Pt. Lobos and Gerstle Cove

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Posted by brianc on August 07, 2001 at 16:15:09:

In Reply to: Point Lobos is an easier entry and walk than Gerstle posted by CalAbDiver on August 07, 2001 at 15:54:59:

These are the two underwater Reserves that are accessable to shore divers. Pt. Lobos is larger and grander. It is a sizable cove and is close to more accessable diving. Pt. Lobos is also much more regulated and requires reservations that fill up for weekends two months in advance. Pt. Lobos has very nice kelp forest diving and very easy access (OK, I know that's relative, but I think its easy.) Gerstle Cove is in Salt Point State Park in Sonoma County. Diving is unregulated there aside from the no-take rule. It is one of the first and most accessable Northern dive sites. Gerstle is a much smaller cove than Whaler's Cove at Pt. Lomos. It is 20 fsw max in the cove, but quickly hits 40-50 just outside and it's easy to find 100 fsw not too far outside and just to the south of the cove's mouth (watch out for the rip and the long shore current!!!). The amount of life per square foot of bottom at Gerstle is greater than at Pt. Lobos. It's difficult to find a place on the bottom that is not covered with life. Big abs everywhere is the norm. There is less life outside the Reserve. The walk down to the rocky "beach" is a steep aerobic workout, but we have our OW students do it, none of that backing the truck down stuff! The entry is across movable shakey rocks and boulders that are covered with slippery algae in the Summer. I took three falls onto the rocks in full gear last year. Getting into the water is a challege that is well worth the effort.

At both sites, the best dive time is Fall through early winter - before the storms. The water is at it's warmest ~55F and the kelp is still healthy, but not as dense as in the summer. This time also has the best viz. Last December the group I dive with went to Gerstle for our annual pre-X-mas party dive. The dive was so beautiful that we all agreed that we did not want to temp the fates and risk the memory of the dive by doing a second dive. We all left to prpare for the party with smiles on our faces!

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