El Porto

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Posted by Chris on August 10, 2003 at 03:27:13:

In Reply to: THe Canyon has the distinction, IMHO, of being... posted by ChrisM on August 09, 2003 at 20:25:29:

I agree about Redondo. I only dive it at night.

The reason El Porto is known as a surf spot is that the waves that come through the Santa Barbara Channel between San Miguel Island and Point Conception hit the beach at that spot. The same wave action also brings a great deal of nutrients. Thus for example the sand dollar beds there are denser than anywhere else I have ever seen.
If you want to drop on top of the beds swim out until you are in line with the Manhattan Beach Pier and the Old Oil Pier Jetty.
The shallow sand area from just South of the jetty, and in front of the power plant is thick with Pismo clams. On ca calm day you can see the necks, plunge your hand into the sand and dig them out.
The deepest I have ever been diving in El Porto was 40 feet. The sand drops down to 12 to 15 feet rather quickly in the surf zone, and then just drops with a steady, but very gentle slope as you move out.
Because of the boat traffic from Redondo and Marina Del Rey, and on weekends especially, plan your dive so you can return to the sand dollar beds or shallower before you surface. Surfacing in the surf zone can have itís own hazards because of the surfers, and also needs to be considered. I often will come past where most surfers have already turned to surface.
You should try it on a calm day; I think you will be surprised at the amount of life that is to be found there.

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