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Trip Report: Monterey & Carmel by the Sea, March 2019

Discussion in 'NorCal' started by Ironborn, Mar 28, 2019.

  1. Ironborn

    Ironborn Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: New York, New York
    304
    188
    43
    Thank you for the positive feedback.

    The Aquarius guide that takes people to Big Sur dives there for jade.
     
  2. Ironborn

    Ironborn Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: New York, New York
    304
    188
    43
    Thank you for the positive feedback.

    What factors led you to suggest going to the Channel Islands in summer or fall? Visibility? Calmer seas? Water temperature? Other conditions?
     
  3. runsongas

    runsongas Great White

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: California - Bay Area
    3,066
    1,099
    113
    fall is usually fairly warm still, vis starts to get better, and more reliable weather
     
  4. drrich2

    drrich2 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Southwestern Kentucky
    7,669
    4,731
    113
    Enjoyed your report; fine job! Glad to see California get more attention as a tourist destination; it's worth flying to to dive. Interesting your decision tree. Like me when I went, you wanted to try a different environment (e.g.: cold, kelp/plant structure rather than corals) with different wildlife (including marine mammals - I'm jealous about the sea otter!) in a different ocean.

    But I chose south later in the year, when/where it's warmer, and also cold-tolerant got by with 5-mm wetsuit & gloves, 7-mm hood & boots, and chose the live-aboard route (housing, food, transportation, lots of diving all rolled into one, and boat diving's easier) and the Channel Islands were billed to be amongst the best. Chose Southern Channel Islands for warmer water. I love shore diving for the dive freedom it offers - any time, any site, solo okay. But I can't spend the time in California it'd take to get proficient enough for solo shore diving there, so I figured it'd be a more work and less diving.

    You headed north (colder), earlier in the year (I'm guessing colder), did shore diving (more work, fewer dives, and probably not particularly cheap since guided though you got valuable service)...a different approach. Glad it worked well; planning my trip was tough - California offers a lot of options.

    You mentioned 100-cf tanks. When I went, 95-cf seemed to be the biggest commonly available. Given the higher gas consumption in some cold water divers, and the use of dry suits that require gas, I got a question...

    Why aren't 120-cf steels are more common rental option in California? I found them at North Carolina (Olympus Dive Center) and Jupiter, FL (Jupiter Dive Center). Seems like California lends itself to big tanks.
     
  5. Ironborn

    Ironborn Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: New York, New York
    304
    188
    43
    Well, from my limited experience in Monterey, I found that the high-pressure steel 100s were more than adequate. Most of the sites are quite shallow, so that lowered gas consumption. I often exited the water with 1000psi or so, and my guide usually had 500-700psi left because of his dry suit. Keep in mind that we usually did relatively long dives of 65-70 minutes, and sometimes as long as 75-80. I got the impression that most Monterey dives are shorter (50ish minutes?), and that many divers there end their dives around that point because of cold, rather than gas consumption, so they would not necessarily need that much additional gas. The steel 100s could
    be quite cumbersome for shore entries and exits, so I imagine that the steel 120s would be even more cumbersome.
     
    drrich2 likes this.
  6. Eric Sedletzky

    Eric Sedletzky Great White

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Santa Rosa, CA
    3,542
    3,076
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    Probably because California isn’t really considered a “tourist dive destination” per se, and because generally rental tanks need to be cheap for shops to stock, and most times rental tanks are used for OW classes or newbies, 120’s don’t really fit into that scheme. I’ve seen a couple LP 95’s at my shop they keep around as rentals for the air hogs, but steel 120’s are too advanced and too expensive for a rental fleet in a location that is mostly dived by locals who will generally own those tanks.
     
    Trailboss123 and drrich2 like this.
  7. Trailboss123

    Trailboss123 Divemaster ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Tacoma, WA & Channel Islands, CA- USA
    1,882
    1,906
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    Yes- the water is warmest between July and October. Usually hits a peak in early October. Visibility is also at its best. Further south you go, the warmer the water gets. Not uncommon to reach high 60's to low 70's that time of year.
     

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