Christmas Tree Cove (long, but informative)

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Posted by Max Bottomtime on July 21, 2000 at 12:05:33:

In Reply to: Has any one done any diving at the little bay of Paseo del Mar and posted by Susan on July 21, 2000 at 10:38:34:

That's my favotite dive site on the peninsula, Christmas Tree Cove. Known as Patterson's cove until the late 60's,it is named after a pine tree that grows on the cliff at the east side of the cove. One of the most difficult climbs in P.V., the trail is deceptively steep in places and the bottom 1/3 is what my wife refers to as Moon dust.(She is 5'3" and carried three tanks up the trail at once!) From the bottom of the trail, swim to the right for shallow rocks with lots of life. Excellent for snorkelling. Head directly out from the trail to the end of the cove for some diving that rivals anything on the front side of Catalina. The wash rocks at the east side of the cove lead to a reef that breaks the surface at low tide. Surge will wash you back and forth at the top, but colorful sea stars and healthy palm kelp will delight you as you descend this reef to about 35'. Follow this reef system out to sea and it eventually ends at sand at 80'.
There are small walls, overhangs and more life here than most places along the peninsula. Leopard sharks, Batrays and the usual reef critters are common here. Deep upwelling from the nearby Redondo Canyon sweeps cold, clear water into the area. Water temps will usually be at least five degrees colder at Christmas Tree Cove than anywhere else, but increased visibility and varied life makes this an excellent site.
My wife and I saw eight Blue Sharks in the middle of the cove on our fourth dive after our OW certification. They swam in a circle for 45 minutes until we turned to swim towards shore. When they spotted us, they disappeared quite fast. We returned the next day and saw another, but none since.

My ratings on a 1-10 scale;
Accessability: 4
Animal life: 8
Photography: 10
Hunting: 2
Visability: averages 15-30, can be over 60'.
Overall rating: 8 1/2
Avoid after heavy rainfall. A few years ago a large portion of the cliff gave way and continues to pour dirt into the cove during high tides.

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