Dive Spots

Twin Rocks

Sometimes when you’re out on an underwater photo expedition you want to target one species. On this particular dive trip I wanted some photos of the giant black sea bass (Stereolepis gigas). It had been awhile since I’ve had the opportunity to swim with these magnificent creatures and booking a trip recently on the Sundiver Express was one of my specific goals. I was not disappointed. I was in for the best encounter I’d ever had with these great creatures. We rocketed out of Long […]

Salt Point State Park’s South Cove

Along California’s North Coast there are basically two types of dive sites. First are the popular sites. These are easy to find, are in every dive guide or magazine overview article, and are prominently identified on road maps using the secret word “cove.” Most of these have diver-friendly facilities. The other type of site is the uncommon site (AKA secret sites). These are not identified on any map, are hard to find, and have no facilities. In general you must have a friend who shows […]

Point Vicente Wash Rock

Fall is an interesting time of year for Southern California divers. The water remains warm despite increasingly cooler—and shorter—days. Offshore breezes locally referred to as “Santa Ana’s” turn ho-hum sunsets into kaleidoscopic extravaganzas that not even Steven Spielberg could duplicate. Lobster hunters salivate at the thought of the season opening night. It’s during this special time that scuba diving along the Palos Verdes Peninsula really gets good. You see, for the majority of the year this stretch of coast line is buffeted by waves of […]

Monastery Beach

Throughout the world there are dive sites with name recognition. Some are famous for their beauty; others are infamous for their challenging dive conditions—the ones requiring a higher level of skill and comfort to enjoy. And, then there are those that are both beautiful and challenging. Monastery Beach just south of Carmel is one of these. The Monastery Beach entry is composed of a steep beach, with loose, coarse sand and plunging breakers. The unstable footing and rough, but short, entry requires a bit of […]

Avalon Underwater Park

The Avalon Underwater Park is like the sampler appetizer platter. It has a bit of everything so that the diver can taste what Southern California diving has to offer. There are kelp forests, mini-walls, small pinnacles, wrecks, sand flats, shallows and deep diving all in one place. And all these environs are chock full of critters, big and small. The waters are clear and it is easy to get to, easy to dive and, for the most part, inexpensive. When I am approached by somebody […]

Train Wheels

After playing a wicked round of e-mail and phone tag with my dive buddy Steve, we finalized our plans. I arrived at Shelter Island to see Steve waving his arms and guiding me over towards his new boat. Steve is a seasoned diver with well over a thousand dives logged in the Point Loma area. Today Steve is eager to take me to a place called “The Train Wheels.” Navy jets ran with their afterburners blazing right over us as we sped out of the […]

Atlantis, Philippines

I found him (or her) early in the dive. The dive master was off pointing at a myriad of other fascinating animals for other photographers when the small but vibrant creature caught my attention from the corner of my eye. About the size of a small kiwi fruit, it pulsed and waved with colors and stripes. Now this was eye candy — and camera fodder. It was a flamboyant cuttlefish, a cephalopod related to the squid and octopus. This was the first I’d ever seen. […]

In Search of Purple Hydrocoral in Los Coronados Islands, Mexico

Last November, my dive buddy and I were invited by two friends, both experienced boaters, to check out the fields of Purple Hydrocoral, off the South end of the Northern most Island of the Coronados Island chain just over the border in Mexican waters, 17-20 miles from San Diego’s Mission Bay, depending which island you visit. The fields of Purple Hydrocoral are actually just a few hundred yards South of a site well-known to San Diego dive charters, called “Keyhole,” a large rocky arch which […]

Anchor Bay

There are times when I like to find the perfect spot and just stay there for a while. Three-day weekends are like that. With everyone driving here and there, it is sometimes nice to find a superb dive site and have everything you need nearby. Anchor Bay fits this description nicely. Anchor Bay is located north of Gualala in Mendocino County and access to the ocean is through a private campground. Nestled in a large stand of redwoods and amidst one of the prettier parts […]

Cortez Bank

We were in the water just before daybreak. As we descended, light reflecting off the white sand and shell bottom made it brighter 50 feet underwater than it had been at the surface. Visibility was about 75 to 100 feet; the water was crystal clear. We passed over swaying palm kelp and saw pink-purple coralline algae everywhere. As long as we stayed below 30 feet the surge wasn’t bothersome, but in the shallower areas we felt as if we were in a giant washing machine. […]

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