Snorkel Spots near LA/OC Marinas

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Rachmak

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Oct 13, 2020
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Realize that this isn't the best forum to post this question but couldn't find a better place in the forums to post it so forgive me.

I'm looking for recommendations for a easy inshore snorkel spot that is within a 15-30 minute boat ride from one of our local LA/OC marinas. I'll be launching and small 11' inflatable boat and would only go when the conditions are glassy. I'll be going with my wife, we are both certified scuba divers and strong swimmers but prefer to err on the safe side.

Just looking to head out of a few hours and access some boating an snorkeling to access areas that we couldn't normally access from the shore.
 
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MYNomad

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Snorkel or scuba? I haven't snorkeled here, but have done lots of scuba. The water is cold, visibility limited, and in most non-kelp areas devoid of live (unless you count the occasional GWS). So, go where there is kelp. PV is a good choice for scuba, but personally I haven't experienced good snorkeling except at the islands (where viz is often times outstanding, and rocky bottoms in shallow water bring lots of life.
 
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Rachmak

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Snorkel or scuba? I haven't snorkeled here, but have done lots of scuba. The water is cold, visibility limited, and in most non-kelp areas devoid of live (unless you count the occasional GWS). So, go where there is kelp. PV is a good choice for scuba, but personally I haven't experienced good snorkeling except at the islands (where viz is often times outstanding, and rocky bottoms in shallow water bring lots of life.

I'm looking more to do some snorkeling and free diving. Was looking at deluxe247's link and saw Cresent Bay as possibly a good spot for snorkel?

From what I understand, our Socal waters aren't like Hawaii where we have nice snorkel accessible habitats to enjoy
 
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Blackfish

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Laguna Beach coast line has a lot of good dive spots and coves you can snorkel in. Many are only accessible by boat due to private beach front property. 30 min. boat ride from Dana Point. Its MPA, so no hunting.
You can also hit Corona Del Mar shore line and launch out of Newport Beach.
Do a google map satellite view search. You can see all the coves.
 
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FishinMcNuggets

I've edited enough I should section this post.
  • Oct 25, 2010
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    Mike
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    I'm going to heartily disagree. I know nearshore So. Cal. isnt the lee of Cat. or a tropical reef, but there are great spots. Have you guys tried getting back onto the boat in open water? Curious if you guys have a ladder, as I've never snorkeled from my inflatable.

    My recommendation: start with jetties that are inaccessible by foot. MDR outer, SM pier, that little leg off of the main jetty by San Pedro. Those are all travel close. Next download "navionics" app to phone and look for inshore reefs and wrecks. Avalon wreck. Trump golf course kelp. Point Vincente. I'm sure there's a ton more. Personally, Malibu looks to have a ton of good spots.

    Hit all your spots at first light before traffic gets up and scares your sea life away. Likewise, winds are usually less= less water turbidity=better viz.

    The reef just north of Golden cove in PV is kinda cool. Paradise Cove in 'Bu would be nice too.
     
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    Rachmak

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    I'm going to heartily disagree. I know nearshore So. Cal. isnt the lee of Cat. or a tropical reef, but there are great spots. Have you guys tried getting back onto the boat in open water? Curious if you guys have a ladder, as I've never snorkeled from my inflatable.

    Thanks for the recommendation - we don't have a ladder - we were planning on having one snorkeler stay on the boat to watch for boats, signal the orange flag, and help pull up the other diver when they are ready to come up. I'll check out those spots that you mention.

    PV sounds enticing and we both have wetsuits. I'll check out the navionic app as well
     
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    deluxe247

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    PV is cool, I dive there for lobsters. I recommend checking youtube for any spot you are interested in visiting first:
    As previously mentioned, Viz can be hit or miss. So check the wind/swell for a good day and then you can check out the waves from shore to get an indication how your dive will be. good luck out there, safe diving
     
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    FishinMcNuggets

    I've edited enough I should section this post.
  • Oct 25, 2010
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    Thanks for the recommendation - we don't have a ladder - we were planning on having one snorkeler stay on the boat to watch for boats, signal the orange flag, and help pull up the other diver when they are ready to come up.

    I hate to rain on any parade, but I'd give that "help pull the other" into the boat thing a test run dockside. I'm usually dog-ass tired after a good snorkel session, and have a hard enough time getting back on a rocky shore. I can't conceive getting back on my inflatable without a foothold. If it works, pm me to assuage the doubts.

    Also, rhib? Roll-up or inflatable floor? Curious about your craft. I have an Avon 2.85 roll up. What's your HP? Me: 8hp Johnson 2-smoke.
     
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    Rachmak

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    I hate to rain on any parade, but I'd give that "help pull the other" into the boat thing a test run dockside. I'm usually dog-ass tired after a good snorkel session, and have a hard enough time getting back on a rocky shore. I can't conceive getting back on my inflatable without a foothold. If it works, pm me to assuage the doubts.

    Also, rhib? Roll-up or inflatable floor? Curious about your craft. I have an Avon 2.85 roll up. What's your HP? Me: 8hp Johnson 2-smoke.

    I'll definitely take that advice and give it a test climb in and out. This will be my first time doing it which is why I'm on the forum asking about. I've seen roll up swim ladders specifically for inflatable boats but who knows if this trip will even get done now that you got me thinking about it :-)

    My boat is a 11' inflatable with aluminum floor on a 9.8hp tohatsu
     
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    FishinMcNuggets

    I've edited enough I should section this post.
  • Oct 25, 2010
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    I'm guessing it's trailered, not cartop? I'd be willing to buddy boat ( North PV) with you guys the first time if you like.
     
