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The ShoreDiving Reviews of
 Edward J. Palumbo

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Review Date       AVG       ShoreDiving Site
10/21/2011        4.65      Ulua Beach Maui, Hawaiian Islands
This site was highly recommended for snorkeling, scuba and underwater photography by a reputable dive shop in Kihei, and for sound reasons. It was easy to locate, parking is better than adequate, and it's a fine site to bring the family. Restrooms and showers are close to the beach access, and you can conveniently offload scuba gear from your vehicle on a paved roadway that circles the restrooms. Access to the beach is uncomplicated. The surf was little more than a ripple, so there was no need to battle any breaking waves for entry. For three consecutive days, visibility was approximately 45 feet, with some silt and particulate disturbed by an offshore storm and the divers that preceded me. I'm told 70 ft viz is not uncommon. I would recommend getting here at 0730; though not typically crowded, the site is popular with dive shops for certifying divers. The reef to the right of the beach is a gift to underwater photographers, with colorful marine life competing for attention, such as yellow tang, convict fish, Moorish idols, trumpet fish, parrot fish, and many others. My air lasted quite a while and, at dive's end, I noted I'd gone no deeper than 28 feet. I was like a child in a candy shop, aiming my housed Canon point-and-shoot in every direction as fast as I could trigger the shutter. I enthusiastically recommend this site for snorkelers and divers.
07/12/2007        4.13      Breakwater Cove California North, USA West
My son, Daniel, and I visited this site in early July (2007), and stopped at a nearby dive shop for information on the area. Restrooms and hot showers are close by, though they require quarters to operate (and are well worth it!). We returned to dive and staged our gear on some concrete steps nearby. There are machines nearby to dispense parking permits, which should be displayed on the instrument panel in convenient view, and vehicles are checked repeatedly by traffic enforcement officers. We appreciated the gradual slope from the beach, easy entry and exit despite light surf and surge. There was a certification class being conducted some distance away. The bottom was no deeper than 27 feet, and our air lasted a while. Water temp, according to my thermometer, was 57-58 degrees and it was a warm, sunny afternoon with a gentle breeze. While not a great day to observe a broad spectrum of the area's marine life, we found a generous number of bat and ochre starts, some surf perch, and a number of snails with smooth brown, tapered shells, measuring about 3cm in length. The highlight of my day were three sea otters, a male, a female and a pup about 5-6 months old, not 20 meters from shore. We observed for a more than 15 minutes, then I approached them slowly on the surface until I was 12-15 feet away. They were aware of me and showed no signs of stress or concern. The male swam closer and dove beneath me, turned upside-down and examined me, then circled around me playfully. I turned to follow it with my head and it closely approached my mask, emitted a stream of bubbles, and this interaction went on for several minutes until he tired of the game. As I swam back to the beach, my son called, "Behind you!" I turned to see the male leisurely following me, my body-length behind, and I was candidly surprised that he showed no apprehension about interacting with divers. Locals told me that sea otters are familiar with divers and often exhibit curious and playful behavior like this. I've had the opportunity to interact with harbor seals like that, but this was a new experience, and another reason I enjoy being a diver.
07/12/2007        3.72      Lovers Point California North, USA West
This site seems understandably popular with picnickers, swimmers, kayakers, and divers. Regulations are posted on signs, and diving is conducted to the right of a pyramid-shaped marker, presumably to provide separation for dive ops. Restrooms and food concessions are close at hand. Local divers were helpful with information. The site offers ease of entry and egress. My son (Daniel) and I arrived at slack ebb, entered the water and noted the viz at 18-22 feet. Kelp was easily negotiated. We wore 6.5mm wetsuits and the water was warmer than I'd anticipated. The bottom appears to slope very gradually. Our dive was uncomplicated and we enjoyed a pleasant dive in relatively shallow water (<30 ft). Suspended particulates and occasional soupy conditions did not favor underwater photography that day. Once ashore, my wife, son and I enjoyed the view. Topside, Lovers Point itself is worthy of a postcard, a "Kodak moment", and we enjoyed our day. This appears to be a site that has its moments, and I hope to return to it on a day when we can observe more of what it offers in terms of resident marine life.
