9 Tips for a Great Catalina Scuba Vacation
Thanks to the California climate, Catalina Island’s diving season is year-round. This doesn’t mean that divers enjoy warm waters all year, however. Scuba diving in Catalina requires preparing for cold water, wearing thick wetsuits or dry suits. Peak diving happens to coincide with peak summer months—from mid-July to late September, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out if those busy summer months don’t work out. Read on to learn 9 tips for a great Catalina scuba vacation:
1.) It’s about the journey. Getting to Catalina is an adventure in itself. Decide which method of transportation you’ll take to arrive on the island. There are two companies on the mainland that offer boat service to Catalina: Catalina Express from Long Beach, Dana Point and San Pedro and Catalina Passenger Service from Newport Beach. There’s also the option to use IEX Helicopters to charter a helicopter flight from a mainland airport to Catalina Island. Some divers tend to cruise into town on privately owned boats; in that case, moorings in Avalon are assigned on a first come, first served basis.
2.) Choose your own adventure. Catalina Divers Supply offers an array of different diving adventures. A 2-tank boat dive aboard the SCUBA Cat will take you to one of the beautiful dive spots along the island’s coastline. This tour includes 2 tanks, weights, snacks, and lunch. Divers can also call to arrange a custom tour with Catalina Divers Supply, which can include hotel, transportation, different dive experiences, and additional activities.
3.) Night time is the right time. While there are many wonders to see underwater during the day, there’s nothing quite like a night dive. Catalina Divers Supply organizes 1.5 to 2-hour night dives that include instruction. There are some requirements for this one: Divers for these nighttime adventures need to have open water certification, and first timers need to complete coursework and a daytime dive with an instructor. Lights are available for purchase, and they can help you to see all the nocturnal creatures that dwell in the kelp forests of Catalina. Eels, octopus, and lobsters are just a few of the nightlife creatures to see on a night dive.
4.) Educate yourself. Catalina Divers Supply is committed to helping people achieve their diving goals. Highly qualified, enthusiastic instructors teach PADI courses such as open water, advanced open water, rescue diver, dry suit diver, enriched air, or search and recovery. Have limited time on the island? Divers can complete some of their diving course work from the comfort of home before traveling to Catalina. That PADI e-learning can be done online, and you can schedule required in-water training with Catalina Divers Supply.
5.) Get to know the locals. By locals, we mean local marine life. Catalina Island is famous for the abundance of California’s state marine fish: garibaldi. Calico bass are also prevalent. California sea lions are frequently spotted frolicking in the island’s kelp forests. Lobster and eels often are found in rocky crevasses all around Catalina. There are so many more ocean creatures you can encounter on your island dives; sea life abounds because much of the waters around the island are Marine Protected Areas.
6.) Get in gear. If you want to travel light, you’re in luck: Catalina Divers Supply offers gear rental for divers. They can supply you with tanks, weights, wetsuits, regulators, booties, and even gloves. There is even a complete service department to help repair gear. For convenience, be sure to reserve your dive gear ahead of time, and once you’re on the island, you can pick up your gear from either Casino Point Dive Park or the Green Pleasure Pier. Discounts are offered on Catalina Divers Supply gear when you book a boat trip with them.
7.) Recuperate and refuel after your dives: If you work up an appetite after a day of diving, Avalon is home to restaurants and refreshments of all kinds. Whether you wander to Descanso Beach for drinks and light fare or have a sit-down dinner at a local establishment, you can find whatever you’re craving: from pizza to steak, Mexican to modern fare, to, of course, fresh fish tacos and seafood. Strolling along pedestrian-friendly Crescent Avenue, the main oceanfront street, you can shop, or find plenty of places to sit. Put your feet up to people watch or catch some ocean views before your next dive.
8.) Taxis can make transport easy. Whether you need a ride to your accommodations or help getting back to the boat, Catalina Taxis are a convenient way to get you where you need to go. Call 310-510-0025 to check with the taxi service to confirm they can fit your dive gear in taxi vehicles.
9.) Make all your reservations. A good dive trip requires some planning. While island time is usually relaxed, it’s wise to book your transportation, dive packages, and hotel or rental accommodations ahead of time. Be sure to check with your hotel or your vacation rental about possibilities for storing dive gear, if necessary.
Check out all the offerings from Catalina Divers Supply at their website. Call to book your next great Catalina scuba vacation!