The First Timer's Guide To Snorkeling On Catalina
In the early days of snorkeling, humans used hollow reeds or animal skins filled with air as they explored the underwater world. It is actually Leonardo da Vinci who is credited with inventing the modern-day model of a snorkel. For thousands of years now, humans have wanted an easy way to get a glimpse of all the amazing sea life that lives below the surface of the water. Snorkeling is an ocean activity that can be enjoyed by all ages, and Catalina Island—with its clear waters and abundant sea life—is such a great place for all snorkelers, from beginners to experts. Be an adventure seeker! Read on to learn more in the first timer’s guide to snorkeling on Catalina.
Know your stuff. Knowing what to look for when you’re exploring the coves around Catalina can help to make your day out in the water a lot more fun.
· The California State fish: You can’t miss the bright orange, beautiful garibaldi all around Catalina. They’re often found swimming in kelp forests, and they look just like a giant, adorable goldfish.
· Sheephead: All California sheephead are born female, and upon maturing, some of these fish turn into males. Whether male or female, these fish have some stunning color patterns like red eyes, white heads and tails, and reddish midsections, or lighter pink with white undersides. Look for these colorful fish in rock crevasses along Catalina’s coves.
· Swim in the forest. Kelp plants provide such a rich environment for a large variety of marine life—fish, invertebrates, and mammals are all part of this beautiful family. This gorgeous plant provides shelter and food for many species under the sea.
· The GSB: Giant sea bass can grow up to 7 feet long and weigh up to 500 pounds. Giant sea bass are known as the top of the food chain in the ecosystem of the kelp forest; it’s one main natural predator: the great white.
· Sea lions and harbor seals, oh my! Harbor seals can be found swimming in shallow waters or sunning on rocks. Sea lions are super smart and playful. They love to dine on a wide variety of seafood, so it’s not uncommon to spot one swimming while you snorkel in a Catalina cove.
Pick the perfect place to go. The coastline of Catalina offers a veritable treasure trove of ocean life. Scout out some of the best locations around the island for seeing some of the most beautiful flora and fauna under the sea.
· Lover’s Cove: This lovely marine reserve is just down the road from Avalon’s main beaches. The perfect place to snorkel, Lover’s Cove has no anchors or moorings allowed, so you can see all kinds of amazing creatures as you snorkel through the marine gardens.
· Casino Dive Park: While you’ll see a lot of tanks and SCUBA gear in this special spot right by the Catalina Casino, know that Casino Dive Park is a sweet spot for snorkelers too.
· Two Harbors: If taking a trip to Avalon and getting away from it all isn’t far away enough from the hustle and bustle, you can travel along the island’s coastline to Two Harbors. Isthmus Cove has clear waters, great for snorkeling and swimming.
· Descanso Beach: There is plenty to do at Descanso—from food and drinks to music and boating. The great thing about Catalina is you can cruise right from the shore into the water to snorkel, and chances are, you’ll catch sight of quite a few undersea wonders.
Get all your gear together. Catalina Divers Supply is a great place to get geared up for snorkeling. Need a mask, fins, wetsuit, and snorkel? We can help, and we offer a few different snorkeling adventures for snorkelers of all levels.
· Catalina Snorkeling by boat: Head to a snorkel site aboard the SCUBA Cat. The boat captain and crew will take you on a trip, and a trained staff member will join the snorkel group in the water. This trip is not a guided trip, but it is open to snorkelers who can swim and who are comfortable in deep water. Booking this trip includes your snorkel gear and bottled water.
· Eco-guided Snorkel Tour at Casino Dive Park: For snorkeling, you don’t need to dive too deep. In the Casino Point Underwater Park, visibility can range from 40 feet to 100 feet. Surround yourself with schooling fish and a majestic kelp forest, and a dive master will guide you through the park. Look for kelp bass, bat rays, and of course, garibaldi. This excursion happens right at the shore of the Casino Dive Park every day at 12pm and 2pm. Tours last about 1.5 to 2 hours. Mask, snorkel, fins, and wetsuit are included. Snorkelers must be 8 or older, and all participants must be comfortable swimming in deep water.
Catalina Divers Supply has two convenient locations on Catalina Island. Stop by the main facility at the lower level of the Catalina Casino Building to see our retail shop, book a tour, take a class, and more. Our spot on the Green Pleasure Pier in the center of Avalon is a great spot to book your snorkel or boat tour. Give us a call at 310-510-0330 to book your adventure.