Summer diving in Monterey Bay?

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Blastermags

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Hello!

My husband and I are extremely new divers (just got certified in March in Maui and have only done 3 dives after certification on that same trip. so we haven't been in several months) We have an opportunity to spend time in Monterey Bay Aug 19-23, and were wondering if it was a good place for newbies to dive in the summer? is it better to be more experienced before diving there?

I appreciate anyone advice or experience in the matter.

Thank you!
 

Suresh V

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Hello Blastermags… congrats on your certification!! i was in maui last month as well. for a beginner i suggest san carlos beach. lots of divers around and fairly safe.

the earlier u go the beach earleir as it fills up quick .

remember the water is much colder here tha hawaii so be prepared. wear a 7mm wetsuit or better
visibility can be bad so have a plan and carry a compass . it’s not like hawaii … u may lose your sense of direction
 

fisheater

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PLEASE hire a private guide / instructor. Monterey is a great place to dive, but it's VERY different from Maui. You'll have a lot more lead and a lot more neoprene, which means that your buoyancy will change a lot as you descend and ascend. You'll be wearing thick gloves, so operating your gear will feel awkward at first. Plus, you'll have to rely upon navigation skills mores, as you can't all that far away.

That said, I LOVE diving in Monterey and, with the proper training, supervision and attitude, you like will too. Plus, the experience will make you a better diver, regardless of where you dive.

Most NorCal divers learn at The Breakwater in Monterey and it's still a great place to dive with lots to see. There are two dive shops nearby (Monterey Scuba and Cannery Row Aquatics) and two more just a short ways away (Aquarius Dive Shop and Bamboo Reef). I suggest you call them and tell about your experience and desires and see which one can best accommodate you.)
 

runsongas

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parking is the main problem for the breakwater on weekends, you have to plan to arrive fairly early due to how many classes fill up the lot on weekends. since you will be down for a few days, would be easiest to do your first local dive at breakwater on a weekday, avoid the crowds and get better attention from the DM. aquarius is over by the highway, bamboo reef is closer to the aquarium, and the old breakwater scuba/cannery row aquatics/whatever it is renamed now is right by backscatter off the west side of san carlos beach within walking distance. mcabee is another option nearby that has some decent kelp.

carmel has the better diving if conditions work out and your first couple dives go well. north monastery/butterfly house are especially nice but would need calm conditions. pt lobos used to be a great option if you can get down during the week, but they restricted commercial guides so you would have to get the guide to do it on the DL or find someone experienced and local that could take you out.
 

Blastermags

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Thank you all so much! This is very helpful, we are certainly planning on going with a guide/group from one of the local shops. We have to rent all our equipment. I think the kelp forests look so incredible and really want to dive in them and overcome some fear of the pacific along the California coast. We did kayaking int he bay once and saw so many sea otters. it was incredible, even above the water!
 

Chavodel8en

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One note, the Breakwater/San Carlos Beach may not have expansive kelp forests, but it is a great place to dive and an excellent first California dive - lots of fish & sea lions. McAbee Beach may have more kelp and is also an easy site. As noted, sites in Carmel need calmer conditions. As someone mentioned, talk to the guide and they can take to a good site. And hopefully this will start you on your future full of California diving.

And another note, the water temperature doesn't really change much year round, so any season is good for diving.
 

Blastermags

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Thank you for the recos! We definitely just plan on going where the instructors recommend and take us. I am not a danger seeker and mostly just love the meditative nature of breathing under water and seeing sealife. Im excited about living close to such a world renowned and hope to make it a more regular thing in the future!
 

Suresh V

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great keep us updated on ur dive experience...would love to find out how it went!
 
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