Dive Spots


There was a bit of a plankton bloom that day, but only within the upper 20 or 30 feet. As we followed the anchor line down and popped out of the turbid layer, a brilliant red dome of strawberry anemones appeared, framed in a luminous white ring of Metridium anemones. The clarity of the water was excellent, and the shape and color reminded me of a red ruby set in white gold–simply magnificent. Ball-Buster is an offshore pinnacle a bit off the beaten path in […]

Little Gibraltar Reef

I just love underwater pinnacles. Jutting up from the bottom they create a vertical surface that bask in the currents where marine life thrives. Offshore and to the west of Little Gibraltar Point on the frontside of Catalina is just such a spot. While the site is generally calm and protected, divers rarely visit here. The location is on the small side and can generally be covered in just one dive. It is actually a pair of pinnacles, one topping out at 33 feet and […]

Shale Island

This January I had the pleasure of accompanying Chuck Tribolet on a couple of dives, and he had fun taking me to sites that were new to me. On our second dive he offered up a site within the huge shale bed directly off Del Monte Beach. I am not normally a fan of the shale bed, but new sites are always an adventure. Most of the shale area off of Del Monte Beach consists of low ledges running southeast to northwest, with the face […]

Terranea Resort, the New Marineland

I have some wonderful memories of visiting Marineland of the Pacific: Bubbles the pilot whale, Orky and Corky, Baja Reef… but my favorite memories came after the park closed in 1987. For a few years I seemed to have the place all to myself. Sea lions hauled out on the rocks at the point. A mating pair of barn owls would perch on an abandoned light post each morning. Around 1989-90 word got out that the public access was still open. It didn’t take long […]

Goleta Beach

A poor visibility dive need not necessarily be a bad dive. Goleta Beach is one example. Water clarity here is never above 10 feet and is often as little as 5. Even so, there is an exceptional amount of marine life to see, it is an easy beach entry, and beachside facilities are great. The underwater attraction here is the sewer outfall pipeline that parallels the pier. If you are concerned about health issues, the treated effluent is dumped about a mile offshore in 95 […]

Chase Reef

In 1901 Lucie and Henry Chase moved to Pacific Grove, and Lucie became active in the Woman’s Civic Improvement Club. She was well known for many good deeds, most importantly, giving the Pacific Grove Museum to the city on her 90th birthday. The city later named a park between Ocean View Boulevard and Jewell Avenue in her honor. Old time divers refer to the expansive reef and dive site offshore of this park as Chase Reef. Chase Reef is composed of two reef structures. The […]

The Garden

If we are to see and photograph more fish, we have to go where they are in abundance. And a long established marine preserve is the best place to do this. With a marine preserve that has been around for decades, not only are fish plentiful, they are usually large and unafraid of divers. Such is the case on the frontside of East Anacapa Island. In existence since 1978, this is one of the longest established marine preserves in North America. Smack dab in the […]

Strawberry Fields

Monterey County offers an enormous variety of dive sites. There are well-protected sites that are enjoyable to the least experienced of us, even during rough weather. Then there are exposed sites that offer up a wider variety and greater concentration of marine life. You do not have to travel to the remote corners of the county to find these sites; some are close, accessible, and are passed over by divers on their way to more remote sites. There are several named dive sites in the […]

Newport Pier

For many years I’ve heard about diving under the Newport Pier. I was never keen on the idea. It’s surrounded my surfers and sand, and protected by a curtain of fishing poles. Three years ago, my friend Jim, finally talked me into it. “We’ll make a quick dive before work,” he said. I work 10 minutes from there. So what, I’ll be a little late?” Upon arrival, my expectations held. Lots of surfers, lots of sand and lots of fisherman. The upside was, it was […]

The Great Pinnacle at Point Lobos

My buddies, John and Brian, joined me on my birthday dive this year, and Neptune offered the best present yet—a spectacular dive site with great conditions. There was no wind and a trivial swell when we pulled into the Point Lobos parking lot. We found a wisp of kelp on an outer pinnacle and dropped anchor. There was a thick plankton bloom near the surface, but as we dropped below 50 feet the vis opened up to nearly 70 feet. Then the fish came out […]

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