These will really make your vacation a unique travel experience. A cheap motel option not far from the boats is the Crystal Lodge Motel in Ventura. It was everything I had imagined! At Whalers Cove, a jungle of kelp ribbons is rooted in a rocky bottom substrate. By submitting above, you agree to Scuba Diving's privacy policy. It is really helpful to know this though, when deciding what option to choose. http://www.DiveIntoYourImagination.com/travel Explore the lush kelp forests, giant black sea bass, and playful sea lions of California's Channel Islands! Anacapa Island actually consists of three smaller islets, East, Middle, and West Anacapa Islands. Where are the Channel Islands and what is the currency? Diving through La Jolla’s magical giant kelp forests looking for the elusive sharks. It strange to think of L.A. and diving together, but actually kelp diving in California is one of the top dive experiences in the world. It is world-renowned for its clear waters and plentiful kelp forests that make diving Catalina one for the bucket list. Cuba’s pristine Gardens of the Queen is a place where divers can experience sharks galore, snorkeling with crocodiles and the magic of discovery. Great fun! I’m James  Ian. Diving San Miguel Island and/or Santa Rosa Island, The best choice for Channel Islands diving, Best time of year for Channel Islands SCUBA diving, The major dive sites in the Channel Islands, California. We are fortunate to live close to a unique marine environment: The Kelp forests of Southern California. Seven of the islands are nature reserves. An Introductory Scuba Dive is an orientation to scuba diving that allows those who don’t have dive certification to experience diving in the ocean. I had wanted to go on a SCUBA diving trip in California ever since I’d first read about the giant kelp forests, so when we planned a trip to southern California, it was on my list of things to do. You should NEVER dive in kelp without you and your buddy having a knife. Maximum depth 36 feet/ 11 m.  More kelp of course (which was the main thing I wanted to experience), but there were lots of other cool things like giant lobsters and sea cucumbers. Maximum depth 39 feet/ 11.8 m.  We jumped in just outside a small kelp forest and swam into the kelp. With typically excellent visibility, you won’t have to dive very deep to see … A cheaper option is Garden Cottage B&B. From the beach, a shallow shelf slopes gradually out through thick kelp beds that clog the coves in summer and fall. But between 2014 and 2016, a … You can cook if you want to save money. Planning and packing for diving at the Channel Islands off the coast off L.A. Additional consideration: Travel Insurance, Guide to Channel Islands SCUBA Diving California, Check out all of the fun Catalina expediences here, underwater photography course at Catalina Island: book here. There are several operators. The Channel Islands and Channel Islands National Park. Discover what a five-star underwater experience is like at this Mexico divers’ paradise. I like Tusa Imprex fins. Hollywood – Dana Point: 1 hour 20 minutes, Hollywood – Ventura Harbor: 1 hour 10 minutes, Hollywood – Santa Barbara: 1 hour 50 minutes. Water can be as cold as 42 F (5 C), allowing the kelp to reach 130 feet (40 m) in some locations. For more on diving Catalina, click here. It fits great – I have a high bridge over my nose and used to get headaches from ill-fitting masks. Eco Dive Center also has Anacapa SCUBA diving trips (often alternating weekends with their Catalina trips) from Ventura Harbor. The pillars of kelp create a maze for divers to weave in and out of. meaningful travel that actively engages with the environment and culture. It was a revelation. 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. You can check out their trip schedule here. This is the trip I did and I was extremely happy with their service. The Channel Islands … 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. Its clear, blue waters seem almost tropical compared to colder, murkier waters up north. Cynthia Catton was among the first marine scientists to witness the collapse of Northern California’s bull kelp forests, a decline that resulted in vast barren areas on the seafloor, piles of empty abalone shells, and the closure of abalone and red urchin fisheries and, finally, of the North Coast’s last diving … You can also take an underwater photography course at Catalina Island: book here. Blue Holic SCUBA also has one or two trips/ month to San Miguel / Santa Rosa Island. The Octopus Garden is an educational holiday light display perfect for the ocean lover in your life. I was at the Californian Channel Islands, SCUBA diving near Anacapa Island. Not sure what to choose? The most beautiful spot to kelp dive in San Diego is … THE INSPIRATION: Channel Islands SCUBA diving, California, The verdict: Kelp forest California diving, TC ‘experiential travel’ score: Channel Islands Diving, PRACTICAL TIPS: Channel Islands SCUBA Diving and Los Angeles, The Channel Islands and Channel Islands National Park. If your main focus is diving and you want to stay near the harbor, then two options are: Crowne Plaza Hotel Los Angeles Harbor. So, I made this map: I use booking.com because they have a great selection and good prices. There are two towns on the island and both have ferries – Avalon and Two Harbors. Jacques Cousteau has been quoted as saying that these islands feature some of the best temperate-climate diving in the world. Travel to Cuba is still open and legal…. Ferries leave from 3 different ports, all south of LA. #divecatalina #diveanacapa #kelpdiving #channelislands #divela #experientialtravel #travelcollecting #diving #scuba #california Boat diving the wrecks will hard to forget. It is almost impossible to get around without a car. Divers who are willing to brave cold water diving in the frigid Northern California waters will be rewarded with up-close encounters with marine mammals, such as sea lions, seals, and sea otters, as well as many rockfish and aquatic … How cool was this?! But that was before coming to California eight years ago and diving its giant kelp forests. Here, below the sea cliffs, is one of California’s most diverse underwater ecosystems, the giant kelp forest. Read my Disclaimer for more information. 