07/12/2007        2.39      Morro Rock South California Mid, USA West
The site wasn't difficult to find at all. I approached from Highway 1 and turned right toward the power plant on Beach, then followed the roadway past the U.S. Coast Guard station and power plant. My timing as a visitor in late June and early July may have been poor. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dredge ship, Yaquina, based in Washington State, was operating in the channel to remove some 160,000 cubic yards of material, redepositing it some distance away at the Sandspit. As a result, the visibility was poor (3-4 feet) and the bottom was disrupted by silt deposits. I kept to the bottom and was unaware I'd ventured into the channel until a powerful diesel engine overhead acted as a reminder. Ambient air temperatures were very mild at 62-66 degrees due to a protective layer of fog, the product of cool air meeting a warm land mass, while temperatures not far inland at Atascadero were 25+ degrees warmer and uncomfortably hot. Entry off the crescent-shaped sand beach near the base of Morro Rock was relatively uncomplicated, but the viz was poor and didn't improve while I was there. Personnel from the USCG station nearby provided me with additional information on the dredging operation, which should be completed soon. There are many (seafood) restaurants nearby as a consolation to the day's limited viz. For the birdwatchers and photographers, the rock is a relatively undisturbed haven and no climbing is permitted on Morro Rock. I expect to see this area again, and I hope to see it under better conditions. For lodging, I would recommend nearby Cayucos, an often-overlooked beach community that provides fine atmosphere, interesting shops and (with the exception of their 4th of July celebration - Cayucos' magnum opus and an opportunity for locals and visitors alike to exercise good humor) it's a peaceful, uncrowded escape, but reserve rooms well in advance if you expect to be there on Independence Day.
09/13/2005        3.93      Les Davis Fishing Pier, Tacoma Washington, USA West
I regard this popular dive site as a barometer for the health of the area's biosystem, and I usually begin my dive season here each spring. The parking area fills quickly so early arrival is a good idea. Access to the water requires careful footwork on some large rocks that provide shore entry. Classes for basic and advanced O/W are often conducted here. For recently certified divers, the site provides abundant and diverse marine life in relatively shallow depths of 20-35 fsw. For intermediate and advanced divers, the bottom slopes to depths in excess of 100 fsw. We've found red octopus, at least four species of rockfish, ling cod, kelp greenling, cabezon, crescent gunnels, alabaster and lemon nudibranchs, surf and pile perch, moon snails, different species of crabs, geoducks, sunflower and ochre stars, plumose anemones, and many other examples of Northwestern marine life. In 9-10 years, I have not had a disappointing dive here. There are public toilet facilities nearby where divers may change, but no showers. The marina's promenade offers picnic tables and plenty of room to stretch out on the grass for your surface interval, so it's a good choice for a day with the family. Current is noticeable but not intense. Bring a dive float & flag or you invite a fine.
09/12/2005        3.16      Octopus Hole Washington, USA West
Directions have already been provided to this site so I will not be redundant except to say it is located 18 miles from Kneeland Road in Shelton and it lies on the right (east) side of northbound 101. As you pass the Tides Restaurant (left side of the road), you have less than a quarter-mile to Octopus Hole on the right, but it's easily overlooked. There is parking for 5-6 vehicles to the right, and 5 or so on the left or S/B side of the road, but these spaces fill early so you do well to plan to arrive by 0900. Access to this site, which is privately owned by Mike & Sherry Smith of Mike's Dive Shop, is free of charge but ethics and gratitude dictate that divers who use this site get their air refills and accessory needs at Mike's, which is about 6 miles south of this site on 101. There is another dive shop nearby, Hood Sport & Dive. Access from the road is accomplished on a stair step of rocks. Classes are frequently conducted here. There may be a wind-driven surface current, but the exchange is generally mild. The site offers a variety of marine life, including an occasional glimpse of wolf eel and octopus, pile perch, rockfish, crabs (decorator, kelp, dungeness), plumose anemones, lemon nudibranch and many other critters. There seems no pattern for visibility; it varies from poor (arm's length) to 20+ feet. This weekend, my son and I noted a thermocline at 22 fsw, beneath which the temperature was 50-51 deg F. Viz seemed to improve noticeably beneath that temperature layer. Morning conditions are often smooth and calm, but wind and chop may develop by afternoon. The weather is beyond prediction (this is the Northwest) but, if you wait just a bit, it'll change. Lodging is available nearby, though I'd recommend calling at least 2-3 weeks in advance during the summer. Cell phone transmission may be a problem here; the nearest land line is the Tides Restaurant. There is an ambulance (volunteer fire department) in Shelton. I hadn't visited this area in a great while because the site appeared to be in decline, but I am reassured that the biosystem is recovering well, and I hope that continues to improve.
