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  Scuba Diving In Monterey

08/31/03

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The charm and beauty of the Monterey Peninsula stretches far beyond the water's edge. The sea that surrounds the peninsula is charged with life. There are more than 60 dive sites, along with shipwrecks and scores of unspoiled pinnacles that attract an estimated 65,000 divers a year. Harbor seals, sea lions and otters are commonly seen playing in one of the most bio diverse marine environments in the world. Among the several major habitats represented are sandy sea floors, kelp beds, wharf pilings' shale beds and rocky reefs. The rich and diverse underwater environment in a small geographic area makes Monterey an incredible place to dive.

Most of the diving is easily accessible from shore so beach diving is very popular. Dive sites are clearly marked and entry is generally easy. A variety of dive boats is available and they frequent the less accessible sites. Boat diving is required to reach the offshore pinnacles. You 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 may be chilly compared to tropical climates hut the cooler temperatures offer a unique aquatic environment that warm water divers cannot normally experience.

 The majority of dive sites are either in Monterey Bay or Carmel Bay. The entire coastal region is part of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, which covers about 4,000) nautical square miles and 300 miles of coastline. The sanctuary was formed in 1992 to help protect and preserve the natural resources.

In the Monterey Bay, dive sites are normally protected from the prevailing northwest swells. Beneath the surface lies a huge canyon that is 13 miles wide and I mile deep. The geography of the submerged canyon, combined with weather conditions. help create a wide variety of habitats. Warm and cold waters mixed by wind and ocean currents provide nourishment to support these habitats. A few of the popular dives within this bay include the Breakwater, which is often used for training and night diving because the ocean is generally calm and there is a concrete stair entry. Sea lions and tube anemones are found on the sandy sea floor and octopus, monkey face eels and wolf eels can be seen among the rocks. Playful sea lions and sea otters also frequent the area.

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This site was last updated 08/31/03