roughly 25 miles off the coast of LA/ Orange County in Southern
California, Catalina Island has a wonderful array of land- and
ocean-bound activities. For divers, it has another advantage - you
don’t need to fly to get there; just take one of many ferries
leaving from San Pedro, Long Beach or Dana Point harbors. You can then
dive until you have to leave to return to the mainland.
diving is superb - temperate water (about 70 F/ 21 C) in the summer
and generally great visibility (better than 40+ ft/ 12 m) and abundant
sea life, including giant kelp beds and periodically giant sea bass,
gentle giants who come in between August and September. From town, you
can walk to the
Casino for a shore dive (gear rental & tank refills are right there!) or take one of
several excellent boat tours out to more remote parts of the island.
Several hotels in Avalon cater to divers but one of my favorite places is the La Paloma Las Flores. It's just off the main strip, so it doesn't get the bar noise at night and the rooms are small but cosy.
Dive conditions change and the first videos below are more recent. Giant Sea Bass used to hang out at Italian Gardens, but now are more prevalent at Twin Rocks. I saw a couple while diving, but my buddy was having problems
so I didn't get any video of them (safety first...). Still, check out these videos to get a glimpse of what Catalina Island has to offer divers:
Casino Point shore dive
California Twin Rocks, Bird Rock Video
Hollywood at Home!
Great Video Tips