Re: Need Advise

Scuba Diving on the Great Escape Southern California Live-Aboard Dive Boat

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Posted by Dick Analog on March 07, 2005 at 17:10:55:

In Reply to: Need Advise posted by Christie on March 07, 2005 at 16:12:43:

Of course, the cheapest diving would be from the mainland shore. The downside to shore diving is the highly variable dive conditions; poor visibility and rough surf are more the norm, especially during the winter months. But there are days (at least I've been told) when mainland beach diving is world-class. It may not be worth driving all the way from Phoenix to take your chances with diving from So.Cal beaches. Go to to find info. on one particular guide book that covers So.Cal. beach diving quite well.

Your next cheapest option may be to try shore diving at the Avalon Dive Park on Catalina Island. You'd have to spend $50 to take the express boat out and back for a day trip, but once there, the diving is usually very good. Good visibility, lots & lots of wildlife, and interesting underwater terrain. You can get air fills (and rent tanks, thus avoiding having to lug a tank around) right at the entry/exit point. Try to find links to local sources of diving info. Keep in mind that weekend crowds can be annoying as long lines sometimes form at the entry/exit point; this problem is amplified in the Summer months. It is possible to stay overnight at Avalon, but it is generally expensive. The Hermosa Hotel is one place that does cater to divers and offers $50/$100 per night rates for winter/summer. However, it's just one step above a hostel as far as amenities go. And restaurant food in Avalon is relatively expensive.

Lastly, and not necessarily more expensive, is the charter dive boat option. On any given weekend several dozen boats head out to many, many world-class dive sites in the Channel Islands. And there are weekday trips as well, though most often in the Summer. Rates for a 3-dive day range from $90 to $125, and often include two meals, snacks, and air fills. The way that this option can actually end up saving you money is the fact that many boats allow you to stay on board overnight, the night before your trip; thus you avoid having to pay for a hotel. This arrangement works out particularly well for folks making a 1-day drive from somewhere like Phoenix. The accommodations are usually spartan - just bunks in a small sleeping area below deck (bringing a sleeping bag and your own pillow is recommended), but most harbors are located near plenty of nighttime dining & entertainment options. Check out the link to California dive boat info. on this (BBS) web site:

Hope this is helpful for you.

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