San Carlos Beach Breakwater in Monterey
San Carlos Beach Breakwater in Monterey

California Dive Sites

California diving to me is among the best in the world. I love the atmosphere (weak pun) and the incredible variety of marine life. To say “California diving” really doesn’t sum it up because the distance between the Southernmost and Northernmost dive sites in California is about 750 miles, and represents a temperature difference of as much as 30 degrees.

That makes for pretty diverse ecosystems. At the south end, colorful Garibaldi and Catalina Gobies populate the reef systems. There’s even a population of seahorses believed by some to make it’s home as far North as Newport Beach.

By the time you make your way North to Monterey, the temperature drops to the low 50’s or even high 40’s. With that, there’s a significant difference in aquatic life, not to mention several hours distance by car, so a lot of California never see just how divers their coastline really is.

Boat dives in California are completely unlike what you typically experience at a warm-water resort. You are expected to put your own gear together and you generally bring your own tanks and weights (that means basically everything). Divemasters generally don’t enter the water, and you’ll never find them waiting with your gear for you at the swim platform.

Conditions are, by nature, a little rougher than you’ll experience in those tropical resorts, and visibility can be pretty limited at times. On the other hand, there are those perfect days from time to time, with flat calm seas, and water clarity rivaling anything you’d find elsewhere in the world.

Whatever the conditions, California SCUBA diving is worth the effort. You’ll see things here that don’t exists anywhere else.

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