If you ever find yourself in San Diego consider popping up to La Jolla for a dive. The yanks don't seem that taken by the place because it's cold as far as they're concerned and visibility isn't up to much. There's a few local dive shops, SD expeditions seem to be popular and I used lajolladive.com
Now there are advantages to having being trained to dive in the Delph and I can tell you the visibility is fine and the water warm(ish). The Americans are....well not as hard as the Brits.
La Jolla Cove
The first hurdle to tackle was getting to the meeting point at La Jolla cove from the convention centre without a car. A $5.00 transit day pass, tram to old town interchange and a number 30 bus to La Jolla cove sorted the travel.
The second issue was randomly approaching men clad in rubber suits outside a public toilet at 8:00 in the morning until I found one who seemed pleased to see me. I should explain the toilets are just at the top of the beach and it's a really popular time and place for divers to meet.
A while later, clad in a 7mm hired wetsuit and briefed on the dive (north out, south back, caution on the steps to the beach, 3,500lbs cylinder and turn at 1,000 (yes 1,000 I did ask)) we set off to the waters edge. Entry was little tricky trying to guess where rocks were under sea grass. The dive was shallow at 9.7m max depth,15C through a kelp forrest and with a few air checks and being carefully guided back I exited 51 mins later with 1200lbs of air left. Sea creature wise, pretty good. Lots of garibaldi the california state fish, a seal came to look at us, giant sea bass (very appropriate name), rock wrasse, horn shark and probably a few others too. Visibility must have been a bit over 5 metres.
La Jolla Canyon
La Jolla Canyon apparently has depths of 180m, thankfully I didn't go that deep though I did manage a depth progression to 25m under to supervision of the divemaster taking me around.
To dive the canyon you enter from La Jolla shores beach and use the palm trees on vallicetos (road next to a beach side park where all the divers get ready) to guide you straight out for 120m surface swim before descending and heading out straight west. Same air figures as before with the turn at 1000 and getting ready on the grass the briefing from other guides from different companies was the same.
Not being used to the warmth of a wet suit I'd already had a cold shower wearing full kit at some adjacent rest rooms and opted to dive without a hood explaining one of our club dived in a 2mm shorty in 4c water, so a missing hood was nothing. If you fail to notice the depths opening up below you the other way of detecting the canyon edge appears to be the ice cream head as the water drops 5c instantly from a pleasant 18 to a chilly 13. Shock over and on with the dive. Once on the wall having got their by heading west, north takes you along at about 18m, south gets a bit deeper. We headed south.
I was warned this would be totally different with a sandy bed and different animals. There are 1000's of young lobster about 4 inch long plus a good few bigger ones too hiding in holes. I noticed my first sea cucumber, spanish shawl, sea star, a hugh halibut, crabs, anemone and lots of small fish hiding in the wall.
The return was under water heading east untill we could pretty much stand up. Visibility was a bit lower around 3-5 metres, 45 min dive, 25.9m max, 12.7m average, 12c min temp and exited with around 900lbs of air. Not too bad.
So if you're ever at a loose end in San Diego its worth a look. And the number 30 bus gets you back too.
Reports on our previous club dive trips and some of our day diving activities
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