The trips from Santa Barbra and from Catalina Island take up more than a day. Even more to the point, the ports where the dive boats or ferries leave from are not accessible by public transportation and you need to get there early. At Whalers Cove, a jungle of kelp ribbons is rooted in a rocky bottom substrate. 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. 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 … Deep water close to shore means great visibility because of the absence of swells. There wasn’t much marine life other than the kelp, but I was in heaven. If you are looking for a new mask, buy the Aqualung Mask here. Learn how your comment data is processed. For more on diving Catalina, click here. Several of the world’s most famous kelp dives line the California coast. Golden seaweed stretched from the seafloor a couple of meters below me way up to the surface far above me. I love the Aqualung Mask. Giant kelp forests are all around Catalina Island. Check out all of the fun Catalina expediences here. April to June there are often plankton blooms and green water, with visibility of about 20 feet/ 6 meters. I dived in November and visibility was good. There are two towns – Avalon and Two Harbors. Dive into the Pink pivoted it’s 2020 photo contest mission from breast cancer research to supporting the dive community’s COVID recovery. “The Paris Agreement is a great start, but it's something we need to go further than that if we want to have healthy and vibrant coral reefs in the future.”. Traffic in LA is notorious for being terrible, so factor in additional time just in case. Practically all along the Golden State’s entire 840-mile-long Pacific coast, divers can find a place to get wet. They have a shop in Culver City. You need to board before midnight and sleep onboard. Check the latest prices on Los Angeles’ accommodations here. Hollywood – Dana Point: 1 hour 20 minutes, Hollywood – Ventura Harbor: 1 hour 10 minutes, Hollywood – Santa Barbara: 1 hour 50 minutes. Most dive centers also have prices (and equipment) for snorkelers. This is the trip I did and I was extremely happy with their service. The other three (the southern Channel Islands) are Santa Catalina, San Clemente and San Nicolas Islands. You can cook if you want to save money. Ferries leave from 3 different ports, all south of LA. I use cookies to analyze my traffic, which helps ensure that I give you the best experience on my website. No scuba certification program or scuba diving school can offer you more comprehensive dive certification course. If your main focus is diving and you want to stay near the harbor, then two options are: Crowne Plaza Hotel Los Angeles Harbor. Diving in the kelp forests of Southern California never ceases to amaze me. Of course there was lunch in between and a weary but extremely satisfied James on the way back. Central California's Big Sur region is a place of rugged beauty, a coastline dominated by the tree-covered peaks of the Santa Lucia Mountains. Torqua Springs, Catalina Diving in a kelp forest is what makes California diving so wonderful. 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. 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. They are located approximately 14 miles/ 22.5 km south of Ventura, California and boats usually leave from Ventura Harbor. The boats for the most northern Channel Islands usually leave from Santa Barbara. The Channel Islands are eight islands off the coast of California around L.A. Kelp diving in the Channel Islands in California. I was distracted by the flash of color, when suddenly something bigger and darker dashed up to me. meaningful travel that actively engages with the environment and culture. The Channel Islands are off the coast of California, USA, near Los Angeles. It’s functional and bland, but close to the harbor, so a very convenient departure point for early morning boat trips or ferries. Now she says, "I like kelp diving best of all. It was everything I had imagined! Diving in the giant kelp forests of California is one the world’s top diving experiences. 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. 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. Jacques Cousteau has been quoted as saying that these islands feature some of the best temperate-climate diving in the world. The swimming marine life ranges from seals, sea lions and otters to torpedo rays, rockfish and lingcod. A bright orange fish swam past. Shafts of light penetrate the kelp forest to illuminate massive lingcod, and otters and harbor seals are common dive companions. Exploring the underwater walls off Boomers, a playground for cute harbor seals. 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. Boomers’ Giant Kelp Forest. It was awesome! Diving in kelp forests is very different to open water diving. Buy the Scuba Pro (unisex, 5mm) booties here. Zoom Meeting: These include Catalina Island, Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary and Monterey Bay. 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. The sanctuary, set aside in 1980 to protect the area's rich biodiversity, is one of California's great marine treasures. The Anacapa Islands are beautiful – jutting straight out of the ocean, and I was excited as we approached them. Summer is obviously the warmest and from mid-July to late October, the surface water temperature is over 70°F / 21°C. You can book it here or get a quote for your trip right here: Do you have any dive stories to share ? In some areas, depths can ramp up to 300 feet just a few hundred yards from shore. I slowly swam into the kelp, gently pushing the swaying vertical fronds apart. Lover’s Point, Pacific Grove. Two distinct currents meet up at these islands producing and abundance of life both above and below the surface with three distinct marine zones. was an added bonus! The 3-dive trip leaves at 3:00am from Santa Barbara. I could do it one day. How cool was this?! Entanglement is the fear of most new kelp divers—an unfounded fear. Book a flight to LAX here. The Channel Islands … It is really helpful to know this though, when deciding what option to choose. The kelp forests just off the beach host a vast variety of marine species, and shore divers are in for a real treat. We can’t possibly write about them all, but here are five amazing places in California to dive in kelp. 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). They are really cool. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. A recently released report from the UN predicts that, on average, coral reefs will experience annual severe bleaching by the middle of the century. Diving through La Jolla’s magical giant kelp forests looking for the elusive sharks. 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. Point Lobos You need booties in cold water, of course, and 5mm is best at these temperatures. is part of PADI Media, a division of PADI Worldwide. What's so great about Point Lobos? 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. Catalina SCUBA diving is possible from both towns. When descending, don’t step straight off the boat; you must look for an opening and always look down before you descend. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of, Inc. or its affiliates. 1. When you are ready for your trip, check out my Essential Packing List. The Channel Islands and Channel Islands National Park. Getting around Los Angeles and to the Channel Islands. 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. ZOOM MEETING Have you ever wondered about West Coast diving? Buy the Los Angeles/ southern California Lonely Planet here. You can check out their trip schedule here. However, diving Channel Islands National Park isn’t necessarily any better – the California giant kelp forest extends throughout all of the Channel Islands and is common all around Catalina. The Aqualung Mask did away with this, so I LOVE it. Anacapa, which consists of three small islets, is roughly 11 miles off the coast. A cheaper option is Garden Cottage B&B. Eco Dive Center also has Anacapa SCUBA diving trips (often alternating weekends with their Catalina trips) from Ventura Harbor. Prices were not available on their website. You can rent dive gear at Two Harbors and do shore diving by yourself (with a buddy, of course). 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. 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