Laguna Beach, CA, United States
Kelp forest Dive
This review by:Scubajohn 07 Mar 2015
Overview: Staying with an old dive buddy of mine now living in California we decided to have a go at diving a kelp forest from shore. This was the first kelp dive for both of us so we didn't know what to expect. The water was cool but we managed with 5m wet suits, gloves and hoods. We swam out and around the kelp bed towards Seal Rock, probably a 20+ minute surface swim which warmed us up nicely. Our plan was to drop to the bottom and swim south through the kelp. Once out the other side, follow the edge of the kelp back to shore, surfacing in 6ft of water after a 30 minute dive.
Fish Life: Obviously with a name like Seal Rock there were lots of seals. Approx 20 sunbathing on the rock and occasionally diving for a swim through the kelp. Lots of Garibaldi and smaller fish in abundance. Being a popular dive site, they were used to divers and were not scared off by a few big rubber lumps. Large Crabs could be found scurrying about the rocks, some very big ones wandering around in the shallow water.
Reef Health: Some soft coral but mainly a kelp dive. The start of our dive was in about 40ft of water and the kelp was easily tall enough reach the surface. There were rocky outcrops rising from between a few feet from the bottom to a few feet from the top which provided gaps in the kelp to navigate.
Highlights: A completely different environment for me and the kelp was amazing. I was very surprised at how much sea life there was to see. Its been a while since I dived in cold water so we settled for one dive and came back the next day for our second.
Dive Centre/Boat Service: This was a shore dive, popular with locals. get there early to get a good parking spot on the road near the path down to the beach. We went at the weekend, arrived at 6.30 am and secured a spot reasonably close. Take Cliff Drive, a turning off Route 1 and find a spot close to the clifftop. Kit up and then walk down to the beach. Basic outdoor rinse shower and toilets.
Current/Vis: No current on either dive but you will need a compass and you should use it. Once in the kelp it is easy to get turned around. A sharp knife and a torch was also part of my kit. Visibility was around 20 to 25 feet maybe a bit more but the kelp blocks a bit of light so a torch is helpful to identify where your buddy is if you get too far apart.
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