Diving inside SF Bay?

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Does anyone know about diving inside SF Bay? I'm not sure what exactly you'd see there, but I find the convenience appealing. It seems like a good place to get experience. I would plan on entry to the north of the Sloughs--basically where the water is no longer extremely brackish and nasty. I was thinking of somewhere around Palo Alto on the West side or Emeryville on the East. In addition to convenience, it seems like these areas would be free from strong currents and boat traffic. I don't know about bottom conditions, but I would assume that you would at least have a gradual slope.
 

elgoog

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The bay is very shallow for the most part, <15ft or so, the shipping channels get to ~50ft.
Most of the areas close to shore are tidal mud flats and you'll have to go at least 100-200ft away from shore to get anything deeper than 10ft. Not something you want to do, trust me - I misjudged the tides once and got caught in a super low tide. Had to drag my kayak through the mud which is like quicksand and you can easily go down up to your thighs.
My commute takes me across the Dumbarton and San Mateo bridges - at really low tide, you can see the mud at the base of the towers and the water line is only 5-10ft above it. And this is a ways out from the shore. Near Emeryville, a lot of the shoreline is protected marshland so that won't be a good option either.
I live in Berkeley and totally understand the desire to have somewhere closer to dive :/
 

spoolin01

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Those two spots are likely to be featureless shallow mudflats for many hundreds of yards out, or in the case of Palo Alto, all the way across the bay. And visibility will be pretty much zero, even on a good day and tide. I'd expect the only places remotely likely to offer anything would be up around the straits in the mouth of the bay.

I haven't ever given it much thought, or heard of any leads, but I'd think there might be at least something to see up along the SF waterfront, around Angels and Alcatraz Islands, and the beaches lining the mouth of the bay, like China Beach, the base of the GG Bridge, Ft. Baker, Bonita Cove, Kirby Cove, and the like. The stretch between China Beach and the Cliff House has always looked like it might hold diveable terrain, from a boat. Many of those places might only be practical from a boat, and in most all of them, severe currents are going to be present around the sites.

It's an interesting thought, I'd like to hear from anyone who's tried anywhere.
 

Mordax

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I've dove in the bay a few times for various work projects. Unfortunately it's not great diving as visibility is always very poor. You do have to be careful of tidal currents and boat traffic. And as folks have pointed out, a lot of it is very flat and shallow, the area in front of Berkeley and Emeryville (aka The Berkeley Flats) is only about 10 ft deep a mile or more out. It's deep off of SF, 100+, and you might get cleaner water on a incoming tide, but the currents and boat traffic make it not safe. I'd just drive to coast.
 

DocWong

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Yea, I agree, diving in the bay is not so inviting. I have a patient that lives in Moss Beach who dives regularly in Monterey and he said on very calm days he's gone and dived Moss Beach, just south of Pacifica. Not in the bay but closer than Monterey.
 

spoolin01

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Yea, I agree, diving in the bay is not so inviting. I have a patient that lives in Moss Beach who dives regularly in Monterey and he said on very calm days he's gone and dived Moss Beach, just south of Pacifica. Not in the bay but closer than Monterey.
I've dived near there, and a couple of other places along that coast, from a boat, but never had good conditions underwater. Visibility has always been near zero, and there can be some strong currents. It's too bad, because there's lots of good structure in that area, from the shoreline out to 100ft depth or more, and it's been closed to fishing for a few years now, so there ought to be fish life and not so many boats around.

I've never gone looking with shore diving in mind, but there seem to be a couple of access spots that wouldn't be too much distance from parking. Indeed you would have to pick the calmest of days since the shoreline is exposed to surf.
 
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