11/20/2004        4.03      Point Whitney Washington, USA West
Pt. Whitney, often overlooked and seldom crowded, is a very good site offering sufficient parking, restrooms, convenient shore access, and a healthy biosystem. Visibility is occasionally (very) limited, 8 to 15 ft, but the marine life in the shallower depths (12-32 fsw) is abundant and diverse. Pt. Whitney is a fine place to conduct certification dives or work with less experienced divers because current is not a problem. There is a boat ramp nearby for boaters and fishermen, and divers are well advised to use a safety float and dive flag. To reach Pt. Whitney from Portland or Centralia, take I-5 north to Exit 104 and drive west on Hwy 101 toward Aberdeen and Port Angeles. Remain on 101, following signs through Hoodsport and continue north through Brinnon. Look to the right for an RV park at Bee Mill Road, turn right off Hwy 101, guide right and follow narrow Point Whiney Road past homes and a scout camp to the Point Whitney State Shellfish Laboratory. As you approach the Hood Canal on this road, the laboratory is on your right. A boat ramp is almost directly ahead. Restrooms are to your left, and you will find adequate parking along the unpaved area to your left, beyond the restrooms. You can park about 20 yards from the water! On days when the visibility is good, you can follow the pipeline directly from the shore into >75 fsw. If you follow the pipeline to approx 30-32 ft and turn 90 degrees to your left, you may find what appears to be an attempt or start of an artificial reef of pipes and cinder blocks, which is where I found a small octopus. The shallower water is a wonderful area to explore for tubesnout, painted greenling, blackeye goby, crescent gunnels and lemon nudibranchs hiding among the eel grass. Lodging is conveniently available at the Glen Ayr Canal Resort (360-877-9522), the Sunrise Motel (360-877-5301) or other motels to the south of Pt. Whitney, but you'll have to drive further to find a dive shop. I believe the closest source for air refills and accessories would be Hood Sport n' Dive (Ph: 360-877-6818) or Mike's Diving Center (Ph: 360-877-9568), so go to Pt. Whitney well prepared.
11/19/2004        3.58      Triton Cove Washington, USA West
Triton Cove is often overlooked, possibly because it doesn't look like a dive site from nearby Hwy 101. Parking is usually more than adequate. There are no restrooms, but there is a porta-potty or two. I have not developed the coordination to change in or out of a wetsuit in a porta-potty, and it's probably one of those arcane skills practiced by the very few. Triton Cove offers a boat ramp that simplifies diver entry and exit, and also provides a launch site for a dive kayak, but there are powerboats to consider and a safety float & dive flag are well advised. Visibility varies quite a bit, usually from poor to fair. On entry, turn to the left (north) to avoid inbound/outbound boat traffic. I observed ratfish, rockfish, midshipmen, sculpin, and other marine life at this site. Water temp was 52 degrees F in June. Triton Cove is located on the west side of the Hood Canal. Drive north from Shelton, past Hoodsport, Lilliwaup, Eldon and the Hamma Hamma River. Look to the right of the highway for the Triton Cove entry and parking area, which is well marked. On a sunny day, this is a photogenic area. There are no restaurants or snack shops at the site, but it's a fine spot for a family picnic.
