Dive Spots

“Nobody Here But Us Otters”: Scuba Solitude at Monterey’s Otter Cove

Monterey County has an incredible variety of dive sites, and nearly every public access point offers up a great dive. However, some sites are often very crowed with beach lovers and divers, while equally good nearby sites go unnoticed. Otter Cove is one of those sites. Nearby Lovers Point is often chock-full of divers, while you may not find another diver at Otter Cove, and these sites are only about a quarter-mile apart. At the Otter Cove parking area a sign lets you know you […]

Diving Anacapa’s “Coral Reef”

When you think of coral reefs, chances are you think of underwater scenery featuring bright colors. Our waters are a bit too chilly to support actual coral reefs, but the colors here might just fool you into thinking you’re on an actual tropical reef. Anacapa’s Coral Reef dive site is covered with colorful invertebrate marine life. Patchwork clusters of tiny corynactis anemones make up the main mosaic. You’ll see the lavender, yellow, and pink hues of these tiny anemones. Baseball-sized white-spotted rose anemones offer deep […]

Picking Favorites: North Monastery Beach

Last summer a clerk at one of my local dive shops engaged me in conservation. After exchanging a few pleasantries she asked, “What is your favorite beach dive?” This made me think a bit, since there are so many great beach dives in North/Central California. I really wanted to say, “Depends on conditions,” but held my tongue. After a bit more thought I responded, “North Monastery Beach.” Monastery Beach is located right along Highway 1, and just south of Carmel-by-the-Sea. This beach is officially the […]

For Sea Fan Fans: Catalina’s Stony Point

I’m a big fan of sea fans. If you’re like me, you’ll enjoy diving Catalina’s Stony Point, because it’s adorned with an excellent variety and healthy population of gorgonian sea fans. First, I find them exceptionally beautifully but just as important, they don’t go anywhere. In scientific terminology, they are “sessile,” firmly affixed to the bottom — which makes them an easy photo subject. Their only motion is to sway gently in the surge and currents, quietly filtering their food from the water. They are […]

Off the Beaten Path in Laguna: Woods Cove

If anywhere along the southern California coastline can be called a Mecca for beach divers, it would be the Laguna Beach area along Orange County’s southern shores. The reasons are obvious: clear water, easy access, and an abundance of marine life that’s hard to match. It is not unusual to see a hundred or more divers assaulting the beaches here on any given weekend during the summer. Not to worry though. Laguna Beach offers enough quantity and variety of dive spots where one can obtain […]

A Cool Dive Off Cannery Row: Enjoying San Carlos Beach

Sometimes I seek out challenging sites with access to exposed reefs, deeper water and large animals. At other times I prefer to experience a relaxing dive, with an easy entry and exit, and plenty of colorful critters to photograph. Monterey County offers a great variety of dive sites, so there are plenty of sites to choose from depending on my mood and conditions. One of the most relaxing sites is San Carlos Beach. San Carlos Beach may be found at the end of Cannery Row […]

Visiting a Friend Off Anacapa’s West End: Say Hello to Larry the Lingcod

AT-A-GLANCE   Skill Level: Beginner to intermediate but experience with currents is a must. Location: Seaward side (south) of the extreme west end of West Anacapa Island Access: Boat only. Entry and Exit: Dependent on local weather, swells and currents. Depth Range: 15 to 90 feet. Conditions: Variable. Exposed to the open sea. Conditions can sometimes be challenging. Visibility: Good averaging a consistent 40 feet. Photography: Good wide-angle around ledges and very good for macro with many small fish Hunting: Poor. Remember the north side […]

A Perennial Favorite: Returning to Eric’s Pinnacle

I enjoy the excitement of being the first diver on a new site. However, not every unexplored site offers a great dive, and sometimes you have to pick through the rock pile before you find the true gems. I also enjoy diving my favorite sites year after year to visit with old friends, witness any changes and embrace the predictability of a great dive. Diving a familiar site can be as comforting as sharing coffee with an old friend. One site I enthusiastically dive time […]

Something For Everyone: Satisfying Diving at Hen Rock

You’ve got to love those dive sites that can satisfy all skill levels. Hen Rock is just one of those locations. Reef and sand bottom depths vary from around 15 to 85 feet on the outer pinnacles. And there is no shortage of things to see and do. Swim-throughs, schools of fish, mini-walls and overhangs — sounds like an advanced dive site, doesn’t it? It’s not. Hen Rock is one of the best beginner dive sites at Catalina Island. It has a lot of fun […]

Something for Everyone: Satisfying Diving at Hen Rock

At-A-Glance Skill Level: All. Location: Just to the southeast of Long Point on the front side of Catalina Island. GPS N 33°24.051’, W 118°21.984’ Access: Boat only. Entry and Exit: Easy off boat as conditions are almost always calm. Depth Range: 15 to 85 feet. Conditions: Excellent where waters are almost always very calm. Visibility: Good averaging a consistent 40 feet. Photography: Good wide-angle with varied reef structure and occasionally a kelp forest. Hunting: Generally poor. Sometimes you might find a fair sized calico bass […]

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