The Monterey Bay Sanctuary attracts divers from around the world and has been rated as the best beach dive in the U.S. by Scuba Diving magazine!
More than 65,000 divers visit this area each year. Lured by the unique beauty of the kelp forest and underwater canyon, our waters are the perfect destination for scuba divers of all abilities ranging from novice to expert.
Scuba divers who come here explore a realm of beauty that is unsurpassed in California. There are more than 60 dive sites, along with shipwrecks and scores of unspoiled pinnacles that continue to amaze even the most seasoned divers. Beneath the water’s surface lies a world of vibrant color with unbelievable 70 foot-high kelp forests, spectacular plant life, and incredible looking sea creatures.
Point Lobos has been called "the greatest meeting of land and sea in the world" and is perfect for all levels of divers. The plants and animals that live in this reserve are fully protected from any type of disturbance. This makes for a fantastic viewing experience as divers here quickly discover that the various species of marine life that inhabit this area tend to be curious and unafraid. For the adventurous, there are two large underwater caves and interesting relics of the old whaling days beneath the surface as well. Monastery Beach is very popular with advanced-level scuba divers. The waters around this area are teeming with kelp forests and a host of different types of invertebrates. Very often one will encounter sea mammals in this area, such as dolphins, sea otters, sea lions and whales. The rich sea life and unique viewing opportunities at Monastery Beach make it a must-see for experienced divers.
Most of the scuba diving on the Monterey Peninsula is easily accessible from shore so beach diving is very popular. Monastery Beach and Point Lobos are two examples of this. However, a variety of dive boats are also available should you wish to visit the less accessible sites. Boat diving is required to reach the dramatic and gorgeous offshore Pinnacles. Visitors can expect water temperatures to average 50 to 54F in the winter and 56 to 60F in the summer, with average visibility ranging from 20 to 35 feet but occasionally reaching 80 feet. The waters in Carmel CA and Monterey might be cold compared to tropical climates but the cooler temperatures offer an absolutely unique aquatic environment that warm water divers cannot normally experience.
The best time of year to dive Carmel is actually in winter when the conditions are clearer and the plant life is less abundant. It’s an ideal time to take advantage of Carmel Mission Inn’s great “winter rates” as well!
Carmel Mission Inn continues to be the perfect lodging destination for all those wishing to dive the local waters and experience the beauty that is Carmel CA.
By EB Shoemaker