I have organized a few Southern California dive charters in 2021 to ensure I get my fix of kelp forests and sea lions this year. The focus is on Catalina West End for kelp forests in July/August/September, and the Coronado Islands for sea lions in September/October.  See below for more info.  These are co-op trips, we all pay equally to cover the charter.  The motivation I have for being the charter master is that I get to select where and how we will dive. Let me know if you are interested, I may have an opening on one of them.

Catalina West End (and perhaps Farnsworth)


Catalina West End (above). Conditions permitting, we will spend the entire day at the west end of Catalina including potentially the backside just around the west end. The goal is kelp forests. While most of Catalina has been plagued by invasive sargassum, in recent years the west end has still held some thick, healthy Macrocystis kelp forests. If all cooperates, we’ll spend our entire day in those forests. If the conditions are good at one spot and everyone wants to, we’ll stay there for another dive. We’ll be on The Giant Stride dive boat with a total of 6 divers including myself. We should get three long dives and get back to the dock around dusk. The cost will be $220-280 per person plus a crew tip depending on whether we go to the backside or frontside of Catalina, and the number of people sharing the cost of the charter. If possible bring 2 tanks so that while you dive your second tank on the second dive your first tank is filled for the third dive. The dates are:

Sat July 10 – sold out
Sun Aug 22 -sold out
Sat Sep 18 – two spots available
See https://www.thegiantstride.com for information about The Giant Stride boat.

Coronados and Sea Lions


Conditions permitting, we will dive North Island at the Coronados, just south of the Mexican border, a little less than a 2 hour ride from the dock. The goal is warm water, sea lions, mellow conditions, and sea lions. We will probably stay in the one best spot (Lobster Shack) for all of our dives so you can dive it, figure it out and dive it again. We *might* go to Keyhole for a dive but only if everyone wants to. Check out the drone shot above for the spot we prefer to anchor and dive, it is usually as calm as in the photo. Sep/Oct/Nov is generally a good time of year for young sea lions in southern California and Baja. And this is a shallow location! I bring my own steel 120 and am underwater for 90 minutes at least for each dive. The cost, boat and group size depends on the date. You may bring your own tank or use one on the boat. See https://www.waterhorsecharters.com for info the Humboldt and Camarao boats.

Sat Sep 25. –  This date is on the boat Humboldt. We will go with 12 divers including me (boat usually takes 18). We should get three dives. 8am departure and earlier if I can arrange it with the captain so we can spend more time in the best light. September is a little on the early side for sea lions but the weather is usually better than in October and the days are a little longer. While we hope we have some good interactions they are not guaranteed – we do our best by spending as much time in the water as possible. $225 per person plus crew tip. Text me (760) 707-7153 to reserve a spot and pay for your spot by Venmo. If the trip does not go for any reason you will receive a full refund. Remember you must have a valid passport to do this trip.

I’ve also got three charters on the smaller boat Camarao. We will go with 4 divers only including me (boat usually takes 6). 7am or 8am departure, we’ll decide closer to the day.  The earliest light at the island is the best so it is usually worth the effort to get going early and be in the water by 8:30 or 9. We will get two long dives and since we are midweek hopefully we will be the only boat diving there that day.  The cost will be $275 per person plus tip.
Thu Sep 30 – sold out
Thu Oct 14 – sold out
Fri Oct 22 – sold out ($300 per person plus tip, a little extra for Fridays)
Special note: since we will be diving in Mexico you are required to bring your passport with you to the boat on the day of the trip. Also, you are required to complete an info form online that includes your passport info, so that permits can be arranged with the Mexican authorities prior to our trip.  So make sure you have your passport and that it is current.  These trips to the Coronado islands are a little more expensive due to these permits and the additional fuel required to reach the islands.  Just so you know…