Snorkel / Scuba Catalina Island, CA

Snorkel at the Underwater Dive Park at Catalina

Wow, this shot from my plane looks like the Bahamas, only much colder water.

Those of us not living near Southern California tend to forget there are some magnificent islands right off the coast, renowned for their clear water and superb diving. Unlike near the mainline were the water clarity is very hit and miss.

You can see the stair steps leading right into the water from the old casino building. Easy.

Many islands are hard to get to or even completely locked down under military control, but Catalina has easy boat access and even an airport up on a hill. Avalon is the main village on the island and right there off the protected shore is an Underwater Dive Park (UDP).

You can either sign up for a guided tour or you can easily rent wetsuits and snorkel (or scuba gear) right at the UDP. There are even stairs and a railing leading right into the water for easy access.

Even though I hadn’t scuba dived for years, I still had my card and was able to rent gear. There was a little drama because I completely forgot that as a pilot (or passenger but especially the pilot!) I can’t fly within so many hours of completing a dive. So we had to move our dive up a day and barely got in a dive before nightfall.

Exploring this wreck is probably only possible with scuba, not snorkel, but there are plenty of other sights for snorkelers
On Final to Catalina’s “Airport in the Sky”

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