A1's Dive Log
Monastery Beach North on 11/24/2007
Nov 24, 2007, 12:00 AM
Monastery beach is often as difficult as people say, but just as often not. I did my rescue diver class off this beach when it was a very calm weekend, so not nearly as challenging as that might sound. I have gone diving here many times. I also have driven to the beach many times with dive gear, taken a good look and then driven to another beach. The real secret to diving this site is to dive a different one if conditions are going to turn an otherwise fine diving experience into an epic battle of man-against-nature. This beach is fully exposed to the full force of any waves coming in off the ocean, so when in doubt come back another day. Finding out that the surf is larger than you are prepared to deal with while getting pounded by water and wearing a hundred pounds of gear is too late. That said, I disagree that this is an advanced diver only site. I have seen the waves on the beach come in only ankle high. On such days, almost any diver could tackle the dive, as long as they can be honest with themselves about what kind of day they are looking at before donning gear. Other than the entry, the other challenging part of the dive is the wall, where the Continental shelf drops to the blue black depths of the canyon about 300 ft offshore. This is a spectacular sight, but does demand a certain level of buoyancy control. For brand new divers you will want to wait until you can consistently maintain your neutral buoyancy before taking a look here, but it is definitely worth a good look or three. Short of the wall, the kelp forest is fantastic. The exposure that makes this dive difficult half the time, also keeps the visibility better than average.