Like most divers I know, I thoroughly enjoy my dive trips to tropical destinations. After all, who doesn’t enjoy great visibility, warm water, colorful reefs and all of the associated marine life?
In the coming months, various photo assignments will have me diving off the Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe, Dominica and Grand Cayman. As you probably suspect, I am looking forward to all of these trips. But the dive trip that I am looking forward to the most in the coming months is an October three-day trip that will take me to our local Channel Islands.
Honestly, in terms of “wow factor” of the underwater environment, I’d choose a California kelp forest over a coral garden. There simply are not many places in the world that offer divers sights and experiences like those we regularly enjoy in our local kelp forests, which is why my fall Channel Islands trip tops my upcoming trips list.
When conditions are favorable, a giant kelp forest is a magical place where shimmering rays of sunlight seem to dance with the towering golden fronds of kelp. The various hues of the surrounding blue-to-green sea compliment that scene. As you orient yourself to your surroundings, you become aware that the entire forest is rhythmically swaying back and forth keeping perfect time with the waves and swell. Kelp forests are truly magical places.
While the towering fronds of giant kelp are the mainstay of the ecosystem, the kelp is just part of the allure. As many as 800 species are documented to live in association with a single kelp frond. And upwards of one million organisms can sometimes be found on and around a single frond. While many are microscopic, there are plenty of life forms ranging from rainbow colored nudibranchs to California gray whales for us to see and enjoy.
Now’s a great time to start planning a boat trip out to the Channel Islands. Your favorite dive center or the booking office of the various boats in our charter fleet can help you arrange a trip. The late summer and fall season is a great time to enjoy our local water, and there is no place better to do that than in the kelp forests at the Channel Islands.