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Posted by Jusfer on December 13, 1999 at 23:07:15:

In Reply to: Monterey vs. San Diego? (Advice Needed) posted by DiveAtlas on December 13, 1999 at 22:34:46:

You're going to have a marvellous trip and wonderful, everlasting memories to take with you.

OK, here's my view. Background: diving the L.A./Orange County coasts and Channel Islands since 2 1/2 years.

Two visits to Monterey, of which one was a two day dive trip.
Three trips to San Diego, of which two were beach dives an one was a trip to Wreck Alley.

From that limited experience, I'd chose Monterey and not even care to drive down to San Diego (except for the sunnier and warmer climate, hopefully).
December (and winter) is about the best time of the year for visibility. In Monterey, I'd book the Cypress Point and find out their schedule during the time you'll visit. You can find them on the dive boat page of this BBS. Phil Sammet will go out of his way to find the very best dive spots of that day's sea conditions, and he's giving quite an entertaining show too.
When I dived whith them, he was biting his fingers to make sure I would come up from the dive and say that it was better than my best ever so far. And he succeeded! When you see him, please send him my regards (from Arno).

Then, I'd also reserve a day at the Pt. Lobos State Reserve.
Their best dive site is Bluefish cove which is really too far for a swim and can best be accessed by zodiac or kayak. If you have one, bring it, it is worth it just for that dive! Otherwise, dive Whaler's cove, but ask other divers there for the best spots.

Once in Monterey, be sure to pay a visit to the Bay Aquarium, if you haven't been there yet. And if you have, go again, they have a new exhibit "The Deep" with specimen found in their canyon, a mile deep. Very interesting.
Besides, the Monterey peninsula is very pretty and worth a day of topside travelling.

If you still want to move south, I'd suggest to stay near L.A. and book a day's dive to one of the channel islands. Some good boats are the Great Escape (San Pedro), the Peace and the Spectre (Ventura), the Truth Aquatics fleet (Sta. Barbara--another jewel by itself).

San Diego boasts the Coronado Islands (northern Baja) and Wreck Alley which will definitely be worth a visit after spring when the 266 foot Canadian destroyer escort, the Yukon, will be sunk to make an artificial reef.

Sea lions--hard to guarantee, but chances are close to 99% that you'll see them. I only know one site where I'd guarantee them, but that's a beach dive from Laguna Beach, Dead man's reef, right next to--who would have guessed--Seal Rock.

I'm sure other divers can give you other sea lion spots.

HTH for now, and come back with more questions.


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