Southern California


Southern California in a Nutshell

Known for its majestic kelp forests and marine life diversity, the California coast features many varied destinations for scuba divers. 


Introduction to Southern California

Nutrient-rich Pacific waters boast exquisite marine life diversity and natural features, attracting underwater photographers from across the globe, particularly to explore the Channel Islands, ranging from 15-50 miles off the mainland. The most popular islands for diving are Catalina, San Clemente, Santa Barbara, Anacapa, Santa Cruz, and San Miguel. 

With the exception of Catalina Island, the only way to dive the Channel Islands is via boat. Most divers choose 1 or 2 day trips, doing 3-4 dives per day. Vessels out of Ventura and Santa Barbara travel to Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, and San Miguel Islands, while boats out of San Pedro and Long Beach visit Catalina, San Clemente and Santa Barbara Islands. Boats out of Santa Barbara or Ventura will sometimes also visit these destinations on 2-3 day trips.

Additionally, southern California boasts over 50 State and Federal Marine Protected Areas, from Point Conception to the Mexican border. Some of these Underwater Parks were established as recently as 2012, and already the ecosystems within are reflective of the protection, naturally thriving. Altogether, the state of California boasts over 100 Marine Protected Areas. 



Southern California Underwater Videos


Reef Check Video: Wonders Just 100 Miles Off the California Coast


Topside Activites

Besides visiting us in our Culver City location, there are various things to do in Southern California!  If you are out on the islands, take a day and explore Catalina Island, take a nice scenic walk, or just grab some lunch at one of the fine restaurants on the island.  If you are land-based, take a bike ride along "the strand" through Santa Monica and Venice beaches.  Take a hike to the Hollywood sign and view the surrounding mountains along the Runyon Canyon trail.  Or go explore Hollywood Boulevard and Universal Studios Hollywood Theme Park. 



Reviews (1)

Portland, OR
United States

My dive partner and I decided to head out to Catalina for a day of diving and libations. Getting there was easy, from the San Pedro ports we caught the Catalina Express ($70) at 7 a.m., in Catalina by 8. We went over to the dive shop to pick up some of the rental gear we needed. I needed everything, my buddy just needed a suit.

The boat was pretty big and we thought it would be a full group, but surprisingly there was only about 10 of us, which made for a great, spacious couple of dives.

Both dives were unguided, we directed our own dives, with a little advice from the crew.
We did a couple of boat dives, one called Lava Rock and the other called Blue Car. The water temp was pretty nice, we dove in 5mm wet suits and wore hoods. Opted not to take gloves.

The first dive was OK, lots of Garibaldi of course, some lobsters and other smaller fish, but we didn't see any of the big black sea bass we were hoping to find. The kelp forest is amazing. Being a novice diver it was cool to see the forest and it was a simple dive, but an experienced diver might be a little bored here.

The second dive was further down and was pretty spectacular. The colors and water visibility were excellent, we saw more Garibaldi, more lobsters and even some small sharks that were up in the sandy area. Harmless, but cool to see.

Topside was relaxed, standard things like sodas, sandwiches, cookies and chips were tasty and the crew was great.

Visited on 07/2014 - Submitted on 08/14/2014


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