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. Scuba Diving may receive financial compensation for products purchased through this site. The Channel Islands are off the coast of California, USA, near Los Angeles. Eco Dive Center was well organized and the equipment I rented was in good working condition. I use the Internet a lot to plan – and I hope this blog is useful resource for you – but I also always use a guidebook as a supplement. 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. Public transportation is terrible and things are spread out. Check out all of the fun Catalina expediences here. Buy the Scuba Pro (unisex, 5mm) booties here. It has a high rating on Booking.com. I was distracted by the flash of color, when suddenly something bigger and darker dashed up to me. Where is best to dive the Channel Islands? For some reason, to me, that three-minute safety stop seems to last forever. You have to be precise when you enter to prevent you from becoming tangled. 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. You need booties in cold water, of course, and 5mm is best at these temperatures. Boomers’ Giant Kelp Forest. The cheeky seal (sea lion?) With average vis upward of 40 feet and temps that don't drop below about 55 degrees, this is a Northern California diver's dream. was an added bonus! It’s functional and bland, but close to the harbor, so a very convenient departure point for early morning boat trips or ferries. Shore dives are at the Avalon Dive Park daily at 8:00am, 10:00am, 12:00pm, and 2:00pm (2 hours each dive) The price of $115 per person or $135 for a private experience includes all equipment. I actually got a knife specifically for this dive. Everything. ZOOM MEETING Have you ever wondered about West Coast diving? Jade Cove is actually not one but a series of coves at the edge of Los Padres National Forest, 65 miles south of Monterey. You need to board before midnight and sleep onboard. Of course, the best choice is different for everyone. I had no idea where the ports were and where they were in relation to downtown LA, and to the different Channel Islands when I first started planning my trip. Diving in the giant kelp forests of California is one the world’s top diving experiences. The currency is the U.S. dollar (USD). April to June there are often plankton blooms and green water, with visibility of about 20 feet/ 6 meters. Please accept cookies for optimal performance. Right on front of my nose, looking into my mask, was a playful harbor seal. They are really cool. Practically all along the Golden State’s entire 840-mile-long Pacific coast, divers can find a place to get wet. Anacapa Kelp diving, however, requires knowledge of a few diving techniques to make it more enjoyable and safe. The swimming marine life ranges from seals, sea lions and otters to torpedo rays, rockfish and lingcod. I use cookies to analyze my traffic, which helps ensure that I give you the best experience on my website. Copyright © 2020 Scuba Diving. 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. In Avalon, there is shore diving from Casino Point at Casino Point Underwater Park/ Avalon Dive Park. Catalina Island. Los Angeles’ airport is LAX. Climb aboard the Spectre Dive Boat with Calboat Diving, and take a journey to the Channel Islands, where you’ll swim through a kelp forest … The westside of Santa Catalina Island … Diving in a kelp forest is what makes California diving so wonderful. A kelp forest is like a cathedral with stained glass windows. Two great choices of places to stay in L.A. are: Selby Ave Guest House has a perfect rating of 10 on Booking.com! The shore diving couldn't be easier; there's no surf zone to contend with or uneven sand to stumble across. My aim is to not only inspire you to have amazing experiences when you travel, but to also give you the practical information and resources you need to have them. 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. I first got a dive flashlight when I started doing night dives, but now I always carry it with me. So it's no suprise that underwater, Big Sur is a wild paradise of steep marine terraces and hidden coves. The United States has some incredible diving, including diving with manta rays in Hawaii. There wasn’t much marine life other than the kelp, but I was in heaven. 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. And of course, my encounter with a harbor seal (or was it a sea lion? There are a few options to SCUBA the Channel Islands. 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. I needed to rent some of my equipment, so had to go there the day before the dive. You can book it here or get a quote for your trip right here: Do you have any dive stories to share ? The Experience: Kelp diving, California. Even after 500+ dives in these temperate waters, there always seems to be something new to witness every time I dip beneath the waves. Entanglement is the fear of most new kelp divers—an unfounded fear. The sanctuary, set aside in 1980 to protect the area's rich biodiversity, is one of California's great marine treasures. 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. In front of me was a wall of giant kelp. The southern Channel Islands Catalina and San Clemente are warmest, and San Miguel up north can be below 50°F / 10°C. 