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.
Muck and More
San Diego also has a more obscure underwater attraction: critter diving. Submarine canyons immediately offshore dip abruptly to depths of more than 600 feet, providing a density of marine life that is matched by few other places in California. La Jolla Shores — part of the La Jolla Underwater Park — is one of the epicenters of this phenomenon. The sandy walls and tangled kelp detritus of this popular shore-diving spot don’t look like much at first glance. But veteran divers know the marine life found here includes red and two-spot octopuses, juvenile fish, shrimp, blennies and an ever-changing and multihued array of nudibranchs.
Critters aside, the close proximity of these submarine canyons means that divers can see almost anything at any time. Sightings of bait balls, molas and various sharks are not uncommon. Fortunate divers might witness a rare market-squid mating run or a migrating gray whale. Even when conditions are less than optimal, there’s plenty of reason to go diving: The same springtime upwellings that bring frigid water to the coast also bring jellyfish and colorful pelagic invertebrates of all shapes and sizes.
On nondiving days, incredible marine life can also be easily viewed. Sea lion and harbor seal colonies populate the rocks and beaches near La Jolla. Gray and blue whales and pods of dolphins can often be spotted from the shoreline, and whale-watching boats offer the chance to get even closer.
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