Cardiac Hill

California North, USA West
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Snorkeling and Scuba Diving at Cardiac Hill

Here are two of my favorite dive spots, in between Christmas Tree Cove and White Point. As you head south on Palos Verdes Drive West from Lunada Bay (where Christmas Tree cove) is located, right after the Coast Guard's Pt. Vincente lighthouse, you will come to a tall hill, and "Palos Verdes Drive West" becomes "Palos Verdes Drive South". On the Southside of that hill is a parking lot, with restrooms, marking the "Pt. Vincente Fish Access", known to the locals as "Cardiac Hill" There is a steep, but wide, trail to the bottom of the cliff, and a good dive once you get to the beach. Similar to Christmas Tree, but it gets more people-pressure because of the easier access. And further East along Palos Verdes Drive South is the entrance to Old Marineland. A truly wonderful dive spot, with some well-populated rock reefs. There is a gradual, dirt road down to an easy-entry beach on the East end, or for the more advanced/experienced (and depending on the swells), a rock entry on the West end. Developers have their eye on this property, so I don't know how much longer it will stay open, but we should enjoy it while it is.
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Ron Renzoni
Ron Renzoni
May 20, 2017, 12:00 AM
I dove cardiac hill back in the 70's. It was a great spot to night dive. I once climbed back up to the parking lot non-stop without resting at the switch back with all my gear on (100 lbs). It was a hot summer day and I thought I wasn't going to make it. After that hike I knew why the called it 'cardiac hill'.
Originally posted on
Aug 18, 2010, 12:00 AM
Went on 8/18/10. The visibility was fantastic (25+ feet)! There was an old SW swell fading away, and we hit at a low tide, which must have really cleared out the area. Take the trail down from the parking lot, and dive wherever. There was a fishing boat in the middle of the bay, so we stayed clear of that, but the undersea rock formations were beautiful. Saw lots of Senorita, Sargo, Striped surfperch, Gharibaldi, Opaleye, kelpfish, tons of urchins, anemones, and even a few sea slugs. Only two things were wrong. One, there was a LOT of kelp in the kelp forest. Too thick to swim through. So long as you swim around the edges, it's just fine, though. The only other issue was how cold the water was. 60 degrees. But that's seasonal. We had a great time, and will be back soon.
Originally posted on
Patrick Horton
Patrick Horton
Aug 3, 2003, 12:00 AM
This is a nice and accessible dive spot for good or bad. I like to kick out to the point of the light house as there are some sea mounts, large boulders and rock reefs that are pretty dramatic. I saw a juvenile large black sea bass there recently. Leave your tanks and just free dive. It makes cardiac hill much better.
Originally posted on
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