View Full Version : Best dive sites in San Diego
May 16th, 2012, 12:44 PM
I will be in San Diego, California in July and plan on doing 2 dives one of the mornings I'm there. Can anyone familiar with the area recommend the best sites for someone that will only have time for 2 dives? I'm less in to wrecks and have heard about La Jolla Cove and La Jolla Shores. The kelp forest sounds very interesting. Thoughts and/or suggestions? Any dive operations better than the others? Many thanks in advance.
---------- Post added May 17th, 2012 at 03:33 PM ----------
Anyone able to help? Especially with dive shops in La Jolla as that's where I think I will end up. I will need to rent all my gear too as I won't be in town long enough to make it worth my time bringing any with me.
---------- Post added May 17th, 2012 at 03:39 PM ----------
Anyone able to help with this? Especially with a reputable dive shop in La Jolla as that's where I think I will end up. I will need to rent my gear as I won't be in town long enough to make it worth my time to bring anything with me.
May 17th, 2012, 07:24 PM
Try "The Marissa" dive boat. They might have a kelp dive during your stay in SD.
Lots of weekend beach divers. in SD & Laguna.
Or drive north to Long beach / La area.
or the flyer to Catalina Island is always a treat.
May 19th, 2012, 01:31 AM
It would be helpful to know more about your experience & skill level, and where you will be staying while in San Diego. I assume you will rent a car.
You should be aware that, unlike Hawaii, not every day is a good day for diving in San Diego. Our water is often murky, either stirred up by the surf or a high plankton count. And it can be cold below 30 ft, even in the summer. So it is really hit and miss, especially with shore diving, which is what I do most. Check out Shorediving.com
I'm not partial to those artificially placed wrecks either. On a clear day, you can't beat a good kelp forest. If I had limited time and money, I'd shore dive at La Jolla Cove. La Jolla Shores is a good spot for beginners who want to see a bunch of sand. You can hit the edge of a deep water canyon or get into some good kelp forests from the entry at La Jolla Cove. You'll need to be in good shape and willing to kick out a fair bit on the surface before going down to see the best of what San Diego has to offer. Most divers make the mistake of starting their descent just outside (or even inside) the Cove area and burn all their air before getting out to the really cool stuff. If La Jolla Cove isn't diveable because of high surf or poor visibility, you should just hang it up because it won't be better from shore any place else. My recommendation for gear rental is Sport Chalet in La Jolla or House of Scuba. Sport Chalet prices are probably among the best and it is within reasonable driving distance to your dive site. Best prices, but a little farther, is the House of Scuba. They might even have a boat trip or group shore dive available. I'll let you google those shops on your own.
If I had the time and money, I'd go on a boat trip to the nearby Coronados, or over to Catalina. Visibility is generally better at the islands.
May 19th, 2012, 11:58 AM
A couple of notes from diving here a few times...
- Stanky1 clearly knows this area. Start your dive at Scripps Park, you are going to have to set up gear on the grass, which is quite nice, then walk down a bunch of stairs to the water, no biggie. Usually entry is fairly easy, if it's not, don't dive as conditions will suck. There will be a buoy that you will want to surface swim to. Now I don't remember the exact compass setting but it is NW, I believe your setting should be around 30 from the entry (anyone chime in if you have an exact setting). Keep in mind this is a LONG swim. I usually give this swim about 30 minutes at a comfortable pace. You must be physically fit to do this swim. All around the buoy is a kelp forrest. Usually in summer time this is a great place to see Sevengill Sharks. They are quite docile and truly amazing to dive with, however, do note, they can be 8ft+, if that makes you uneasy don't do the dive. Visibility will also be low, I've never seen it above 15 feet. Again, this goes to Stanky1's comment about your experience. Before you drop, set your compass back to where you entered the water and just head back very slow, it's a great dive!
- A quick 10 minute drive will put you at La Jolla Shores, here you will park and set up near Kellogg Park. There are two options for this dive. The 'scuba' option is to do about a 10 min surface swim out to about 30 feet of water. This drop down and head away from the shoreline, this should allow you to hit the canyon which just keep dropping as deep as you want to go. I'm not a huge fan of this dive as there isn't that much to see, but if you just want to go deep, you can't beat it. The other option around here is to snorkel in about 5 feet of water and look for Leopard Sharks. On a good sunny summer day you will find dozens of them, having done both I would much rather spend my time snorkeling with the Leopard Sharks, it is truly amazing.
Not sure on dive shops, I've never worked with any down that way.
On a safety note, I assume you're not from around here, so please note CA water is colder than most people realize. You will need a 7mm at least, even with that expect to be bone chilling cold. This can be a real safety hazard.
Secondly, really consider hiring a guide from the local dive shop. It should cost under $100 for the day, but will be well worth it. I don't know anyone that has had a great dive on their first attempt in these spots and if you only get to dive it this time, it's worth the extra $.
Good luck and be safe!
May 21st, 2012, 04:55 PM
Thank you for the replies, that's a lot of great info to go off from divers that really know the area. To answer the first question, I've got my Padi advanced open water and have dove local quarries and The Cayman Islands with less than 50 dives.
I'm going to look in to the information everyone has provided and come up with my plan. Hiring a guide is a great idea and I think I'll probably end up doing that. I have about 3 days to work with so if conditions are bad one day, I have two others to try.
Point taken regarding how cold the water is. Thanks again for the great info.