CARMEL BEACH & CARMEL RIVER STATE BEACH
(BEACH AND BOAT OR KAYAK DIVING)
(SKILL LEVEL: ADVANCED TO EXPERT)
(Waves can pop up suddenly)
Carmel Beach and Carmel River State Beach meet at Carmel Point, which is the location of Butterfly House at Stewart Street. Other than the names, it is impossible to differentiate the two beaches; they are really the same beach. This entire beach front is a popular beach diving destination because it has a number of different dive sites with easy access to the road. Carmel Beach is fronted by Scenic Drive, which runs South out of Carmel; just turn South on Scenic Drive from Ocean Avenue in Carmel. Diving right off Carmel Beach is very good, with a scattered rock and sand bottom. There is usually large amounts of kelp in this area which make for beautiful dives. During the winter months the storms knock the kelp loose, and it begins to bloom again in the Spring. Most of the beach dives in this area are in the 30 to 60 foot range with a gradually sloping bottom, and all usually have decent ocean conditions and visibility. After heavy rains the visibility at these sites may diminish due to runoff from the Carmel River. Carmel Meadows is located at the South end of Scenic drive and immediately North of Monastery Beach.
Here is a listing of some popular beach dives at Carmel (River) Beach:
· Copper Roof House (Scenic Drive near Martin Avenue)
· Butterfly House (Scenic Drive & Stewart Way
· Carmel Meadows (Scenic Drive at the end of Ribera Road)
Carmel Meadows has a wooden stairway to the beach. There are no parking areas near Copper Roof House or Butterfly House, divers just park on the side streets. Please be courteous and do not block driveways.
The Pinnacles are also accessible from the North end of Carmel Beach. It is about a 2 mile boat ride out to the pinnacles, for skilled boaters and kayakers it is a fairly easy boat/kayak launch and it does save the parking hassle and entry fees at Stillwater Cove. The Pinnacles are marked by an abundance of kelp, and the swell height increases as it passes over the pinnacles. They are very difficult to miss. Another way to locate the Pinnacles is to line up with a large pink structure to the left of Pescadero Point which resembles a castle (known as "Castle House"). (Advanced to Expert Level)
This area can be subject to large swells and strong currents. Check the tides and conditions before diving. If you decide to launch a small boat or kayak off of Carmel Beach, watch the horizon and check out other boats in the water. If you can see them appearing and disappearing with the swells, it may be better to head back to Monterey Bay and do your boat dives there. Just a final note of caution, this is not an area to learn boat or kayak handling skills; conditions can change dramatically in a short period of time.
The decision to dive (or not) is your responsibility. Keep diving activities within your training and comfort level. If you feel more training or experience is needed before attempting a dive, don't dive. Know personal limits, skill levels, and abilities of yourself and your dive buddy. Dive Safely and Dive Often!
If you have any questions, concerns, or comments, contact me
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