Those who have taken any dive classes in Central or Northern California likely know the Breakwater in Monterey. Also known as San Carlos Beach, it is located on the southern peninsula of Monterey Bay. Due to its sheltered location, the site sees thousands of divers every year, it can be so crowded that on weekends the limiting factor for diving is often based on whether one can find a parking space. For many of these divers, the Breakwater is first and foremost thought of as a site simply for classes.
For those who put in the effort though, this dive site can offer amazing encounters. By kicking out to the very end of the wall, and you’re greeted by groups of playful California Sea lions. If you take your time along the rocky rubble you can find all kinds of nudibranchs, as well as wolf eels and octopi. Or, you could stay mid water just below the golden kelp canopy and have cormorants diving around you while chasing baitfish.
With the Breakwater being located close to Monterey’s underwater canyon, the offshore currents also often bring in drifters. Whether it be large smacks of jellyfish, alien looking pelagic salps, or tuna crabs during the warm El Nino years, it always pays to look around in the water column to see what may be floating by above you.