Bodega Breakwall

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Posted by Eric S on September 26, 2006 at 20:47:18:

Bodega Breakwall

It was Sunday morning and I suddenly got a whim to go diving. I scraped together some gear in about 5 minutes and was gone by 9:30.
I flew out to Bodega Bay and made a beeline for Campbell Cove and to the breakwall.
I had my gear on in less than 10 minutes and was trudging through the waist high water in Campbell Cove to get out to the jetty. Once I reached the breakwall I hopped over the jetty to the outside, re finned up and belly flopped in when a swell came up. The water wasnít that big but it seemed like it had been previously because there was lots of crap in the water and it seemed soupy. I know this area is not known for itís vis or even as a legitimate dive spot for that matter but itís close to Santa Rosa and nobody knows about it so that makes for a good secret spot.
I had my gun with me (thatís a silly statement, I always have my gun with me) and I was looking to shoot a nice ling. This was the second time for me here and I shot a nice one last time.
I poked around and didnít see much of anything till I got about ĺ way out, then I saw a ling. He wasnít very big though so I let him go. That was the one and only ling I saw the whole dive.
What I began seeing that had somehow eluded me the last time here, was how many big abs I was seeing! I saw several in the 9 range. The place wasnít paved with abs like Iíve seen further up north but still a person could pull a limit of nice ones with very little effort. The reason I suspect is that again, no one dives this place.

I made it out to the end and the jetty took an abrupt left turn so I new that I was on my way back in on the inside this time. There were some very interesting rocky structures all along this jetty. Some of the boulders they used are as big as trucks. In some cases they form caves big enough to swim through. At the end of the jetty the surge vanished and I noticed a marine life change, there where a lot more big stars and very large anemones. I brought a big yellow game bag with me hoping to find some scallops but I didnít see one. I figured there may be some because the harbor is loaded with them.

What I did see instead was some gigantic red rock crabs, and I mean HUGE. I went on a rock crab hunting frenzy instead. First I tried grabbing them and trying to wrestle them into the bag but that proved very difficult because they would grab onto the metal hoop and not let go. It was fight on! You canít grab one claw and try and undo it because theyíll nail you with the other one and they have some really mean strong claws, and their fast too! These crabs were over 6 inches; the size limit for these crabs is 4 inches.
After getting into a few brawls with these crabs I decided to try swooping down on them with the bag wide open and just scoop them up, kind of like the mouth of some very large predator. This proved to be the ticket. I was getting the jump on them before they even knew what hit Ďem.

I also saw a very large angel shark, at least I think it was an angel shark? The front of it kind of looked like a ray but it had a tail and the body of a shark. It was about 6 feet long. It just laid there as I swam over it. I grabbed a few more crabs and decided to head in.

The jetties are easy to find. If you want to go to the south one then you have to enter into Doran Park and drive all the way to the end. There is a fee to enter the park.
If you want to go to the north one then you continue on through the town of Bodega Bay
And turn at the sign for the marinas. Go past all the marinas and continue on till you get to where the road makes a hard right turn up the hill. Do not go up the hill, instead drive straight into the parking lot marked ďCampbell CoveĒ. There is a good amount of parking and a restroom. The beach always has people on it with lots of dogs and kids. I gear up in the lot and walk the short distance down to the beach.

Depth: 15 feet max.

Terrain: Huge rocks and boulders used to build jetty and going down to a sandy bottom on the outside and a rock studded mud bottom on the inside.

Hunting: Good for abalone, occasional lings, some surf perch, Rock and Dungeness crabs. Halibut out over the sand.

Photography: Maybe on a calm day but not generally recommended.

Other tips: The outside of the breakwall (exposed side) can get very surgy. Avoid getting slammed repeatedly into the rocks. Give yourself some room.
Dive this spot on an incoming tide, that way you can go all the way out to the point on the outside then do a drift dive back in on the inside.

Special hazards: Watch for fishing line and other derelict fishing gear. There are dozens of abandoned crab traps along the jetty wall with the rope still attached.
Carry a knife and shears and pay close attention to entanglement hazards.

The jetty on the left is the Doran Park side and the jetty on the right is the one I dive.

I almost forgot; I would highly recommend against diving under the channel to get from one side to the other. Itís not that deep and any screw up causing you to go to the surface could lead to you having your head taken off by a boat.

Have fun

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