Point Lobos

Highway 1, South of Carmel
Reservations required, 15 dive teams per day
15-80 feet (Whaler’s Cove)
Concrete Boat Ramp

Point Lobos is widely considered the best site in the Monterey area. The park strictly prohibits and form of fishing or collecting (can’t even collect shells or rocks). As a result, the fish are huge, and show little fear of divers. They also restrict the number of divers per day, limiting access to 15 buddy pairs a day.

The park has a reservation system, and reservations for weekends and holidays are absolutely required. Plan on making the reservation at least a month in advance. Weekdays are normally not a problem for drop-in visits as reservations typically do not fill up. (An availability calendar is available on their web site.

Divers are only permitted to enter and exit the water at the boat launch located in Whaler’s Cove. Diving is only permitted in Whaler’s Cove, Bluefish Cove, and the waters outside those coves. Bluefish is the superior location, but a boat or kayak is the only practical way to access this area (loooong swim). Another great option is the Cypress Sea charter, which offers Thursday trips inside Point Lobos.

Most divers stay inside Whaler’s Cove. My usual dive (I know there are better dives) consists of surface swimming outside of Whaler’s cove to the end of the kelp bed marking the center reef. Here I drop down (80 feet) and follow the southern side of the reef back into the cove. I prefer the southern side because it’s more vertical. I also like this dive because it’s next to a large sand channel where you may see leopard sharks or bat rays.