All times are for SHOW times, to assess conditions – divers must be geared up for the mandatory briefing 30 minute later.
Please RSVP for dives to dive coordinator or on MBSO Facebook page!!
Clean-Up Dive, Saturday, April 18th, San Carlos Beach, Monterey
In 2009, the Monterey Bay Sea Otter’s Dive Club adopted San Carlos Beach within the California Coastal Commission’s ‘Adopt a Beach’ program. We now organize quarterly beach clean-ups that are both fun for divers and helpful to our environment.
It’s that time once again Sea Otters! We will be picking up debris on the topside of San Carlos Beach as well as underwater along the Breakwater Wall. We want our adopted beach in tip-top shape. We will meet at 8:00 at the picnic tables that are close to the beach. Non-diver guests are always welcome to join us because who doesn’t love a trash-free beach!
Peet’s Coffee in Monterey will graciously donate their delicious coffee for this event and there will be perfectly paired doughnuts provided by the MBSO club. All we have to do is hope for sunshine and a calm sea, which would make this a perfect dive day.
Please bring a knife to cut fishing line and a goodie-bag to put your trashy collections in. If you don’t have a goodie-bag, the club has some that we will happily loan out.
We hope you will join us in cleaning our beautiful adopted beach!
See you on Saturday, April 18th!
Club Dive, Saturday, April 25th, 8:00 a.m. Stewart’s Cove, Carmel
(@Carmel River Beach)
This beach is found just south of Carmel-by-the-Sea, and is popular with beach lovers and a few intrepid divers.
The bottom at Carmel River Beach drops off in a series of steps, one from 20 to 30 feet, another from 30 to 40 feet. The bottom then gently slopes out to better than 60 feet, but it’s a long swim to get to 60 feet. The area shallower than 30 feet is one of the healthiest kelp beds I have seen in some time. It is predictably too thick to swim through during summer and fall, so plan your air to navigate underneath the surface kelp. In past seasons this bed was composed only of giant kelp, but in recent years there has been a fair amount of bull kelp as well. In these times when many of us are talking about urchins and a noticeable lack of kelp, we found very few urchins and lots of kelp here. The thick kelp bed was simply a joy to behold.
The bottom underneath the kelp consists of a patch reef full of huge boulders and small pinnacles. The rocks are covered mostly with kelp holdfasts, coralline algae and a few sponges. This area has a few small fish, some shrimp, hermit crabs, and a few yellow nudibranchs.
The bottom beyond the kelp bed is one of the most interesting in all of California. Here the rock structure is very dramatic with a huge number of large rocks and small pinnacles that jut up 10 or more feet from the 50-foot bottom. There are so many of these pinnacles and they are so close together that the experience is like flying through an underwater city. These rocks mostly have vertical sides, and provide a large number of mini walls for divers to explore.
The rocks are covered with a lot of invertebrates — strawberry and fish-eating anemones, bryozoans, and sponges. The variety of colorful sponges found here is particularly dramatic. Some rocks have large patches of yellow, others orange, still others red, blue or purple. If you are lucky you can photograph many differently colored sponges growing together. A large variety of tunicates may also be found in deeper water. Some of these are stalked, some are encrusting, but all are interesting — if you are into tunicates, that is. We also found a small school of surf perch and a few rockfish.
This site is all about enjoying the dramatic bottom topography, healthy kelp, and encrusting invertebrates. If you are looking to avoid the crowds and enjoy rugged rock formations this is your site.
Skill Level: Intermediate or better
Location: At the intersection of Scenic Road and Ocean View Avenue in Carmel
Access: Drive west on Rio Road from Hwy. 1, turn left on Santa Lucia, and make a left on Scenic Road. Make a left on Ocean View Avenue, and find legal parking near the intersection. The beach is a short walk down a staircase. Boats may be launched from the public ramps at the Monterey Breakwater or between Fisherman’s Wharf and Wharf #2.
Facilities: Limited parking, but no other facilities.
Entry and Exit: Enter and exit at the very north end of the beach. Kayaks may be launched here, but not boats.
Depth Range: 20 to 60 feet.
Conditions: Highly variable.
Visibility: Generally good, 20 to 40 feet.
Photography: Great macro and wide-angle.
Hunting: This site is within the Carmel Bay State Marine Conservation Area, and all invertebrates are protected. Hunting for finfish is permitted, but we found very few fish worth shooting on a recent dive.
Cautions: Watch for surge and surf. Look for very thick kelp in summer and fall. Avoid entering in the center of the beach due to the greater wave action there.
While most of Monterey’s beach dive sites offer plenty of parking and a great variety of facilities, most of Carmel’s beach dive sites have precious little parking and no facilities at all. Carmel’s sites, however, do offer a greater opportunity for adventure and that “get away from it all” feeling. One spot to avoid the crowds is Carmel River State Beach.
Source: Bruce Watkins, California Divers News