Catalina Island: A Day at the Dive Park

 

A month back home and clearly I needed some air–so I caught the Catalina Express ferry out of San Pedro first thing Saturday morning (hit up Costco for a sweet deal on tickets) for a weekend of scuba, sunshine and sandy beach naps.


Casino Point is my go-to for diving in Avalon, especially when I’m with novice divers. On top of an easy staircase entry, the dive park is a resplendent preserve teeming with underwater life, fun plaques, a few small wrecks and a dilapidated sunken pier that usually has some fun critters hanging around.

It also has easy (and not too pricey) access to tank fills, courtesy of Catalina Divers Supply‘s small outpost right at the casino.

The day was hot and the water was so nice I skipped the hood and gloves for all three of our dives. Bottom time was usually about 35 minutes and we maxed out at 80 feet while visiting the Kissimet sunken sailboat near the outer buoy. Water temp. was 77 F and though there was some surge on the surface and a little current toward the end of the day, visibility was an impressive 30-40 ft. The great conditions brought out scores of dive certification classes and snorkelers, so the park had almost as many people as it did fish!

We finished the day with some cold drinks at Luau Larry’s before a shady nap in the sand, waves rolling up the shore and palm trees swaying in the breeze. . .

Garibaldi eyeing me at the pier

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Perch and a bait ball

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The state fish!

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Casino Point, appropriately named.

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Our first glimpse of the resident Giant Black Sea Bass, cruising at 80 ft. next to Kissimet

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KELP

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This is why I love California diving

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Check out the current!

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My dive buddy + the casino

THIS GUY, making an appearance on dive #3 at 67 ft.

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FRENZY at the dive park.

-The Wandering Alligator

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