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Franko's Map of Los Angeles County Coast Diving
Franko's Map of Los Angeles County Coast is the original and only great dive map that has ever been made for the L.A. County Coast. Side 1 shows the entire coastline from the Ventura County line to the Cabrillo breakwater at the end of the Palos Verdes Peninsula, plus an inset detail of the harbor area. Another inset shows Franko's Kelp Forest Creatures to let the viewer know just what lurks out there. The Santa Monica Bay, and the undersea Redondo Canyon are shown in beautiful shades of blue to show ocean depth contours, as provided by NOAA data. Dive sites around the greater Santa Monica Bay include Leo Carillo State Beach, El Matador, Westward Beach, Point Dume, Paradise Cove, Big Rock, Redondo Breakwall, the Old Redondo Pier, and others. The hilly Palos Verdes Peninsula, shown in amazing shaded relief, juts out into the ocean. Freeways and road details help you to find your way to the coast.
Side 2 shows Franko's Map of Palos Verdes Peninsula, which looms three-dimensionally over the beautiful blue coast and ocean below. Well-know dives sites and wrecks are located and described. This is not only a great detail for divers to get around, it is also a great map for kayakers, who love PV. Favorite dive spots shown include Rat Beach, Malaga Cove, Haggerty's, Flat Rock, Margate Street Wreck, Avalon Wreck, Indicator, PV Point, Dominator Wreck, Christmas Tree Cove, Point Vicente, Old Marineland, Buchanon reef, Abalone Cove, Portuguese Bend, White Point, Point Fermin, Cabrillo Beach and the L.A. Breakwater.
Side one captions:
ZUMA - Big shore break in S to W swells. Best when overhead to doubleoverhead+ and a Santa Ana wind. Good all seasons except winter. Bottom is sandy.
EL MATADOR, EL PESCADOR & LA PIEDRA BEACHES 20'-40' Beg.-Adv.Stairs and paths to three sandy and rocky beaches. Some reefs break the surface. The kelp bed 300' out has garibaldi, bluebanded gobi, señoritas,rockfish, cabezon, lobsters and halibut. Good area to find shells. Uncrowded.
WESTWARD BEACH 20'-65'+ Int.- Adv.Sandy beach entry through surf zone leads to submarine canyon which drops off deep quickly to the southwest. There are sand dollars, sea pens, spider crabs, sand stars, bat rays and halibut. This is a good kayak dive. Free parking at Zuma Beach and Westward Beach. Amenities available.
LEO CARILLO STATE BEACH 5'-45' Beg.-IntSandy and rocky beach entry leads to huge kelp forest and rocky reefs. Features gorgonians, colorful anemones, starfish, nudibranchs,cowries, sheephead, kelp bass and halibut. Good spot for all levels of snorkeling.
LEO CARILLO SURFING - Longboard spot, but in big south swell it is ridden by all. Good surfing anywhere from waist high to double-overhead, all year except winter. Bottom is cobbled.
POINT DUME 20-100'+ Adv.Sandy beach entry right off the point. It gets deep fast and longshore currents can be strong. This is the place to see squid spawning grounds, plus a horde of bat rays, and an occasional electric ray. Offshore there rocky pinnacles with a steep drop-off. Barracudas school here, and there are sometimes black sea bass. The shore is a sea lion haul-out spot. Caution: Currents and a sometimes pounding shore break.
PARADISE COVE 15'-50' Beg.-IntSandy beach with rocks is inaccessible due to private property, but this is a good kayak dive site (or a long swim). The reef is full of all kinds of kelp forest creatures and nice gorgonians.
THE SLOT Numerous dives between and including Corral Beach and Paradise Cove are generally called "The Slot". Accessibility and ease of use makes Corral Beach the most popular.
CORRAL BEACH 15'-40' Beg.-IntThis sandy beach entry is commonly used by dive classes as a check-out dive for new scuba divers. Just 100' out there is kelp with a few lobsters, gorgonians, strawberry anemones, rockfish, horn sharks, leopard sharks, and the ever-present garibaldi. There is good diving all the way to Latigo Point. Limited roadside parking.