11/17/2004        3.58      Corona del Mar California Mid, USA West
This site, also known as Big Corona, is best appreciated in the off-season, after Labor Day, when the crowds dissipate, the temperature drops a bit, and the sunset views from Ocean Blvd and the rocks are "Kodak moments". Other than during offshore storm conditions, the surf is easy to negotiate. If your interest lies in studying SoCal marine life, this may not be the best choice of sites. I'd recommend it as a place to certify, to refamiliarize with scuba after a long absence, to work with recently certified divers, but it's not a "must". It's a relatively shallow dive, not difficult, and there are critters hiding in the breakwater rocks. The bottom is relatively flat, with a few rock formations or reefs that provide a refuge for Garibaldi, senorita wrasse, surf perch and other species common to the area. There are fire rings on the broad beach for the post-dive picnic and meltdown, though it can be a long stroll back to your vehicle with your dive gear. The food concessions are closed during the off-season, but I don't consider that a loss; there are dozens of places to eat on nearby PCH. If your economy of time requires preplanning for quality dives, I would rate this site lower than nearby Little Corona for diving, but it's a great photo opportunity and a fine place to unwind in the late afternoon and evening, after your day's diving has ended at other Orange County locations nearby.
11/11/2004        4.08      Fort Worden Reef Washington, USA West
This site provides easy entry and egress from the moderately sloped beach or the boat ramp of the Marine Science Center. The current is a consideration, so check the tide tables (found in the local phone book). A dive kayak is unnecessary, but it's a fine paddling opportunity as well. Water temperatures during my mid-week, late July visits were 52-53 degrees F. Viz was 25+ feet. Bottom life was healthy, with basket stars, decorator crabs, kelp crabs and sea cucumbers in abundance, with a lemon nudibranch on seaweed-covered rock. I was briefly investigated by a seal, which then moved purposefully toward the anemone-covered pilings of the Science Center, where I later observed her with a seal pup. Timing (and a north-to-south current) did not favor a second entry from the same position on the beach, so I moved 220-250 yds further north, entered and drifted back toward the MSC. The reef appeared to be healthy and relatively undisturbed at a depth of 27 fsw. I'm convinced this would be an interesting night dive. Drifting further south, I took the time to slowly explore the pilings at the science center, which was a great photo opportunity. Parking was free (unusual for a state park), and there were restrooms and a snack shop nearby. Air refills and last-minute accessories are available at the Port Townsend Dive Shop. The area offers shopping, restaurants and lodging for every wallet. For those who plan well in advance, very affordable lodging is available at Fort Worden, a former US Army artillery installation that guarded the entrance of the Puget Sound, now administered by the State of Washington with a year-round reservation system for camping and indoor lodging ( I hope to return to Port Townsend and Fort Worden to check on the progress of the reef and explore another site not far away. I brought a dive kayak with me, and the boat ramp simplified launch and return to the parking area, but kayaks are available for rent in Port Townsend, a short distance away. I recommend the area for divers with nondiving spouses or youngsters, because there's something for all family members to enjoy and it's a fine weekend escape, but the area is popular and hotels & motels fill quickly, so plan ahead.
12/16/2003        4.26      LA - Casino Point California Mid, USA West
A ferry ride from away from Newport Beach, Dana Point or Long Beach, the community of Avalon is a wonderful escape from the crowded freeways of southern California for a week or a weekend. If you can't turn off the cell phone and relax here, you need prescription medication. Casino Point is a convenient stroll from most of the lodging and 3 of the dive shops in Avalon. Concrete stairs with a handrail were built in 1997 to facilitate diver entry/egress. From the moment you submerge, the marine life and photo ops begin. You will begin to find the broad spectrum of native marine life with a giant stride off the stairs. Viz varied from 30 to 75 ft during my visits (averaging 55-60'), deteriorating only with an approaching storm. Water temp in early October was 62 deg.F, and diving was excellent. If you enjoy a diver's vacation (eat-sleep-dive), you will not be disappointed with Avalon. The Casino is an easily recognizable landmark. Lodging expenses vary from the very affordable Hotel Atwater (expect no mints on your pillow in the morning) to romantic B&Bs with harbor views. Air refills are available from Catalina Scuba Luv's van, positioned at Casino Point. Rental carts are available on the pier ($10)to carry tanks, weight belts and accessories. If you live in L.A. or Orange County, or if you're a visiting diver, do not miss the opportunity to visit Avalon and dive Casino Point.