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. – it’s a nice area and centrally located. The southern Channel Islands have the clearest water, with visibility up to 80 feet (24 meters) of visibility. However, the best underwater visibility in the Channel Islands is between July and January and sometimes into February. If you are looking for a new mask, buy the Aqualung Mask here. 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. There was also plenty of other fish swimming around. I usually just lie there on the bottom and look up at the sunlight. Their boat dives are Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  Prices for boat dives from Catalina is $107 for 2 dives (gear NOT included) and $85 for snorkelers (includes gear). Prices were not available on their website. 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. scubadiving.com is part of PADI Media, a division of PADI Worldwide. Zoom Meeting: https://zoom.us/j/421 I did the trip to Anacapa rather than Catalina only because this was the trip running on the day I had available. At the nation’s first nonprofit park under the sea, the Avalon Underwater Dive Park is … I’d love to hear them. This was a nice introduction to the kelp forests. When descending, don’t step straight off the boat; you must look for an opening and always look down before you descend. I love the Aqualung Mask. And my husband doesn’t dive, so I wanted to limit this to one day. DIVE CALIFORNIA is owned and operated by German native Michael Timm and offers services such as guided SCUBA & Snorkel-Tours as well as a variety of Scuba & Freediving courses through PADI & SSI. I rented wetsuit, hood, gloves, BCD and dive computer from the dive shop, but of course, if you have gear and want to bring it, your own gear is always most comfortable. I think either of them would be equally great. It has a great central location, a nice garden, breakfast and free parking. It was awesome! Bat rays and angel sharks are often found in the sand near the kelp; octopi and moray eels can often be found in crevices; horn sharks & leopard sharks are not uncommon; sea fans & anemones are common; harbor seals are also common in shallow water in the kelp, and bright orange garibaldi, blue-banded gobies, and sheepshead are all around, as are nudibranchs. If you liked this post, please share the love and Pin it to your Diving board for later! It costs $135 for 3 dives (gear not included). It's a great area for novice and intermediate divers looking for consistently calm water, reasonable depths and a choice of shallow or deep reefs. The five northern Channel Islands (San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, Anacapa, and Santa Barbara Islands) make up the Channel Islands National Park. Catalina SCUBA diving is possible from both towns. Comment below. Monterey Bay California offers a world-class scuba diving experience. Most dive centers also have prices (and equipment) for snorkelers. Sign up for Scuba Diving’s weekly email and never miss another story. Probably the two most famous islands are Catalina Island and Anacapa Island. In addition to accommodation, planning and flights, you should always have travel insurance, just in case. The Anacapa Islands are beautiful – jutting straight out of the ocean, and I was excited as we approached them. Buy the Tusa Imprex knife here. There is free parking – important since you will most likely have a car to get around. The best visibility is September to November. There is no shortage of things to see on Catalina Island dives. There will often be a crevice or hole to explore. Torqua Springs, Catalina Kelp doesn’t always grow to the water’s surface, so openings can often be deceiving. Travel Collecting is a participant in the Amazon Services.com LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Several of the world’s most famous kelp dives line the California coast. Los Angeles is a driving city. Santa Catalina (usually just called Catalina Island) is the only one of the eight islands with human settlements. There are a lot of awesome experiences you can have in Los Angeles other than diving. Diving in the giant kelp forests of California is one the world’s top diving experiences. When you’re ready to start planning your trip, take the stress out of it by referring to my Travel Planner for a step-by-step guide. 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. Buy the Los Angeles/ southern California Lonely Planet here, Buy the Scuba Pro (unisex, 5mm) booties here, 6 Must Have New York Food Experiences: FUN FOOD CRAZES FROM NEW YORK CITY, The Best Hikes in Bryce Canyon National Park: HIKING THE HOODOOS, Quality of interaction with culture/ environment. Maximum depth 38 feet/ 11.5 m.  There was lots of kelp and bright garibaldi fish that this area is well known. The diving is better in the west of the island, The Navy often closes most of the island, so it is often not open for diving, The best place in Southern California to see sea lions because of its sea lion rookery, San Nicolas Island is very exposed, and the Navy closes most of it off, so it is not common for dive boats to go here. Apart from stunning photography opportunities, divers can see Pacific harbor seals, black sea bass and sea otters. The giant seaweed forests are around the Channel Islands. The water’s cold and currents and tides can be tricky, but the payoff can be huge: Whales and sharks love these waters, sea lions and harbor seals make their home at a number of rookeries, and the kelp forests both nearshore and offshore offer the promise of unexpected surprises as well as great beauty. First, let me start by saying that diving in kelp is not dangerous, but it does present its hazards —hazards that can be easily overcome. They have shore dives and boat dives. 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