Dive Spots

Dive Spot Monterey: Dali’s Wall

I cruised along the wall looking for nudibranchs when the back of a large crack started to move. Training my light deep within the crack revealed a mouth full of teeth beneath a huge forehead. The enormous wolf-eel was startled by my light and slowly retreated into the most private place of his lair, but not before he flashed his big canine teeth in a gesture of defiance. Stillwater Cove lies on the north side of Carmel Bay, and the cove is protected by Pescadero […]

East Pinnacle

Dozens of blue rockfish flowed in and out of view as we descended the anchor line. There was a strong plankton bloom that day and visibility on the surface was limited, but the rockfish did not seem to care as they picked off the larger tasty bits that floated by. At 40 feet the top of the pinnacle popped into view and we were startled by the intense pink and purple colors of an expansive field of hydrocoral. The swaying palm kelp seemed to beckon […]

Bat Ray Cove

Even after decades of diving, most of it in California, there is still quite a few local marine animals I haven’t seen underwater. A mola-mola, for instance. A soupin shark for another. I could go on, but it makes me grouchy. How is it fair that other, less experienced divers have seen what I haven’t? One fish that is no longer on my unseen/unphotographed list, however, is the leopard shark. I encountered five last summer (or perhaps it was one animal five times) in San […]


Divers always want to know where the “best” spot is. Truth is there is no best spot as diver’s interests are as varied as the sites they dive. If you are looking for up-close and prolonged encounters with large animals, in particular manta rays, the spot you want to visit is a group of islands called the Revillagigedo Archipelago. The Revillagigedo Archipelago is comprised of four islands: San Benedicto, Socorro, Roca Partida, and Clarion. Divers often refer to the Archipelago simply as “Socorro,” mainly to […]

Cathedrals, Lanai, Hawaii

Considering how much I like visiting churches and spending spiritual time in each, you have to know that a dive site known as Cathedrals would peak my interest. I often find diving a spiritual experience but to intersect that experience with dive sites named after churches, you could see that I eagerly anticipated what was about to transpire. I was not disappointed. Hawaii is a fun place and a great place to dive with warm clear life-filled waters filled with coral and beautiful tropical fish. […]


The coastline of California is enormous, and sometimes it is a daunting task to select a dive site. With so many kelp beds, rocky points, and inshore reefs to pick from, how does one decide where to dive? Monterey’s charter boat captains have an easier time making these decisions because with decades of experience they have dived it all. Their experience and wisdom coupled with the conditions de jour allow them to pick the best site possible on any given day. For example, divers refer […]

Wreck of the Toro

On the night of November 21, 2004, a sudden and powerful storm came up out of the northeast heaving the seas into massive turbulence at the normally calm Isthmus Cove on Catalina Island. The skipper of the 37-foot Bertram yacht Toro became frightened for himself and his four passengers and decided to head for the backside of the island. The skipper did not give his radar a chance to warm up properly and underestimating the power of the wind, the Toro was driven up on […]


First we dived from shore, then from kayaks and small boats–but only using shore line-ups to find sites. Advances in technology including depth finders, GPS and bathometry charts have allowed us to not only discover but also reliably locate fabulous dive sites that are far from shore. Monterey’s dive boat captains strive to discover new sites, and offer their customers a better and wider range of dive sites than ever before. These offshore sites are often pristine and abound in the variety of marine life […]

Diving Big Sur on the Vision

California has been my primary dive destination since 1973, and I’ve made more than 1,000 dives off its coast. Yet until last September I’d never been north of San Miguel Island. Why? Because I’m a wetsuit user and thought the water would be too cold. It should be no surprise it’s not warm, but on our four-day Big Sur trip last September, it ranged from 54 to 58°F — five to ten degrees warmer than I expected. Truth Aquatics runs Big Sur trips in June […]

Gull Island West

Unexpected marine encounters are what make a dive truly special. Fortunate for us in California, that is a frequent occurrence. Such was the case of our most recent dive to Gull Island, a rocky outcropping off the backside of Santa Cruz Island. We dropped down through the kelp forest to a moderately slopped bottom at 45 feet. Cruising west as the divemaster had suggested, we ran into the mini-wall that ran approximately north-south. The water clarity was pretty decent, about 40 feet, as we followed […]

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