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Diving with sea lions at Monterey

Discussion in 'NorCal' started by Luxedream, Sep 26, 2019.

  1. Luxedream

    Luxedream Garibaldi

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Singapore
    Hi all, my little boy (JAOW, 68 dives) and I will be visiting Monterey 26-27 Oct. Our main objective is to dive with the sea lions. Which dive site and dive centre do you recommend? Is it worthwhile to do a night dive? Both shore and boat dives are ok. We would prefer to have a guide. We have full equipment except 7mm wetsuit, weights and tanks. Thank you.
    Chavodel8en and Dzydvl33 like this.
  2. Brette

    Brette Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Tracy Ca
    At the coast guard pier at San Carlos beach there is a good size group of sea lions most days. It’s a common site for divers. If you swim out along the wall to where they hang out you have a high chance of an encounter. Mainly juveniles that are very curious. Most times they will swim right up to you. They offer guides at Breakwater Scuba that is just across the street from the site and offer rentals as well.
    Luxedream and Dzydvl33 like this.
  3. Dzydvl33

    Dzydvl33 Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Fresno, CA.
    I second what Brette said.
    San Carlos, AKA Breakwater, is a great site to see sea lions. Also, because you dive along the wall it's very very easy to navigate.
    As far as equipment and guides, again, Breakwater Scuba - Home Page very friendly, good prices, AND With it being walking distance from the dive site, you can save a little cash by renting one tank and refilling it during your SI if you want to do multiple dives. There are some really nice dives you can do from that beach. Here is a link to an overview of the site with a map. I printed the map and have used it, very nice. San Carlos Beach - Spanglers' Scuba
    Have fun and enjoy!!!

    P.S.: I just remembered you asked is it worth doing a night dive. YES!!!
    oh and if you hang around here for a little bit there will probably be some members that would be willing to show you around.
    Luxedream likes this.
  4. Chavodel8en

    Chavodel8en Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Oakland, CA
    Third what they say. There is often a big group of them further along the pier & Breakwater. If you tend to use alot of gas, you may want to extend your surface swim so that you will be further out, and will have more time underwater w/ the barking rascals.

    I try to drop around the 8 (numbers painted on the wall) and swim all the way out along the Breakwater.
    Luxedream likes this.
  5. Luxedream

    Luxedream Garibaldi

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Singapore
    Thank you everyone for the precious information. We are definitely looking forward to the dives. Still considering whether or not to do the night dives though...
    Are the sea lions usually more active/playful during the day or at night?
    Thank you.
  6. Ben_ca

    Ben_ca Barangay Pasaway

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: SF Bay Area
    Just some notes:
    The restrooms have hot showers in side but you will need quarters (.25 cent coins) to operate them. By the time you end your night dive the restrooms will be closed but the outdoor showers behind the restroom will still work. It will be worth it to get a fresh water rinse. Parking enforcement is pretty strict so do not forget to buy a parking pass. Just buy a day pass and save the headache worrying about it.
    Luxedream likes this.
  7. Larryjd1

    Larryjd1 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: In my crease or underwater in Northern California
    I did my night dive there for my AOW course. During the dive I picked up a "buddy" who would nudge me in the direction he preferred I shone my light..presumably so he could hunt easier. One of the most memorable dives I ever had.

    At the same time, realize that there are times where they may be protecting pups, etc. I have GoPro video from a day dive of one blowing bubbles in front of me that I looked up and discovered is considered a warning signal.

    Have fun!
  8. Ouvea

    Ouvea Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: CA, USA
    You can rent the needed equipment and hire a guide from any of the dive shops in Monterey. Doing two dives with a 7mm wetsuit is pretty tough, especially in the colder months where temperatures drop topside. Make sure to bring something to keep you warm topside. A heavy jacket/coat and some warm fluids help tremendously. The best place to visit the sea-lions underwater is near the end of the jetty at San Carlos Beach, also called "The Breakwater."

    Hopefully, you get to see the harbor seals as well. They're chubbier, cuter and more huggable. The latter is quite questionable. I don't recall the sea-lions being active at night, although it's been a long time, since I have done a night dive there.
    Luxedream likes this.
  9. Luxedream

    Luxedream Garibaldi

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Singapore
    Your buddy sounds really cool! :)
  10. Nutterbutter

    Nutterbutter Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Alameda CA
    A few thoughts: If you haven't dove cold water, your first dive might be goofy trying to get your trim and weighting correct. Suggest it isn't a night dive.

    Doing two dives in Monterey with a wetsuit is doable, (I dive wet), but you may really need to think about how to keep the boy warm and re-warmed between dives.

    My general experience is sea lions are interesting but mean, territorial creatures. Seals are curious and playful. Some seals will follow you a whole dive and even do funny thing where they grab your fins. Seals can be closer to playful stray dogs, and will sometimes come stare you right in the face.

    Seeing a big male sea lion on the surface barking at you is memorable but scary.

    I'd rather have a child see a playful seal.

    I recently had playful seals at McAbee (next to El Torito restaurant) and at Lovers point.
    Chavodel8en and Ouvea like this.

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