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9 FAQs About Catalina Diving

Updated: 1 day ago

In the 1966 film The Glass Bottom Boat, Doris Day stars as a part-time mermaid who occasionally helps her father’s boat business. She dazzles audiences by swimming beneath the glass bottom boat, wearing a glittery top and tail in the waters around Catalina Island. While the film is actually more of a spy caper, viewers get a glimpse of the lovely scenery around Avalon, including the Holly Hill House and the Casino. You even see the star mermaid get reeled in by a fisherman right by Lover’s Cove. Are you planning a dive trip to Catalina? Of course, there are not really mermaids around the island, but there are the famous undersea gardens and plenty of colorful fish and sea life to discover. Read on to learn the answers to 9 FAQs about Catalina diving.


1.)    When is a good time of year to go diving at Catalina? The island is loved by visitors all year long. Its mild climate has an average high of 63 F and an average low of 50 F in the winter and a high of about 72 degrees F and a low of about 65 F during the summer. Cooler waters in the mid-50s prevail during the winter, while summer water temps can reach the high 60s. While many divers love summertime getaways, the visibility is generally better when the weather is cooler—from November through April. Divers who visit in January and February tend to get the best days of visibility as well as smaller crowds.


2.)    Can you tell me about some of the cool dive sites around Catalina? A popular spot for divers is the Casino Point Dive park, which is located right at the base of the iconic Catalina Casino building. This special spot allows divers to drop right into the legendary kelp forests, which are typically full of flitting and friendly fish. This park has direct shore access, and it’s great for divers of all levels. Blue Cavern Point is another favorite dive spot; it’s one of the state’s strictest marine preserves, complete with interesting caves and—true to its name—caverns. Farnsworth is an advanced boat dive spot, a couple of miles off the island. There, you’ll be lucky to scope out coral and various pelagic fish. A few storied shipwrecks are also nearby; the island offers options for divers of all levels.

FAQs About Catalina Diving


3.)    What kinds of marine life can I expect to see on my Catalina dives? You can’t miss the brightly colored garibaldi. California’s state marine fish are typically orange, but if you’re lucky enough to see one—juvenile garibaldis shimmer underwater with iridescent blue-violet markings. There are also sheepshead, giant sea bass, and opal eye. If you’re cruising through craggy places around Catalina, be on the lookout for octopus and eels. You might even get to swim with bat rays, leopard sharks, or harbor seals.


4.)    What about the kelp forests that everyone talks about? One diver described his descent into the kelp around Catalina as “ethereal.” Kelp is the world’s largest marine plant, and it grows abundantly in the cool, nutrient-dense island waters. It can grow up to 2 feet in a day, making it a robust habitat for marine life. Kelp forests are a vital part of Catalina’s ecosystem; it’s essential that divers respect the kelp while diving, being careful not to do any damage.


5.)    Because Avalon is a boating town, do we need to worry about boat traffic during our dives? It’s true that Catalina is a popular destination for tourists. Of course, being aware of boat traffic while diving is a great safety measure. Most dive spots are separate from the general flow of boat traffic. As always, be sure to be aware of your surroundings, and stay close to your dive buddy for safety.


6.)    Are there dive shops on Catalina that can help with equipment rental? Of course! Catalina Divers Supply is the longest-running full-service diving facility on the island. They’ve been helping divers for more than 60 years. They offer equipment sales, service, rentals, and air fills. Consider a rental package that includes mask, fins, snorkel, booties, gloves, bcd, regulator, 7mm suit, weights, and tanks.


7.)    How do I get to Catalina Divers Supply? First you have to make it over to Catalina; most visitors take the passenger ferry or the helicopter from towns like Long Beach, Newport Beach, Dana Point, or San Pedro. Once you’ve arrived on the island, head to The Green Pier in downtown Avalon, or make your way to the Casino building. We have staff in both locations that can help set you up with what you need.


8.)    What about boat dives and guided dives? Catalina Divers Supply can take you out on a boat dive. Hop aboard the Scuba Cat for a 2-tank boat dive at one or more Catalina coastline spots. If you’re with friends who don’t dive, they can come as a snorkeler or a ride-along passenger.


9.)    What if I really want photos of my dive experience in Catalina? For scuba divers, PADI regulations do not allow cameras. However, Catalina Divers Supply can hire out team members that can document your adventures under the sea.


Catalina diving is bound to be a memorable adventure. Design your perfect dive trip with Catalina Divers Supply. Give them a call at 310-510-0330, or visit their website to learn more.


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