Will The Kelp Return?

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AlmightyApkallu

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Just wanted to ask whomever may know, possibly the veteran California divers... Will the kelp ever return to normal? I became a certified scuba diver here in Phoenix, meaning SoCal is a short distance away. I was really excited to dive all the beautiful kelp forests but I hear now that they pretty much no longer exist and furthermore that the conditions have been absolute crap for awhile.

Will things get better? Or is it something that may never return? I hope I didn't miss the opportunity to dive the beautiful kelp forests... :(
 

diversteve

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Check with Lois Ann they're diving in the Point Loma Kelp beds (San Diego) Friday, Sat, Sun. now - adding Mon, Tues in summer. So they must be seeing something. Or Humboldt - Waterhorse Charters

Santa Barbara Island could be good also even if Catalina has another bad year.

Possibly the Northern Channel Islands also - check what the Ventura/Santa Barbara based boats are seeing currently - there used to be good Kelp at Anacapa - Sea Lions also. www.californiadiveboats.com
 
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drbill

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This is highly dependent on overall water temperatures in the region, and specific characteristics of each site. If El Niño is followed by a cool La Niña, it is possible temperatures will remain low enough for giant kelp to be physiologically effective and grow. For example, in the Casino Point Dive Park here on Catalina, the area closest to the harbor mouth actually has some thick kelp (although it has not formed canopy). This is most likely due to the pulses of cooler water that are drawn up from the deeper waters off the harbor mouth when winds blow from the SE.

I've heard reports that the once thick kelp beds off Pt. Loma in San Diego are in pretty sad shape. The cooler northern Channel Islands do appear to have some kelp though.
 
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AlmightyApkallu

AlmightyApkallu

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Thanks for the replies. So it sounds like there still is some kelp around, just not a lot of it. I do hope it grows back and things return to their splendor. I was hoping to hit up the dive park at Catalina some point soon so that might be an option for me. Are the warmer waters noticable? Are more people ditching the dry suits for wet suits or not quite?
 

covediver

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Been diving Socal for 30 years, been through 3 or 4 el nino cycles, kelp comes back, but it seems a little less and takes a little longer each time. Hoping for recovery, they are pretty magnificent.
 
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AlmightyApkallu

AlmightyApkallu

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That's a long time diving the kelp. From your experience how long does it take to grow back? I know it's kind of a shot in the dark but when do you expect to see it and better conditions again? And have you ever seen it as bad as it is now?
 

DeltaBruin

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You can dive wet here no problem. On most boats I've been on here I would say it's probably half and half wetsuit and drysuit divers. I normally dive a 7mm wetsuit and have only been cold once during a surface interval last winter. No issues at all otherwise. Of course a 7mm is a real pain to get on and off...
 

sbtag

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Wow. That is so sad.

Catalina used to be a great diving and snorkelling spot.

But it's also been ranked amongst the filthiest beaches in California for years so I'm not entirely surprised.
 

StefinSB

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The giant kelp at our go-to beach diving spot in Santa Barbara is basically gone. Sargassum is taking over.
 

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