12/14/2003        3.86      Seacrest Park Washington, USA West
This site offers easy access and egress, toilet & changing facilities nearby, convenient parking, food and drink nearby, and it is not current intensive. I am comfortable in recommending the site for recently certified divers. Interference with the water taxi is easily avoided by turning right (south) after entry. I witnessed two divers, members of an AOW class, surface swimming directly in the path of the taxi, requiring it to come to a stop. That thoughtlessness could eliminate this as a dive site. Bring a safety float & flag. The marine environment is well-populated with rockfish, and the pilings are covered with plumose anemones. Water temp on my last visit (June) was 52-53 degrees F. Visibility varied on my visits. Initially limited at 12-15 feet, a subsequent visit provided >25ft and good photo opportunities. Burdened by gear, footing to and from the water on the sloped surface was complicated by slippery round stones. I enjoy this site and recommend it for all experience levels.
12/08/2003        4.52      Edmonds Underwater Park Washington, USA West
This site provides ease of entry and egress, excellent macro photographic opportunities, a diverse and abundant marine biosystem, and an extraordinary dive experience. The bulkheads of the DeLeon dry-dock, sunk in 1935 as a breakwater for the ferry terminal at the park's southern boundary, provide a garden-like habitat for plumose anemone, rockfish, cabezon, painted greenling, kelp greenling, and lingcod. Kelp crab, decorator crab, shrimp and tubesnout can be found in the eelgrass. Depth at the westernmost end of the sunken dry-dock is about 40-42 feet, so air consumption due to depth is not a major concern. This is a marine protected area (MPA) and resident species are often mature, large and productive. These fish live in a nutrient-rich "soup" that allows them to thrive without human predation. No powerboats or fishing are permitted within the park boundaries. Nothing may be taken from the site. Nudibranches and other small, colorful invertebrates can be found, simply by taking the time to look for them. This site provides a fine example of how beneficial an MPA can be. Edmonds is not a fortuitous accident; this site has been carefully nurtured and developed over the years by a dedicated group of volunteers. It's a model for other underwater parks. Employ a compass and common sense to avoid the path of the ferries. The park consists of 27 acres of submerged area, with features that provide variety and countless hiding places for many species that inhabit these rich waters. Visibility seems at its best in wintertime, when local water temperatures are 46-48 degree F. There are public restrooms for changing clothes, and outdoor freshwater showers to rinse cameras and dive gear. This is probably the most popular dive site in the Northwest, and a delightful place for area residents to admire the Sound, so the parking area fills quickly. Arrival after 0830 will be necessitate offloading at the sea wall and parking elsewhere. Air is available at Underwater Sports, a few hundred yards away. A diver's slate with U/W map is available at the dive shop. A diver will not be able to cover all the site has to offer on one, two or several dives. Family restaurants and coffee shops, as well as antique shops, are within walking distance from the site. Visibility is occasionally poor, but within your (limited) circle of visibility, you will observe a remarkable variety of marine life. This is a popular location for dive classes and not a technically challenging dive site, so advanced divers may not find it worthy of frequent visits, but it's a fine place to train, to admire the Puget Sound's marine life, and (with permit) make night dives. The site is not current-sensitive due to the breakwater and jetty, and it's a fine place for the novice diver to explore, especially if guided by another diver familiar with the site's many features. For divers visiting the Seattle area, this site is a "must see".
12/08/2003        3.66      Heisler Park California South, USA West
Much than can be said about adjacent Diver's Cove applies to Heisler Park (also known as Picnic Beach) but the this site exhibits a difference in bottom contour and vegetation, and I think a better variety and abundance of marine life. It is also included in the marine reserve and I was advised that nothing may be taken from the water. I found dorids and nudibranches on the rocks on a springtime visit. There were some gorgonian sea fans and limpets on the rocks, as well as sole or halibut on the sandy patches. There were blue-banded gobies on the kelp holdfasts. Garibaldi, blacksmith, senorite wrasse, opaleye and other fish were sufficient in number to make this a worthwhile dive. Swimming to the south, to the left of my shore entry, I found a thicker growth of kelp in approx. 30 ft depth. Entries and exits can be difficult when the surf is up. This beach is very crowded with sun worshippers during the summer months, when classes are out, and simply finding a parking space is challenge. Parking on Cliff Drive (overlooking the beach) is metered. This site is a good choice to bring nondiving family members, because there are restrooms, a shower and picnic tables available. Traffic in Laguna Beach on Pacific Coast Highway is very dense during the warmer months, but there are interesting shops, galleries and restaurants throughout the city. If you're a diver who balances time under the surface with quality family time, this site can cover both priorities.
