Coronado Islands, off the coast of San Diego.

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The Coronado Islands are a set of uninhabited (by humans, at least!) lumps of barren rock that are often visible from San Diego. Dive Connections is one of several fine boat operations operating out of San Diego. You can check out their schedule, availability and make reservations on line that will get you anything from a 2 tank up to even 4 tank dives in a single day. While they're owned by Mexico, leave your passports at home; they're not needed & you won't deal with US immigration on the way back. Visit this site for other charter boats and expect to pay roughly $100 per person and spend the good part of a day on the trip.

The water temperature is usually a few degrees warmer than immediately off the coast of San Diego and the visibility is much better; often over 60 ft (18m) though it will vary from site to site and, of course, local ocean conditions. In the spring, though the water is cold, we've seen sealion pups who were obviously just waiting for the dive boats to show up to have something new to play with. They'll nip your fins - and any other appendages that may be hanging out there, including cameras - but they're friendly, playful & very cute!

You can expect swells on the ride out, but the sites are on the lee side of the islands and usually pretty calm; the Coronados Islands are pretty shallow and ideal for novice divers. In addition to sealions, there are plenty of the usual suspects: we saw golden Garibaldis, lots of sea urchins and octopus. However, unlike the other local Southern California islands (Catalina and San Clemente), there's a surprising absence of giant kelp.

Check out the video below to see what's down there.

Coronado Islands Video. (7.1 MB)

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