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    One_Leg

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    Laguna, IMO, has some great dive locations.
    Please stay away from "The Washing Machine", in Shaw's Cove in Laguna beach, because it can kill you quick.

    It is beautiful in there!!!
     
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    Rachmak

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    I'm guessing it's trailered, not cartop? I'd be willing to buddy boat ( North PV) with you guys the first time if you like.

    yeah - it's trailered - so I only go to places with launch ramp but that's fine with me - beats having to set it up and pump it up every time I want to use it.

    I've so far only used it inside the marinas and only taken it out to "open water" twice for a test run so a buddy boat would be cool. Do you have an inflatable boat and/or skiff too? Would be great to buddy boat

    IMG_8488 copy.jpg
     
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    Galt

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    Corona del Mar, south of Newport Harbor has some nice diving too. There can be some good diving going in to Palos Verdes when the conditions are good but it's a pretty long ride in a soft bottom inflatable.
     
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    Blackfish

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    Please stay away from "The Washing Machine", in Shaw's Cove in Laguna beach, because it can kill you quick.

    It is beautiful in there!!!
    Ha. Yes it can be very dangerous. My son was LG for LB for 7 years. He has some good stories and some fun training exercises in that “washing machine”.

    I personally have only dove it once, in very calm conditions. Many years ago.
     
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    FishinMcNuggets

    I've edited enough I should section this post.
  • Oct 25, 2010
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    yeah - it's trailered - so I only go to places with launch ramp but that's fine with me - beats having to set it up and pump it up every time I want to use it.

    ...so a buddy boat would be cool. Do you have an inflatable boat and/or skiff too? Would be great to buddy boat

    We do. Pm whenever you wanna go, weekends. We've been out a few times.

    20200613_070031.jpg
     
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    kevina

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  • Sep 10, 2006
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    Go drop out of Redondo Beach Marina (King Harbor Boat Launch) They will drop you inn and pull you for $17.00 (for a 12' boat) Then you can Dive up by the swimming pool (End of Torrance beach and west along Palos Verdes Appx 1/4 mile. You will see a big bldg at the base of the cliffs (the swimming pool bldg). I would recommend going a little further west along the cliff to the first point, (It's about 1/2 way from Torrance Beach and Rocky Point) You will see the small point and a rock just off it and The Rock will look like a Shark Fin. That Area is called Shark Fin. There 2 rocks 1-Shark Fin and the second rock just sticking out of the water just west of it appx 80 feet. Their is quite a few boilers inside Shark Fin in towards the beach. If I was you, I would go their on a Low tide to see the boilers and kelp lines. That area has a lot of sea life inside and just outside of Shark Fin. Inside Shark Fin (Towards the Beach). You will enjoy diving their, It's also a nursey for baby lobsters. You can easily make the run in your boat 90% of the time. The bay is sheltered from the majority of the elements. Good luck
     
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    May 13, 2004
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    ...Planning is key....early morning before the wind comes up (by noon, usually)...tide table: pick a morning with an incoming high tide for the best vis...I always spearfish 3 hours before high tide to two hours after....if you are in good shape, you can take off the tank and roll into the inflatable if it has side hand holds...suggest at least a rope loop to put your foot in to assist entry...If there is a 5 or 6' tide change, it can tire you out quick!....
    ...Orange county has the most scenic reefs and vis...you can launch at Newport Beach, run out and go south for nice coves around Corona Del Mar...or, launch out of Dana Point and go north a mile or so..Rancho Palos Verdes has kelp beds but often poor vis and swells...like mentioned, you can drop in the inflatable at Redondo and head south to the cliff areas by the swimming pool...but, it is a long run out of Redondo and likely, you will face possible head wind and swell conditions coming back..
    ...a potential issue is your low h.p. motor....if the wind comes up, swells build and you are heading back into the wind, you may make little or no headway...usually, minimum size for a diving inflatable should be 15 h.p....better is 25....a decent anchor and 20' of chain, a compass in case fog rolls in (I have come up from dives with almost 0 vis fog that came in fast)..a portable gps is even better if you put together a list of harbor gps locations, (available on the internet) .preparation is key to longivity on the ocean...
    ...I recommend you do some scouting, with some beach dives first, to acquaint you with the areas...The luxury Montage hotel near Dana Point area has some great scenery, nice reefs and coves and makes for a fun day outing...We park up the hill, walk down a block or two for free parking and no worry about a parking ticket....No take of game zone tho'....It's a preserve...
     
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    walter heim

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    walter heim
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    I have been scuba and snorkeling San Diego area for decades. I am not that good and rarely go deeper than 20 ft. The problem with taking a boat shallow is you are close to the surf and the water is usually dirty. Best time is in the fall.

    That said, try going into the kelp bed when the surface water is clean. Snorkel the canopy, it is a blast. Lots of kelp bass hanging in the shade. I would go on the outside of the kelp bed as it will probably be cleaner.

    Once you get braver and venture offshore, say within 10 miles or so, look for kelp paddies. Many have large molas. Snorkeling with a big mola is a blast. You may find yellowtail and dorado. I have done this many times.
     
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