12/08/2003        3.66      Shaws Cove California South, USA West
Surf conditions and visibility were inconsistent from February to May with viz deteriorating with offshore storms and higher water temps, but the site is normally sheltered from high surf and it has a number of features to recommend it. Parking, though limited, was less a problem for me on repeated visits than other nearby coves and beaches, but I invariably arrived early, about 0730 hrs and occasionally during the workweek. This site is popular with swimmers, dive classes and snorkelers, so it is predictably crowded on weekends. Access to the south-facing beach is accomplished by stairs, and shore entry & exit is typically uncomplicated. To the right (west) of entry are rocky walls and, exploring these, we find a crevice that provides a haven for garibaldi and other fish in approximately 18-22 feet of water, according to my notes. Though frequently visited by divers, there are cracks where octopus can hide and the empty shells that litter the bottom support the reports of divers I'd spoken to who said they saw small octopus here. Water depth at the outer reef, beyond the crevice, was 43+ feet and my average visibility was 20-25 feet. Moving east (i.e., to the left of my shore entry as you look from the beach), I found submerged reefs with senorita wrasse and grunion. I had the pleasant surprise of a harbor seal encounter as I returned to the beach, and the creature circled to examine me as I hovered several feet off the sandy bottom. In shallower water, I found a mask with attached snorkel and a weight belt on the bottom, uncovered by shifting sands. I did not note any public restroom facilities or showers in my log, which may have been an oversight. The area is primarily residential. I recommend this site more highly than Diver's Cove, Boat Canyon or Diver's Cove for marine life. I look forward to an opportunity to revisit this and other sites in Orange County.
12/06/2003        4.03      Robert Badham California Mid, USA West
This site, known locally as "Little Corona" (to distinguish it from nearby Corona del Mar State Park or "Big Corona") offers very good to excellent dive opportunities and postcard vistas. Drive south from Newport Beach or north from Laguna on Pacific Coast Highway to the pleasant community of Corona del Mar and turn west on Poppy Avenue. In a few blocks, Poppy turns sharply to the right at Ocean Blvd, and this bend or turn marks the overview of the site. Early arrival, before 8AM, will favor parking since this is an upscale residential area surrounding a site that is popular with local sunbathers, swimmers and photographers for much of the year. Cormorants and other birds have claimed easily distinguishable Arch Rock as their own. Divers must carry their gear down a paved, steeply inclined path to the beach below. On-site showers and restroom facilities are available. The overview from the point where the path begins will provide the diver with a view of the best entry lane between submerged, urchin-covered rocks, directly in front of the lifeguard tower. The tide pools are a wonder to explore for youngsters and adults, and sea stars, anemones and hermit crabs are abundant, easy to examine. Diver entry is direct and relative easy in this partially protected cove, though footing on the rocks requires care. Once past entry, the bottom is sandy with rocks or reefs to the left and right of your entry point. Check the view to shore and take a compass reading when you've entered to get a visual reference and reciprocal compass heading for your return to the beach. Once beyond the shallow area near shore, the depth increases and divers may see garibaldi, senorita wrasse, opaleye, rockfish and grunion. Visibility varies with surf conditions but I expect 20-40 feet. The marine environment is gratifyingly healthy for so well-populated an area. Obey signs that declare this a marine life refuge, which limits extraction to certain species in season. Take care to avoid the urchins on the rocks during surge. There are dive shops within a 10-15 minute drive from the site in Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, and Laguna Beach; however, if you relinquish your prized parking space, it will instantly be filled by other visitors. In your preplanning, check the yellow pages and refer to an Orange County Thomas Guide for the shop of your choice. The closest emergency room is Hoag Memorial Hospital in Newport Beach. There are eateries in the area to suit every taste, from KFC and McDonald's to the 5-star Five Crowns Restaurant and other fine restaurants in Corona del Mar and Newport Beach. For those who do not dive, nearby Fashion Island is a powerful draw, and there are interesting shops and galleries along Pacific Coast Highway north or south of this site. I regard Little Corona as one of the better kept divers'secrets in Orange County.
