Plaskett Creek/Jade Cove camp out-Aug. 16-20, 2018
Went camping at Plaskett Creek along with some diving at Jade Cove this past Thursday to Monday (Aug. 16-20) and what FUN it was. We had family, friends and made some new friends as well. It doesn’t get much better than that. Weather was very nice with some of the usual fog but nothing like it can get when it is so damp you have to wear a raincoat.
I used to do these trips annually when I was the dive coordinator for the Channel Islands Divers and at one time we had about 70 people. At that time my old friend Rob Sankovich who was in the Conejo Gem & Mineral club would invite people from all the California Gem & Mineral clubs and that is why we had so many people. Talk about a potluck-it was HUGE! It was fun because we all learned new things from each other. Rob is the one who showed me the ropes for diving Jade Cove. We had LOTS of good times over the years and when I stepped down as being the dive coordinator for the scuba club I stopped organizing trips to the area. This is the type of thing I REALLY ENJOY so it is now time to do trips to Jade Cove as part of the CIDA line-up.
If you never been to Plaskett Creek it is a beautiful campground and one of our favorites. It is located along Hwy 1 on the Big Sur coast and about 90 minutes from Morro Bay and probably the same from Monterey. The campground is by reservation only and does fill up quickly in the summer months, just like the beaches of SoCal. They have nice clean flush toilets but no showers and there is water for cooking and cleaning dive gear.
It is a place for the outdoor person and there is so much to do my wife and I could easily spend 2 weeks in the area which I think will be on our list when I retire within 2 years. We will need to put the motorhome to use that we plan to buy. There are lots of hikes in the area we have never been on and plenty of rocky beaches still needing to be explored.
Across the highway within walking distance is Sand Dollar beach to the north and Jade Cove to the south. Sand Dollar beach is more like a large bay with steep rocks/cliffs all around and a beautiful sandy beach to walk on. It is a very gradual slope out to deeper water and a place the surfers all love.
If not diving walking to Jade Cove is the best. You can walk along the bluffs seeing north cove, middle cove and south cove or what we call Jade cove proper. The north and middle cove can be dived which I have done but not the easiest to get down too. Of course, Jade Cove proper isn’t easy either but it is easier than the others. For diving, we usually drive and park along the highway, suit up and walk down with everything we need. Sturdy shoes or boots are a must because staying on the trail is always the best. No need to take a short cut like over the edge!
The trail down has some VERY BIG steps at first, then you go over a small slide area as you zig zag your way down to the washout area which is about the last 50 feet or so. Here you can use a rope or not to get to the bottom rocky area. We usually set up in a flat rocky area and then make our way into the water through the rocks on the east side of the cove. Over the years I have found this to work better then entering from the small rocky beach. This is because of all the obstacles you come across such as the bull kelp, feather Boa kelp, the regular kelp we are used to plus the sea grass and the large rocks in the cove not to mention ant swell or surge. It isn’t an easy dive and not for anyone but I LOVE it!!!!
Why put yourself through all this for a dive that might have 5-10 ft visibility and be like a washing machine-JADE of course. After all it isn’t called Jade Cove for nothing. It is part of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and now you can only take jade from the high tide mark and below and only what you can carry. It isn’t a guarantee and it has taken me years to get an eye for it underwater but this trip proved I am on the right track. Another part of my success that I started doing when diving Jade Cove from the Vision this past June was to take any rock that I remotely think might be jade and I have found I am only throwing away about 5%-10% and this past weekend I found my first large piece of jade making me a happy boy.
This year we had 5 sites for our group and people from San Diego area, Ventura County, Santa Margarita, Monterey, Santa Cruz and my grandson Louie and his girlfriend Paige from Silverdale, WA. I am not sure exactly when we will go next year but more than likely around the same time. If you want to join us in 2019 watch for my FB posts or let me know and I will give you a warning when it gets close to making camping reservations. Of course for those that like camping at a nice hotel there are always plenty of choices within an hour drive. JOIN us in 2019!!
See pictures from the trip on our Flickr album