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Posted by Mojo Mike on November 02, 2003 at 15:33:52:

In Reply to: 1st time in california, info please posted by Gary on November 02, 2003 at 07:04:04:

I live in the next river canyon south of Yosemite. I also dive Monterey. My sister lives there and is also a diver.

Yosemite Valley is normally open year round if weather permits, tire chains may be required. This time of year you won't have to fight the crowds of people. The valley is where all the big waterfalls are. There is not much water now. We should get some rain/snow by December. So there should be some descent sized waterfalls. By far the best time to see the waterfalls is during spring runoff (May-June)of the snow pack. This is the peak and the place can get really crowded. All the way through the summer. Imagine New York city in the forest. The road that goes to the rest of the park will be closed for winter. Which is okay. Two day visit and you will want to see the best and that is the valley. Don't diregard warning signs about bears. They have special steel boxes to store food at each campsite. Use them, bears know what a ice chest is. If they see one in your car. They will rip it open with the greatest of ease. The car that is. The valley is a lower elevation and I have seen them year round. I have even had them in my house before. Eating my dog's food.

I think you will like Yosemite. I have been to many National Parks and Yosemite is still the best in my humble opinion. Which is one of the reasons I live here.

A must visit is the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I really stress going there. I can't imagine a diver going to Monterey and not seeing the aquarium. It is great!!! It also has a great website. There is so much diving available in the Monterey/Pacific Grove/Carmel area. There are several dive boats in the area. I normally shore dive. So I will limit my advice to there.

By far my favorite shore dive site is Point Lobos. You have to have a buddy to dive there and reservations are needed, but easy to get.

There are numerous Monterey sites to dive. I would pick a easier dive for a first. There are numerous protected area's(no hunting in most) and numerous laws about where to dive and where to change clothes, etc, etc etc.) I would check with one of several dive shops in the area. Most people recommend the breakwater for a first Monterey dive. A very protected site, but I prefer to recommend Lover's Point (again check local laws) a better dive site in my book.

Last, but not lest is the Monterey area gets hit by winter storms and most sites should be avoided when the weather is bad. The calm between the storms produces some really great diving. I have numerous websites bookmarks for the area. If you are interested let me know and I will send you a list.
Good Luck and hope your visit is a pleasant one.

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