Reasons for doing a Cali liveaboard (vs. just doing day trips)?

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nippurmagnum

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I am asking this question because I am genuinely interested in the answer: what is the benefit to doing a livaboard in California, vs. just doing day trips?

I am based in the East Coast but make it out to California about once a year. I have done some very nice dives in the Channel Islands on day trips from Ventura, and equally nice dives in San Diego, primarily shore dives. But I never really considered doing a liveaboard in Cali, and Cali liveaboards weren't even on my radar until the Concepcion fire. Which makes me wonder, what is the primary attraction of a Cali liveaboard? Does it reach dive sites that are otherwise unreachable on day trips, and have some significantly different quality to them? Is it the ability to do early morning or night dives? Is it the ability to just pack in a lot of dives and minimize driving?
 

Kryssa

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I might not be the best person to answer because I've only done liveaboard diving in So Cal, but I'll give it a shot.

You absolutely get further sites and more diving. You can do 5 dives in a day if that's what you're there for. You're paying less overall as a bunk and meals are included. The camaraderie you'll feel with the group of people you never met before will be special after 3-5 days. While we didn't know anyone our first Truth Aquatics trips, we now go back with the same group every year (until 2019.) The average diver is more experienced than you'll find on a day trip and I always learn something on these trips.
 

KenGordon

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Liveaboards are less hassle per dive. You spread the cost, dragging kit about the place, rinsing, travel, over several days diving rather than just one. If the setup is good you basically get out of bed and go diving six days in a row, only stopping to eat and sleep. Even compared to a beach holiday style resort in a place like Cozumel this is extremely easy. For more complicated diving with stages, rebreathers and all that the benefits are even bigger.

Having said that, if they are still putting dozens of people in a small communal space in California I’d suggest going somewhere else.
 

Can't Talk ... Diving

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Aside from number of dives, the places you can reach on a multiday trip make many of the one-day dive destinations (frontside Catalina, Anacapa etc.) look pretty tame by comparison.
 

broncobowsher

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Live aboard is nice as you are not hauling all your gear back to a hotel every night and back onto the boat the next morning. You pick up the next day just as if you were doing your second dive of the day and not your second day of diving. There is no "where do you want to eat tonight" as you know where you will be eating at. It is a bit more laid back and relaxed pace.

Most dive boats are not that fast. Catalina island being a 2-hour boat ride. That is 4 hours a day that you would be commuting, plus the time loading and unloading gear. You get a lot more dive potential just waking up on the boat.

One morning during lobster season I got a fresh lobster breakfast. A couple got up super early and did a dawn lobster dive. Came back with breakfast for the boat.

Cost is another benefit. Hotels are getting more expensive. For those traveling from out of state a night in a hotel can be almost as much as the boat. Living on the boat makes for a smaller overall expense. And the food is included as well.

I have always done it as a long weekend. Get there Friday evening, load up, motor out that night or early in the morning. Dive all Saturday. Dive Sunday morning. Eat lunch as we motor back. Haul ass home Sunday night.


As for day trips. You do get a much larger hotel room to spread your gear everywhere.
The accommodations are nicer most of the time. More options for food (which isn't always a good thing, indecision).
I would almost put down more night life, but you will be tired after the first day and will need to be up early the next.
 
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