diving San Nicolas Island

Outer Bamnks diving on the Great Escape Southern California Live-Aboard Dive Boat

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Posted by Chris on March 14, 2008 at 21:15:59:

In Reply to: Where to Scuba ,Where to stay? posted by Yoko Whittington on March 14, 2008 at 11:45:03:

San Nicolas is probably the most advanced skill island to dive in Southern California. It is no place for a beginner.

San Nicolas Island is a Navy base. The only way to get onto the island is to have business there. There are daily puddle jumper flights from Point Mugu NAS for workers and Navy personal.

There is actually a very nice "motel" there for guests. I stayed there once about 8 years ago when I did some work on the island.

No diving is allowed by personal from the island unless it is approved by the base commander and supervised by a licensed and insured divemaster. The compressor on the island is only for use by the Navy Seals. Anyone else on the island must have filled tanks sent to the island by supply barge. Movment on the island is also restricted to a small area unless you have specific business.

San Nick is probably the most “advanced skills” island of the eight channel islands. The wind is almost always a steady 26 knots. The water is very cold. The visibility is usually in the 10-15 foot range (but gets much greater at times). The water is usually in the very low 50’s. Most of the areas usually also have quite a bit of surge.

Even with those harsh conditions it is one of my favorite islands to dive (along with San Miguel and San Clemente). I like it because of the lush and unusual sea life I encounter there; big fish, multiple sharks, and invertebrates I see nowhere else. If you have the skills and really want to dive San Nic you need to get on a dive trip that goes there. The Sea Divers have a trip there and to Begg Rock this July.

. . . . Chris

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