They have a shop in Culver City. The booties that you have to wear also keep your feet warm. Its clear, blue waters seem almost tropical compared to colder, murkier waters up north. Whether you are a new or experienced diver, Waterhorse Charters will safely take you to the most awe-inspiring sites for scuba diving in San Diego. Welcome to Travel Collecting. There are two towns on the island and both have ferries – Avalon and Two Harbors. The five northern Channel Islands (San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, Anacapa, and Santa Barbara Islands) make up the Channel Islands National Park. When the waters are coolest, in the high 50s and low 60s as they are in late spring and early summer, a host of invertebrates like nudibranchs, cowries, sea cucumbers, urchins and sea stars hangs out in relatively shallow waters before retreating to colder and deeper climes in late summer. To experience the kelp forest and California diving at its best, consider an all-day boat trip to the nearby Coronado Islands, or a live-aboard adventure to the Southern Channel Islands, where the water visibility can exceed 100 feet and the animal life always seems to be wilder and woolier. Annual Coral Bleaching Likely This Century, Says UNEP Report, Florida Holiday Display Made Entirely of Single-Use Plastics and Recycled Materials, $600 OFF ALL STAR AVALON II TO CUBA's GARDENS OF THE QUEEN, Eight Reasons to Get Excited about North American Diving, Dive Nonprofit Raises Over $20,000 for DAN’s Post-COVID Scuba Study, 7-Night Baja Sur Diving Package in Loreto, Mexico. The westside of Santa Catalina Island … The sanctuary, set aside in 1980 to protect the area's rich biodiversity, is one of California's great marine treasures. Book a flight to LAX here. I was at the Californian Channel Islands, SCUBA diving near Anacapa Island. Diving in the giant kelp forests of California is one the world’s top diving experiences. Apart from stunning photography opportunities, divers can see Pacific harbor seals, black sea bass and sea otters. Encounters with sea lions and harbor seals are common. Anacapa I did this dive as part of a bigger trip around California, and this dive was a day trip, not the main focus of the vacation. A PADI Worldwide Company. Of course, it’s always a good idea to take a knife with you, but it is essential when diving in kelp because it is possible for the kelp to get caught around your tank and/ or BCD. Diving in kelp forests is very different to open water diving. A cheaper option is Garden Cottage B&B. Boats for the Catalina Island kelp forest usually leave from San Pedro port south of LA. When descending, don’t step straight off the boat; you must look for an opening and always look down before you descend. NOTE: These times are approximate and are for early morning, so traffic is light. The Pacific Ocean is home to all kinds of natural wonders, and the best way to see them close-up is by taking a scuba or snorkel trip. 1. The kelp forests just off the beach host a vast variety of marine species, and shore divers are in for a real treat. The boat left at 7:30 am and we were staying in central L.A., so we had headed out at 5:30 am to make sure I was there in time. Practically all along the Golden State’s entire 840-mile-long Pacific coast, divers can find a place to get wet. No scuba certification program or scuba diving school can offer you more comprehensive dive certification course. The site lies just inside the boundary of the Hopkins State Marine Reserve but isn't conducive to shore diving. The Aqualung Mask did away with this, so I LOVE it. Public transportation is terrible and things are spread out. Learn how your comment data is processed. There are actually lots of fun things to do on Catalina in addition to diving, including a zip line, a food tour and a bison tour. I first got a dive flashlight when I started doing night dives, but now I always carry it with me. If you specially want to go SCUBA diving in Channel Islands National Park, then options 3 and 4 are for you, because Catalina is outside the national park. Diving in the giant kelp forests of California is one the world’s top diving experiences. I like to travel light without a whole bag of dive gear, because this was just on part of a bigger trip. The cheeky seal (sea lion?) It’s another world, being surrounded by giant seaweed fronds, pushing them apart to make my way through them. The Channel Islands are coldest between February and late June (around 50°F / 10°C). Summer is obviously the warmest and from mid-July to late October, the surface water temperature is over 70°F / 21°C. They are actually the closest of the eight Channel Islands to shore (when reached from Ventura Harbor) and it only took about 1.25 hours to get there. With its plentiful kelp beds, seal and sea lion rookeries, nutrient-rich waters, colorful anemones and quality deep dives, Monterey is considered California's best cold-water diving, courtesy of the 10,663-foot-deep Monterey Bay Submarine Canyon. scubadiving.com is part of PADI Media, a division of PADI Worldwide. I actually take my dive flashlight with when I travel even when I’m not planning on diving – you never now when a waterproof flashlight will come in handy. Prices were not available on their website. So, when is the best time to dive the Channel Islands? There are a few options to SCUBA the Channel Islands. Another great dive to end the day. One of the main Catalina Island diving operators in Avalon is  Catalina Divers Supply. Two other fun things to do in the Channel Islands are: I did the Channel Islands kelp diving as a day trip as part of a bigger vacation to Los Angeles. I usually just lie there on the bottom and look up at the sunlight. There is no shortage of things to see on Catalina Island dives. Book a shuttle here. Everything. Check out all of the fun Catalina expediences here. The Northern Channel Islands are comprised of a group of four small islands —Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa and San Miguel — within the portion of the Santa Barbara Channel designated as the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, which also includes Santa Barbara. If you are looking for new fins, buy the Tusa Imprex fins here. The giant seaweed forests are around the Channel Islands. I love the Aqualung Mask. Blue Holic SCUBA also has a monthly trip to Anacapa/ Santa Cruz, also leaving from Ventura Harbor.  Prices were not available on their website. But between 2014 and 2016, a … If you make a purchase through these links, I earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Lover’s Point, Pacific Grove. You need to board before midnight and sleep onboard. Cuba’s pristine Gardens of the Queen is a place where divers can experience sharks galore, snorkeling with crocodiles and the magic of discovery. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. Diving Anacapa Islands and/ or Santa Cruz Island, 4. Exploring the underwater walls off Boomers, a playground for cute harbor seals. It’s functional and bland, but close to the harbor, so a very convenient departure point for early morning boat trips or ferries. While the kelp is undeniably beautiful and a swim through a kelp forest is certain to be an unforgettable experience, diving in a kelp bed provides far more than just an opportunity to look at kelp. The Channel Islands and Channel Islands National Park. How cool was this?! Sign up for Scuba Diving’s weekly email and never miss another story. Underwater pinnacles are covered with abundant marine life, including strawberry anemones and a variety of nudibranchs, and you’ll find bright orange garibaldi playing hide-and-seek among the stands of kelp. Los Angeles’ airport is LAX. Visit the pristine reefs and assist with marine conservation efforts within Cuba's Gardens of the Queen aboard All Star Avalon II. These will really make your vacation a unique travel experience. Right on front of my nose, looking into my mask, was a playful harbor seal. The Anacapa Islands are beautiful – jutting straight out of the ocean, and I was excited as we approached them. You should NEVER dive in kelp without you and your buddy having a knife. Dive into the Pink raised over $20,000 during its annual photo competition to support DAN’s study on returning-to-diving fitness after contracting COVID-19. Read more diving/ snorkeling experiences: James Ian has traveled to 82 countries and all 7 continents. The southern Channel Islands have the clearest water, with visibility up to 80 feet (24 meters) of visibility. Today, these prized dive areas stretch 150 miles (240 km) along the Pacific coast, offering marine habitats found nowhere else in the world. And my husband doesn’t dive, so I wanted to limit this to one day. I could do it one day. Maximum depth 39 feet/ 11.8 m.  We jumped in just outside a small kelp forest and swam into the kelp. Golden seaweed stretched from the seafloor a couple of meters below me way up to the surface far above me. Kelp diving in the Channel Islands in California. Read my Disclaimer for more information. This was a nice introduction to the kelp forests. I’ve used it for hiking, camping, and caving. There's a variety of diving: shallow reefs, deep kelp beds, walls, pinnacles, caves and sandy coves with the state's largest variety of sea stars. 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