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Discussion in 'SoCal Dive Site Reviews' started by Sam Miller III, Jan 23, 2019.

  1. Sam Miller III

    Sam Miller III Scuba Legend Scuba Legend

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: CALIFORNIA: Where recreational diving began!

    The idea season to dive the train is always winter
    Be aware of the dangers--Check in with the life guard before diving
    1) Dory fleet
    2) Pole fishermen
    3) Entanglements - fishing line
    4) Long shore drift

    The Newport pier, therefore "the train" is a seasonable diving area, and the spring and summer months are certinly NOT the season for diving that area, . This is based on the following; the prevailing summer swell is from the south -right into the pier, there is excessive traffic during the summer, the Dory fleet, the surfers and certainly the elbow to elbow fisherman on the pier, with hooks baited for young juicy divers.

    Now, during the fall and winter monthsand especially during the santanas is an ideal safest season to dive the pier. Please be aware there is generally a alongshore drift so it is advisable to enter the water on the left side of the pier, directly in exit path of the Dorys, swim on the surface until fishermen are encounter, submerge under the pier and swim out under the pier to avoid fishermen.

    If the Lifeguard station is manned it is always adviseable to check in and advise them of your dive plan. They are all surfers/divers and very knowledgeable of the conditions and may advise to abort the dive.

    Swim almost to the end of the pier and the remains should be visible under the pier on the left side directly under the cleaning station. Sadly a portion of the train was removed some years ago by a newly minted PADI hero instructor teaching salvage and he took the parts home and now gone forever However there should be enough remaining to recognize it as a train a to create the event as a diving adventure.

    If the conditions are ideal the truly adventurous may want to proceed out beyond the end of the pier to depth of about 80 plus feet into the Newport canyon where the remnants of the box car wheels rest..Yes, Newport has a canyon-but mostly mud. Be advised that visibility is limited even on good days and often sharks are often encountered.

    Reverse the procedure on the return to shore.

    In the event the dive visibility is less than ideal the pilings and the bottom are a treasure trove. Every inch is covered with debris and or marine life, including the ever present fish hooks and mono fishing line, however the lines are on occasion attached to a discarded fishing pole. On numerous occasions legal lobsters have been taken in the pilings..So there is some thing for every one..the adventure diver, the junk collector, the photographer and the hunter.

    Additional information maybe found in "Diving West," 1972, (first California dive guide)OC section, Merker and Miller, "Great piers of California," Jean Femling, 1984, and an article by Dave Haldane (not related to THE Haldanes!) in either the OC Register or the LA Times of many many moons ago.

    The Newport Pier and the train are indeed one of the best keep secrets of OC diving, however, it is not with out hazards and needs a certain amount of prepration, skill and the ideal time to dive, but it does afford an unique underwater adventure. Where else in the world can you dive on a train a pier and a canyon all in one dive? Just by walking out from the shore ...

    Sam Miller, III
    StefinSB likes this.
  2. MaxBottomtime

    MaxBottomtime Divemaster

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Torrance, CA
  3. Sam Miller III

    Sam Miller III Scuba Legend Scuba Legend

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: CALIFORNIA: Where recreational diving began!

    Thank you for posting Walter Marti's great video of "A year under the Pier "
    A tribute to Walter and the great underwater photography of the Orange County Underwater Photographic Society aka
    O CUPS.

    Walters video certainly captures the variety of marine life under the pier-- one of my favorite dives
    thanks again

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