Owen DeLong's Dive Log
Monterey State Beach on 2/13/2005
Commonly known as "Del Monte Beach" by locals, this is a decent beginner site and a good place for Rescue classes. If you want any real depth, you need to swim out to the concrete anchorages or beyond (a healthy surface swim). The anchorages are in about 25 feet. Conditions are about the same year round.
McAbee Beach on 2/13/2005
McAbee offers a variety of reef, Kelp Forest, and Sandy bottom types. Everything from Hermit Crabs to Kelp Bass to giant Jelly Fish. Rubber Lip Surf Perch, Black Eye Gobies and Sail Fin Sculpins are also common here. Lots of lush kelp and some old cannery pipes provide a rich habitat for a wide variety of fish and invertebrates. This is one of my favorite dive sites.
Butterfly House on 4/18/2005
This is a great place to dive on a good day, and, outright dangerous on a bad day. Conditions can change rapidly between entry and exit, so, if you notice increasing surge or changes in current/surge/visibility while down, it might be worth surfacing and evaluating an exit. Access to the site is difficult, involving climbing down a rocky cliff face, but there is ample safe space for setting up your gear on some mostly flat rocks before climbing the rest of the way down to the entry. The climb down from the staging area to the entry is not difficult. Take your time, and make multiple trips to the staging site rather than trying to carry too much. Keep one hand free for steadying at all times. Conditions in the water are good visibility, some very nice kelp forests and a couple of good reefs as well as some good sand channels. Multiple forms of inner bay and outer bay life are within easy kicking range, and, you can kick out to significant depth if you are so inclined. Average depth very near the entry is 40-60 feet, getting deeper as you kick out further. There is a long rock-reef along the left of the entry. Avoid this while at the surface, and do not surface close to it. It is a very hazardous area with frequent rogue waves. I recommend avoiding it under water as well, although on very calm days, it is a great reef to explore near the bottom at calm high tide.
Crystal River on 4/18/2005
Crystal River and Crystal Springs are a vast area incorporating many dive sites, but, all have similar properties. The particular sites in this review are Banana Island (Manatee Preserve) and Twin Sisters. Banan Island is a fantastic site for manatee encounters. There are many manatees present and they are very friendly and accommodating to people. Indeed, many of them are even social, approaching groups of people and tumbling themselves to get their bellies scratched. They are incredibly gentle and very docile. Although strange in appearance, they have an amazing friendly and "so-ugly-it's-cute" quality that is hard to explain. There are also some caverns and swim-throughs and a wide variety of mullets, catfish, tarpon and other wildlife. I entered the site via boat, so I can't evaluate the shore entries, but a number of possible shore entries were visible from the site, including some docks with ladders that appeared to be public access. (Giant stride entry off the dock, ladder for exit)
Coral Street Beach on 2/17/2011
Feb 17, 2011, 12:00 AM
Coral Street is probably my favorite cold water site of all time. It offers all the best of California diving. Multiple kelp forests, great rocks, pinnacles, and reefs, and lots of plant life. On bad days, interesting animals can be scarce. On good days, it looks like an animated fish identification poster. Seals will often join your dive and are generally friendly and playful. Otter sightings are common. Getting to the site is a beautiful drive along the coast until hounding to the beach. The road is parallel to the beach and you park literally a few feet from the water on a slightly elevated (about 3 feet) road on the inland edge of the beach. The beach from road to water is usually between 15 and 30 feet wide and not at all steep. Getting down from the road to the beach is extremely easy if unencumbered and not difficult even in full gear. Navigation is more important here than is initially apparent and it is best to make your first few trips here with someone familiar with the site. Going out, you're descending down one of a network of box canyons that widen and join as you get farther from shore. Coming back, if you pick the wrong canyon (a wrong turn at any of several forks), you can quickly find yourself in shallow surf headed into the rocks… Not a good place to be if the ocean picks up or you catch the odd tall wave. If you find yourself surrounded by rapidly rising terrain, resist the temptation to 'swim over it' and instead, reverse course to a place with more room and then surface to re-evaluate your location and your options to return to shore. The site can be a fantastic place for a night dive, but requires some greater than usual preparation. Make sure you have a way to identify your return path. Consider diving with a reel and using a line as a return guide. Having at least one qualified person as shore support is also a must in my opinion. The site can be fantastic for beginners and I have even brought open water classes here for dives 3 and 4. However, for independent diving, I would rate it intermediate. Night diving here is definitely only for experienced teams of advanced divers with good navigation skills.