Scuba Diving Photos
Drive and Dive: San Diego
San Clemente Island: Purple Hydrocoral Gardens
Divers looking for warmer water and higher visibility can quickly hop to San Clemente Island, where coral, rays and kelp forests await.
Exploring Wreck Alley
Wreck enthusiasts are thoroughly spoiled in San Diego, where a collection of purpose-sunk ships forms world-famous Wreck Alley. The highlight of this artificial-reef system is the extraordinary HCMS Yukon, a 366- foot Canadian destroyer sunk in 2000 that lies between 70 and 105 feet of water. The ship went down in rough seas the night before its intended reefing and lies on its port side, which can be a bit disorienting, and surge and current are more common than not. Divers are undeterred, however, as its considerable superstructure includes easily recognizable structures. The bridge, crow’s nest, davits and smokestack are layered with plumose anemones, bright corynactis and clusters of majestic giant metridiums, providing incredible photo opportunities. Schools of blacksmith gather above the wreck, and divers often find themselves surrounded by fish during their ascent.
Locals and visitors alike adore the close-by Ruby E, a 165-foot Coast Guard cutter-turned drug smuggling vessel that was sunk in 1989. Its smaller size and slightly shallower depth — 60 to 85 feet — mean it’s easier to fully examine on a single dive; its upright structure is so thickly encrusted with red gorgonians and pink corynactis that the ship is commonly compared to a Rose Bowl float. It’s easy to safely inspect its wide-open bridge and wheelhouse, though divers often get too distracted by the brightly colored greenlings, rockfish and California scorpionfish on its decks to bother.
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