Monterey Adventure Weekend-Sept. 27-Oct. 1, 2018
It’s been a long time since I have been diving in Monterey and I decided that 2018 was time to change things. I used to help out with the Ventura College NAUI program and we used to go to Monterey with classes to teach different types of entries for rocky, sandy and pebble beaches like at Monastery Beach.
Usually we camped at Veterans Memorial park and once at Arroyo Seco race track. While there we would explore. I also setup Big Sur camping trips while I was the dive coordinator for the Channel Islands Divers dive club out of Oxnard. Most would come up to Big Sur Fri. /Sun. but my friends Dave (who just passed away), Ray and I would go up early for a few days for Bro time. We would leave the campground early, do 3 dives in Monterey, wash our gear at the car wash and head back to the Big Sur campground still having to BBQ dinner. Those were some GREAT times. We also would get our Point Lobos permits in advance and spend all day there with the club diving and hiking. There is just so much to do in the area and not enough time to do it all.
It’s been some time since I was in Monterey to dive and missed it so hence the CIDA trip there that we did the weekend of Sept. 27-Oct. 1, 2018 and now this will be an annual event.
My wife and I started with a nice drive up the 101 on Thursday morning to the house we were sharing with other friends (Mark & Mary, Amy and Tiffany) in the town of Seaside which is right next to Monterey. Saturday morning, we went for a 4-hour whale watching trip meeting up with more friends (Josh & Marissa, Monica and John & Maryanne) at the Monterey Bay Whale Watching company. The whale watching was the highlight of the trip! We had never had such an amazing time whale watching and to top it off we had sightings of 44 humpbacks and a pod of about 100 Risso dolphins with their babies staying close behind and at one point there was one young one jumping putting a smile on everyone’s face. There sure were plenty of tasty sardines and anchovies in the water for the whales and at one time they surrounded the boat. Normally seeing their tales going down is what you want to see but after a while we seen so many tails that we wanted more and we got more. Seeing them lunged upwards catching fish was a total kick and the whole ordeal was like watching a suspenseful movie not knowing what would happen next.
The crew was great and the naturalists were very well spoken making it a must do trip next time in town. Afterwards we went to Lovers Point Park where a couple others joined us (Alain & Christy) for a dive and BBQ. The conditions were so flat and calm we decided to dive the outer side of the bay at Otter Cove and the sun finally came out making it a fun hour-long dive with 20’-30’ visibility and 52-degree water. The BBQ worked out great once we got the coals going with some of us staying till way after dark.
Saturday was a new day and most of us needed to get fills before the boat dives on the Beachhopper ll. Good thing that the dive shops open up early (7:00) on the weekends! We (Alain, Tiffany, Amy, Ceser, John, Josh, Marisa, Mark, Mary and myself) arrived with plenty of time heading out about 8:30 for two dives. The weather was still gorgeous, flat and calm giving us the opportunity to dive most anyplace we wanted. Some of us heard Ballbusters was great so that was our first dive which was named after fishermen kept dragging their nets over this deep sea pinnacle, causing the weighted metal balls to fall off and you can still find them on the reef, some as little as tennis balls and others as large as a volley ball. It was more a series of pinnacles with a high spot of around 55’, lots of life and metridums covering it and a depth of maybe 100’ plus. Afterwards we moved to another great dive site, Aumentos which was my favorite of the day. Aumentos was a series of pinnacles and was a WAY cool site with the top sitting at around 25’, walls along the side, lots of big rocks out away from the main pinnacle, lots of fish, plenty of area to explore and I got to watch a juvenile wolfeel swimming around. What a treat the wolfeel was! Both dives were not far apart and not far from shore and with the sun out it was another beautiful day.
Later that day for dinner most of us meet at Phil’s Fish Market in Moss Landing for dinner. It didn’t look like much outside but based on the long line you could tell it was worth the wait and it was. Nothing better than locally caught fresh fish, good prices and plentiful plates of food. The Bloody Mary’s looked also looked pretty darned good.
On Sunday morning Amy, Tiffany and myself went for a shore dive at the Beakwater. I have done lots of shore dives around Monterey but never the Breakwater and it was surprisingly GOOD. It wasn’t your typical breakwall dive with large rocks sloping to the sandy bottom. It had an area in the shallows from maybe 25’ and above that was more like a rocky reef with large rocks that made mini walls and of course there was life everywhere. Seen more small stuff in the deeper water which bottomed out at about 40’ and large anemones and fish in the shallower areas. I did an 85 minute dive and have to say it sure took a while for my hands to quite feeling tingly after that.
It was a busy day because right after the dive I hurried to the house picked up my wife and off we went to Point Lobos where we did a 4.5 mile hike around the outer perimeter of the park. If you have never been to Point Lobos it is a must do. You can dive there in Whalers Cove but reservations must be made in advance. I can tell you my legs and feet were worn out afterwards and the best thing for that was some snacks and a cold beer or two.
Unfortunately Monday was a sad day because it was time to go home but the GOOD thing is now this will be an annual trip for Channel Islands Dive Adventures.
Land pictures of weekend on Flickr
Underwater pictures from diving on Flickr