Dive Spots

Talcott Shoals

While few dive sites can offer everything to everyone, most sites stand out as exceptional for a particular purpose. Some are better for photographing big animals, some are better for nudibranchs. One site stands out as being consistently good for lobster hunting: Talcott Shoals. Talcott Shoals are located on the north side of Santa Rosa Island, near the west end. This is a big area that spans many square miles, and each boat that visits here has their own spots marked on GPS, with their […]

Diving with Humpback Whales in Tonga

An in-water encounter with a humpback whale has got to be one of the pinnacles of diving, and the Kingdom of Tonga has become THE place to seek out this adventure. Tonga has many whales, crystal clear water, and regulations that permit swimming with the whales. This island nation is located a bit east of Fiji, south of Samoa, and west of Tahiti. Vava’u, the most northern of the Tongan Islands, has spectacular reef diving—tropical fish, hard and soft corals, and typical of the South […]

Indonesia: Kungkungan Bay Resort

On the north end of the Indonesian island of Sulawesi is a resort that specializes in small critter diving. Kungkungan Bay Resort (KBR) sits in the Lembeh Straits, whose rich water supports a diverse and intensely colorful population of both invertebrates and fish. Divers have known for years that the coral reefs of the western Pacific have spawned the most diverse marine ecosystem on earth. Indeed, the reefs of Indonesia, in general, and Sulawesi, in particular, will impress and overwhelm the most well-traveled diver. Amidst […]

Van Damme State Park

Many of us in Northern California look forward to the opening of abalone season with child-like anticipation. The arrival of spring denotes longer and warmer days and fresh shellfish for the table. However, opening day also comes with a bit of hesitation since the early-season weather is not always optimum for water sports. What divers often look for in early season are protected sites with a lot of abalone, and Little River Cove at Van Damme State Park fills the bill nicely. Little River Cove […]

The Ongoing Search for the UB-88

It didn’t look as though 3 January 1921 was going to be a good day for the USS Wickes. As her port anchor was being raised that afternoon some 80 years ago, a link connector opened up, dropping 90 feet of chain and her anchor back into the dark waters of San Pedro Bay. The setback was apparently taken in stride since the log reports that the ship was underway just a few minutes later. The Wickes and her crew had an appointment to keep […]

Oil Platform Grace

Northern Channel Islands Chamber Day (September 10) dawned clear and sunny. Those of us on the Vision enjoyed the smooth, short ride on a glassy ocean to Grace, only eight miles offshore. Erected in 1979 in 320 feet of water, Grace is a platform not a rig. She doesn’t drill, she pumps oil from Gail to a Venoco facility in Carpenteria. The Vision dived the platform a bit differently than other boats I’ve been on. Instead of approaching bow first, the boat backed up to […]

Cancun’s Cenote Diving

I’m a pretty conservative diver. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been to a depth of over 100 feet in the last seven years. I enjoy looking at shipwrecks from the outside, but can’t imagine penetrating one. As for cave diving? Never, I always told myself, would I never penetrate a cave. I contemplate this as I find myself floating in absolute darkness several hundred feet into an underwater cave system. It is so dark that after a minute or […]

Diving the Slot in Malibu

There are more than 20 miles of coastline in Malibu, and for divers who live and work in the San Fernando Valley and its northern environs, they represent the only diving possible during the workday when we can’t waste time in L.A. traffic. Fortunately, there are plenty of dive sites to choose from. These Malibu dive sites offer varied reefs, hunting sites, submarine canyons and sometimes easy access. However, many of these locations suffer from pounding surf; but when you gotta get wet, there is […]

Bluefish Cove

There are few experiences that can compare with diving along a steep wall. The sheer exhilaration that one feels flying along the wall can only be compared to flight. It may, very well, be the closest thing we will ever get to flying like a bird. And there are the animals. Walls are bathed in nutrient-laden waters, and consistently present divers with more and more diverse critters. While most of us are accustomed to hopping on a boat to get to California’s best wall dives, […]

Ruby E Wreck

I feel privileged to have been a personal witness the day the Ruby E sank to her final resting place and began her life as a reef. That was nearly 15 years ago. In spite of the fact that it was an intentional sinking—to create an artificial reef—she did not go easily. The plan was to open the valvesin the morning and let her fill with water. By late afternoon, it was obvious this was not going to do the job, so fire hoses and […]

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