Catalina diving is among the most popular things to do on this island off the coast of Southern California. The great abundance of marine life draws scuba divers from around the world and there are opportunities for people of all ages and skill levels to explore the waters, making this one of the top things to do on the island. For those not yet ready to fully immerse themselves, there are plenty of locations for exciting Catalina Island snorkeling.
Catalina Island has earned a reputation over the years as one of the top scuba diving locations off the west coast of the United States because of the amazing diversity of marine life, as well as the temperate and clear waters. The presence of this diversity of marine life is due in large part to the large reefs, both natural and artificial. You will have the opportunity to explore a variety of Catalina Island dive sites, depending upon your interests and skill level. The artificial reefs are created through Catalina shipwrecks, or plane wrecks in some cases.These areas also draw lots of tourists for deep sea fishing off the coast here.
There are quite a few Catalina Island dive sites to choose from, so the first thing you may want to do is decide what kind of marine life you are most interested in seeing. You can work with your instructor or tour guide to shape the exact underwater experience you wish to have, whether you are in business for horn sharks and ray, leopard shark and eels, and giant sea bass, to name just a very select few. Where you end up diving or snorkeling may also be informed by where you stay on the island. Some of the most popular Catalina Island dive sites include Lover’s Cove, Sea Fan Grotto, Long Point, and Casino Point Dive Park. Divers and snorkelers can expect to come into close proximity of all kinds of brilliant sea life like giant black sea bass, yellowtail tuna, sea lions, dolphins, and huge kelp forests. Other popular Catalina diving sites include Bird Rock, Yellowtail Point, Ship Rock, and Farnsworth Banks.
There are a few things to keep in mind as you are making your plans for when to go to Catalina Island, in terms of diving and snorkeling. The peak tourist travel season is the summer and this is the busiest time for Catalina Island snorkeling and diving. This is because the waters reach temperatures in the mid-70s and most people prefer to dive in larger groups. The only problem with this is that it can muck up the waters a bit and decrease visibility. Visibility is generally about 30 to 60 feet during the summer. For those people who are not intimidated by water temperatures in the 50s, the winter months can be an excellent time for Catalina diving. You’re going to have a full wet suit anyway, so if you are a serious diver, you may consider taking a trip during this time of the year when visibility can allow divers to see up to 80 to 100 feet. Even cool Catalina weather is comparably warm and nice compared to the mainland.
There are plenty of dive sites that accommodate people of all skill levels. There are also a variety of stores where you can rent and purchase gear, as well as receive instruction. Lessons are available for people of all ages year round.