12/06/2003        3.31      Divers Cove California South, USA West
This site is very popular with Orange County dive shops for open water certification classes and it is suitable for novice divers. The exceptions are those days when south swell or offshore storms add difficulty to surf entries. This area is a marine life refuge. The bottom slope is gradual and most diving is conducted at depths of 22-34 feet, so an aluminum 80 will last quite a while. The bottom is varied, with sandy patches separating small reefs that provide a nest for territorial garibaldi. There are urchins and sea stars on the rocks, with senorita wrasse, rockfish and surf perch moving about. This site is conveniently located, accessible, and uncomplicated, hence popular with local divers. Convenient metered parking is available, but parking enforcement of the City of Laguna Beach is mercilessly efficient. Divers must plan accordingly and diligently keep the meters fed, or a parking ticket is almost a certainty. If the meter expires while you're in the water, you'll surface to a ticket. There are condominiums adjacent to the stairs at street level that lead to the beach. Please respect the privacy of the residents. There are public telephones and picnic tables nearby. It may be wise to check if the public restrooms at nearby Heisler Beach are locked before you begin your dive. I saw no restaurants in the immediate area of the site, but it's a fine site for a picnic, so bring nonalcoholic beverages and lunch. A variety of restaurants can be found on Pacific Coast Highway, not far away.
11/30/2003        2.97      Siuslaw River Oregon, USA West
Found the site with the assistance of Central Coast Watersports on Hwy 101 in Florence. Entry at high slack was facilitated by defunct fish ladder, floored with concrete by a coordinated volunteer effort. Visibility on three dives was disappointingly poor. Divers operate beneath sport fishing and crab boats; a safety flag/float is appropriate and recommended. Excellent site for crab, but the bottom is sandy/silty, without hiding places for life that often provides the foundation for a diverse marine environment. Without habitat enhancement or remediation, this site will not fully develop as an underwater park. Current is an issue. If not dived at slack, this is a drift dive. Marine life was not particularly abundant during my visits. Restroom facility was a single Port-a-potty. Parking was adequate for a dozen or more vehicles. I agree that high slack is the best time for uncomplicated entry/egress. Fine site for a family picnic while diver(s) are below. Nearest air refills and supplies at Central Coast Watersports. Initially difficult site to find, but well worth the visit. Good site for crabbing, but limited viz favors the confident or experienced diver. Exercise care with boats overhead.
11/28/2003        3.08      Nellies Cove Oregon, USA West
This is a kayak/boat dive from the harbor because entry/egress to the cove over the rocks is hazardous. Snorkelers are less encumbered and can make it over the rocks. It's an uncomplicated kayak or inflatable launch from the beach, since the surf is little more than a ripple. Powerboats are lowered to the harbor by 15 & 25-ton cranes for a small fee. Viz in Nellie's Cove and adjacent Tichenor's cove was poor (5 to 8 ft) on 4 dives, 2 occasions. Noted a good population of rockfish, moon snails, crab. I anchored my dive kayak in 32-35 ft depth. Other divers advise that conditions are occasionally very good, but my timing was poor on a subsequent summer visit also. Prevailing wind increased in the afternoon. Return to the harbor around the breakwater with the kayak was uncomplicated by surf. Vehicles (4WD with off-road tires recommended) were permitted on the beach to facilitate transport of boat and gear, but the resolute diver can carry the gear from the parking area. Showers & restrooms available. Food concession nearby. Time constraints did not permit night dives. Affordable lodging available at Castaways and Sea Crest Motel. Diving fell short of expectations, but the kayaking was fun and the scenery was a "Kodak moment" that justified the trip for me.

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