Saturday Club Dive, June 25, 8:00 a.m. Stillwater Cove, Pebble Beach, CA

AT-A-GLANCE
Skill level: Beginner or better.
Location: Along the 17-mile drive
in Pebble Beach.
Access: By boat from Monterey or
via the beach near the Pebble Beach Clubhouse.
Facilities: Public parking toilets,
boat and kayak launching at the
clubhouse.
Entry and Exit: Best to dive from a boat or kayak.
Depth range: 10 to 50 feet
Conditions: Predictably very calm
Visibility: 10 to 30 feet
One of Monterey’s charter boat captains kept a record of his customers’ favorite dive sites. Each year
the site that received the greatest number of votes was, not surprisingly, Stillwater Cove. This is one
of the most protected sites in the Monterey/Carmel area and has a lot of marine life to please the
most discriminating diver.
Stillwater Cove lies on the north side of Carmel Bay, and the cove is in the lee of Pescadero Point.
When the prevailing northwesterly winds blow this is one of the calmest spots around, and the
predictably placid waters rightfully give this site its name. Much of the cove bottom is sand, sprinkled
with a rocky patch reef. In the center of the cove are the massive Pescadero Rocks. The best diving
is on the south side of the rocks and on the massive wall just south of the rocks.
About 100 feet from Pescadero rocks the bottom drops from 30 to 50 feet in a massive wall that runs
nearly 100 yards; many call this Dali’s Wall. Much of the wall looks like it was once vertical and flat,
and then someone with a massive ice cream scoop carved out short caves, undercuts, and shallow
depressions. It’s more like diving underneath a wall than alongside one. The rock surfaces are
adorned with encrusting sponges in hues of cobalt red and yellow. Rumor is that on the west side of
the wall is a float that marks the location of an underwater statue – please confirm if you dive there!
The nooks and crannies of the wall harbor an assortment of photogenic invertebrates and fishes. It is
a good idea to carry a flashlight so you can see what is hiding deep in the cracks. Look for small
sculpins, gobies and rockfish underneath the ledges. This cove is heavily fished, so you won’t see
many large game fish; but it is a great place to find and photograph juvenile rockfish, cabezon and
lingcod. A large wolf eel is often found in one of the larger cracks. Just look for a pile of empty shells,
and follow the trail up to find the wolf eel’s den.
Many dive Stillwater Cove from one of Monterey’s charter boats, and small inflatable boats and dive
kayaks may be launched from the pier or beach. Diving from the beach is limited to 10 divers per day,
and there is public parking along the hedges by 17th fairway. There are six parking spots for beach
access that may be reserved up to 14 days in advance. There is a loading/unloading area, but
incoming traffic may be limited 11 a.m. and 2 a.m. at the discretion of the harbormaster.
A pier and
boat hoist is available for recreational craft, from May 1 through September 30, with a limit of 10 boats
per day. Diving, sunbathing, and picnicking are permitted during daylight hours only, and only on the
beach east of the pier. Call (831) 625-8507 and ask for the Harbor Master for reservations and
additional information.
You will need to pay for access to the 17-Mile Drive.
Source: Bruce Watkins, California Diving News, A Diver’s Guide to Monterey, California
There is a $10 gate fee to gain access into Pebble Beach, but you can often get this waived by telling
them you are heading for the coastal access. At any rate, the free hot showers that we can use postdive are worth the cost of admission! Once you are done diving, you should plan to drive the entire
world-famous 17 Mile Drive loop!
Directions: Located in the heart of Pebble Beach, the drive here is worth the effort, even if you are
not going to dive! Drive South of Carmel on Highway 1 to Ocean Ave. Take Ocean Ave West and turn
right on San Antonio Ave. Wind your way North until you find yourself on Carmel Way. You will soon
intersect with the famous 17 Mile Drive. A gate guard will welcome you and may relieve you of some
money for the privilege of hobnobbing with the Rich and Famous. Travel North West for about 1 mile,
and turn left on Palmero Way. Travel approximately 1/2 mile and then make a left on to Cypress Drive
for about 1/8 of a mile which ends at Stillwater Cove.
RSVP if you are coming by email to info@montereybayseaotters.org, and meet at the stairs at the top of the beach. Please RSVP for dives to dive coordinator!!

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