explored the Yukon and there’s no denying — the thrill of diving here is quite real. The dive site Yukon is a gem of Southern California diving. But let’s take a step back and tell the whole story. The Yukon […]

Dive Site Ventura County: La Jenelle Park

On April 13, 1970 the La Jenelle was a 466-foot, 1,000-passenger luxury liner moored outside Port Hueneme harbor when a storm changed her fate. Ripped from her mooring, she ended up aground near the mouth of the harbor. After repeated attempts to free the vessel failed, the La Jenelle received an unfortunate makeover — Navy Seabees cut away her superstructure and placed large boulders in and around the hull, turning the onetime oceangoing vessel into a permanent part of the Port Hueneme jetty. Portions of […]

Avalon Underwater Park at Casino Point

If you have friends visiting from out of town that would enjoy a quick look at what Southern California diving has to offer, consider a trip to Catalina’s Avalon Underwater Park. You’ll find a lush kelp forest, mini-walls, pinnacles, sand flats, even a few small wrecks, and an abundance of marine life. It’ a “sampler platter” of California Channel Islands diving.  Avalon is a delightful and charming small town on Avalon Bay, Catalina Island — the only municipality on any of the Channel Islands. Catalina […]

On Fire at Flame Reef

When it comes to color, divers visiting California reef communities enter a world decorated in a vibrant mix of hues. Santa Cruz Island’s Flame Reef provides a classic case in point — it’s literally on fire with bright colors. Rising sharply from the bottom and a good distance away from any run-off from the island’s landmass, Flame Reef is bathed in clear, life-giving currents that usually flow west to east and help maintain the water clarity. From some vantage points it appears as if the […]

Leo Carrillo State Beach

If you’re looking to escape the craziness of Los Angeles, drive up the Pacific Coast Highway toward Malibu and in less than an hour you’ll arrive at Leo Carrillo State Beach.Located 28 miles northwest of Santa Monica, Leo Carrillo has more than a mile and a half of beach. The park offers several dive sites to explore and is suitable for all skill levels. The kelp forest at Leo Carrillo is absolutely huge, and substantial reefs extend beyond the kelp cover into deeper water down […]

Dive Spot Anacapa Island: Channels

Considering it is so easy to reach, and that so many new divers get their first experiences here, Anacapa Island can hold some high-voltage dive experiences. Dive spots like Coral Reef and the extreme west end hold deep drop-offs and rapid currents. The sea lion dive is one of the best in all the Channel Islands with a constant barrage of dive-bombing pinnepeds. Then there is the rarely visited deep WWII Avenger airplane wreck. The “Channels” site is not one of these high-energy dives. In […]

Judith Reef

San Miguel Island is the most mysterious of all the eight Channel Islands. When not shrouded in clouds and fog and buffeted by strong bone-chilling prevailing northwest winds, Miguel appears like not much more than a sandy hump from a distance, quite stark in appearance. Underwater is a whole other story…Beneath the thick kelp canopies are bright colors to dazzle the eyes and keep cameras clicking. The furthest west of all the Channel Islands, it is brushed by much colder currents than its cousin islands […]

Catalina Island Trifecta

Catalina Island is center point for Southern California diving activity. Tens of thousands of dives are made here every year by all experience levels and the heart of this diving Mecca has to be at the Isthmus.  The Isthmus at Catalina Island is the narrowest point of the Island at only a quarter mile across. Straddling the strip of land is the tiny town of Two Harbors. On either side of the town are large coves, both offering varying degrees of protection from winds and […]

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