Aerial photograph of San Clemente Island, California
San Clemente Island Pyramid Head, the distinctive pyramid shaped southern end of the island. San Clemente Island Pyramid Head, showing geologic terracing, underwater reefs and giant kelp forests
Image ID: 26003
Location: San Clemente Island, California, USA
San Clemente Island is where I have done the majority of my scuba diving. For at least 20 years I’ve been admiring the beautiful kelp forests, reefs and marine inhabitants of San Clemente Island, almost always aboard the San Diego-based dive boat Horizon. These days I’m lucky if my schedule allows me to get out there once a year for a bit of diving, but when I do and I finally get underwater it feels like I am home in a way: beams of light filtering through the towering stands of giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) on a sunny day still take my breath away (figuratively speaking). The long, flowing schools of baitfish and hefty bat rays are wonderful to behold. San Clemente Island is owned and managed by the U.S. Navy, and at times we have seen Naval jets scream just overhead as the pilots show off to the earth-bound boats below. I have often wished I could join one of those pilots so that I could see my favorite island from the air, to see it in its entirety. I finally got a chance to do that. I recently took a survey flight up the coast with a pilot friend and photographer friend and we decided to fly out to the islands. After passing by Catalina Island we looked over the waters on the weather side of San Clemente Island, from Castle Rock at the northwest end to Pyramid Cove at the southeast end. What a great day!