If you walk down the halls of Amron, you will hear plenty of stories about someone’s recent dive trip to warm waters. This has inspired me to write down a few of my favorite dive spots, right here in San Diego, California! All can be done with a short boat ride.
1 - The Yukon - a 366 foot Canadian Destroyer Escort, lies in 105 feet of water off Mission Beach in the Northern area of Wreck Alley. She lies on her port side with average minimum depth from bow to stern about 75 feet along the starboard side. She was intentionally sunk in July of 2000 by the San Diego Oceans Foundation as part of the artificial reef project. She was prepared for divers and an abundance of entry and exit holes were cut into her to increase accessibility and diver safety. Penetration is readily available for those with the proper training, as well as plenty to see on the exterior by less experienced divers including forward and aft gun turrets. The Yukon has something to offer for almost every diver from the novice to the "Techie".
2 - The Kelp Beds - a must for divers visiting San Diego. With annual temperatures averaging 60 degrees, the kelp is very healthy and supports an enormous amount of plant and fish life. Swimming through a kelp bed feels like flying through a forest among the tall stalks reaching the surface in depths of 20 - 70 feet. The rock reefs where the kelp attaches are filled with interesting life in all their crevices - from many species of nudibranch to families of California spiny lobsters who stay just beyond arms length of the hunters.
3 - The Ruby E - a 165-foot long Coast Guard Cutter, sunk as part of the Artificial Reef Project in July 1989 in 85 feet of water. She sits upright on the bottom and is intact and penetrable. All the hatches have been made larger and most rooms have an exit to the outside. Most of the wreck is covered with growth, such as strawberry anemones and a small kelp bed on top of the wheelhouse.
4 - Eagle Rock - on the west end of Catalina, spectacular sea fans hanging around the entire rock at 40-80ft depth make this one of the best wide-angle dive sites in the area.
5 - La Jolla Cove - There is an abundance of marine life at the Cove, mostly because it is part of the La Jolla Park Ecological Reserve, so no hunting of any kind is permitted. The marine biodiversity is partially sustained by the nutrient-rich water, which is the result of upwelling from the nearby La Jolla Submarine Canyons. A number of harbor seals frequent the area and will occasionally join you on your dive. Sometimes the seals will come in close to take a peek at you, other times they just zoom by you, seemingly to prove who the better swimmer is.
So now that I have shared some of my favorite dive spots, why don’t you share a couple of yours?