With the unusual persistence of warm water currents moving by California there is no doubt that we are experiencing the effects of an oncoming El Nino. While common conditions for the summer months along the central California coast are filled with algal blooms and poor visibility we have been fortunate enough to see one of the best summers for diving in many years. Along with calm swells the algal bloom as almost been non existent, providing divers that venture into the unknown to be pleasantly surprised with the above average visibility of dives and abundance of life found in the area. Large numbers of humpback whales have been spotted and some fish that are normally found in southern California such as the Sheepshead have been seen venturing north. So if you are in the Central or Southern California area now is the time to get in the water because great things are beginning to happen.
I had the opportunity recently to try something that I have not done before as a part of this night dive. Although I have done many night dives, and even a few at South Monastery beach this one was special because we decided to complete this dive off of kayaks. With the ability to travel to our site on the kayaks we were able to greatly extend our dive time and avoid the cold temperatures of 49 degrees. The kayaks allowed us to reach one of my favorite pinnacles at South Monastery its not super far from shore but much farther than i would have preferred to swim at night. It was amazing to see one of my favorite sites in Carmel at night. The dynamic changes, the rock fish begin to stir, the crabs scurry across the rocks and sand. I managed to find a wolf eel deep in a hole that unfortunately did not want to come out and say hello. The visibility was great for a night dive close to 30ft, mainly due to the recently calm north west swell. We could not have asked for better conditions to test out our first kayak night dive. The dive was beautiful and well worth the effort of the kayaks, the true test was the end of the dive. with overcast skies it was pitch black with only the light of passing cars on the highway as a reference to shore. Aside from the normal uneasy feelings of night dives, this night dive is one of my favorites of Carmel Bay and Monastery Beach.