Posted by Eric Frasco on December 04, 2000 at 13:19:55:
In Reply to: Hot diving spots of the Channel islands posted by Mike on November 22, 2000 at 13:07:38:
Lots of good sites on Anacapa:
Cathedral Cove is great, but a no-take (anything!) area. The wreck of the Winfield Scott is an OK site, but virtually unrecognizable as a wreck with the exception of a few remaining bits and pieces. It also is a no-take zone, especially since it is over 100 years old and therefore falls under the "California Historic Shipwrecks Preservation Act".
Near the west end is Goldfish Bowl, a favorite site for open water class training. It has a sandy bottom at around 30 - 40 feet, and a slope of rubble and boulders provide lots of interesting things to see all the way up to the surface.
The rock hump at the west end is known as "Rat Rock", and it can be beautiful there but currents can be tricky and if you don't watch your navigation, you can come up on the wrong side of the rock.
Just around the west end is a nice little cove to dive, but you must be careful once you get to the backside of Anacapa as it drops off to 100 feet quickly. The backside at the west end has little bits of purple coral, it can be very beautiful.
Down at the east end is Arch Rock. It can get deep around there also, but I've had many pretty dives there as well. But surge and current are a concern.
I'd stay at Anacapa instead of running over to the east end of Santa Cruz. I dived at Yellowbanks recently and unless you are right up against the island, there is lots of sand with a few ridges of rock protruding, and very little else to see. Also, I've dived at Scorpion's Anchorage. It is a nice place to anchor up, but I never noticed anything memorable at the site. Going westward from there along the frontside, you start getting deeper water.
If you are departing from Santa Barbara, there are some nice places on the west end of Santa Cruz. But the region between Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa is nicknamed the "potato patch" as it can get pretty bumpy in that region. Swells coming from the NW mix with the swells coming through the channel between the two islands and combine together to form some big swells.
If you are in your own boat, be wary of weather as it can get nasty fairly quickly out there. Off shore winds can make the return cruise quite an ordeal. And trying to get back to harbor after dark or in the fog can be a really unique experience as well, so plan accordingly!
It is about 10 miles from Ventura to Anacapa, and it is about 22 miles from Santa Cruz to Santa Barbara. Both are great places to launch your boat.
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