Posted by Karl S. on January 30, 2003 at 12:34:22:
In Reply to: Ho ho ho posted by seahunt on January 29, 2003 at 21:24:56:
I teach scuba in Santa Cruz, and we normally take our divers south to Monterey and Carmel, just like seahunt-Mike said.
Santa Cruz gets a lot of direct wave action, not as much as Half Moon Bay, but even so a lot. Therefore it is a world class surfing site, and that should tell you a little about what it is like to dive there. Dangerous entries & exits, poor low vis underwater, bad surge too.
On any given day, you can dive off the Wharf at Santa Cruz. Park over by Stagnarios fish market & restaurant, and carry your gear down the stairs to the boat launch area. You'll use a giant stride entry, and climb up the metal stairs there to exit. Be careful about your footing so that you dont slip on the ladder. Diving under the wharf is beautiful, on those rare days when the vis is clearer. Vis there is normally zero, but it can be 20 ft on a rare clear day. The scenery there is a lot like the pier at Del Monte beach in Monterey, and Monterey usually has better vis, 10 to 15 ft at least.
On certain rare days, in midsummer, when the Monterey Bay is very calm, flat, and glassy, you can dive the surfing sites over by the lighthouse on Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz, like seahunt-Mike said. Your clue will be the surfers. If it is flat and there are no surfers, that is a good day to scuba dive there.
The scenery underwater at Santa Cruz is a lot like at the end of the Breakwater jetty at San Carlos Beach USCG Wharf in Monterey. We call that The Breakwater. You have to kick out on the surface a few hundred yards first though, and dive near the end of the rocky jetty. That is a beautiful world-class dive with great underwater scenery.
Like seahunt-Mike said, you are better off on 99% of days to drive 40 mins south, to Monterey, and dive there, than to try to dive at Santa Cruz.
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