MALIBU - Fabulous, famous, classic miracle surfing waves. Best when waist to double - overhead high in S, SW or W Swell and in NW wind. Perfect summertime right point break. Unfortunately it is crowded.
BIG ROCK 15'-40' Beg.-IntSand and rock beach entry at 20000 PCH, or a kayak dive beginning from Las Tunas. Big kelp beds and reefs 200' + out, where divers find lobsters, moray eels and golden gorgonians, plus the usual kelp forest creatures.
LAS TUNAS STATE BEACH 10'-40' Beg.-IntA sandy beach entry leads to kelp forests 150' to 600' offshore. Colorful strawberry anemones, golden gorgonians, nudibranchs, sheep crabs, opaleye, señoritas, lobsters and scallops make this a great dive. Beware of rusted metal groynes in water. Fee parking lot.
TOPANGA - Where to surf when Malibu is packed. Best is NW & W swells, waist to double-overhead and light Santa Ana winds, all seasons except winter. Cobblestone bottom.
EL PORTO - Most consistent surfing in L.A. all year in 2' to 10' waves in mixed directions.
MANHATTAN BEACH - Peaky, closed out waves are better for bodyboards than surfboards. Best in fall and winter.
REDONDO BREAKWALL to 35' Beg.-Int.Jetty boulders make good hiding spots for lobsters and lots of fish. Halibut blend into the sand. Hunters like this spot for the plentiful game. Diving is only on the outside of the breakwall.
REDONDO BREAKWALL SURFING - Heavy left wave in NW or W swell, head high to huge, fall or winter. Crowded.
REDONDO SUBMARINE CANYON 10'-100'+ Beg.-Adv.Great dive with sandy beach entry S of Redondo Pier at Veteran's Park. Divers see clusters of eggs from spawning squid, blue sharks, bonita, decorator crabs, sand stars, and anemones on broken pilings. Canyon walls drop off quickly. Human trash abounds, but creatures make homes within the debris - look for sarcastic fringeheads in bottles. This is also an excellent night dive. Caution: No pier diving.
PEARL STREET to 45' Beg.This is an all sand area, but it is a common beginner check out dive. There are corbina in surf, plus bat rays and halibut. The beach has handy access to all facilities.
OLD REDONDO PIER #3 25'-45' Beg.-Int.Sandy beach entry by jetty at Topaz St., or just south of Sapphire St. leads to old pier pilings encrusted with growth, including pink anemones. Octopi and sheep crabs, sea pens and sea pansies occupy old bricks and ceramic artifacts in the sand. Caution: Boat traffic is heavy.
PALAWAN WRECK 120'-130' Adv.+Boat dive or very long swim to 435' Liberty Ship sunk in 1975 as reef structure. Only the hull is left. Caution: Monofilament from fishermen is a hazard. This is a deep, technical dive.
Side two captions (Palos Verdes Peninsula diving):
RAT (Right After Torrance) BEACH 10'-25' Beg.-Int.Access via Malaga Cove sandy beach entry. Rocky reefs are at 15'-20' depths. Bat rays and halibut rest on the sand, while kelp bass, opaleye, halfmoon and garibaldi inhabit the reefs. This area is exposed to easterlies.
MALAGA COVE 10'-35' Beg.-Int.Sandy beach or rocky entry. Angel sharks, octopi, colorful nudibranchs and sheep crabs live amongst gorgonians. This area is good for beginner snorkeling.
HAGGERTY'S 10'-35' Beg.-Int.Named for local millionaire who lived here. This site has difficult access at the Via Chino dirt path. The rocks have kelp and sheep crabs, big black sea slugs and lobsters. This reef is shallow and thus good for snorkeling.
FLAT ROCK 25'-40' Int.Access via path at end of Paseo Del Mar leads to boulders and rocky reefs with kelp. All kinds of kelp forest creatures including sheephead, halibut, lobsters, starfish, nudibranchs, and crabs. Good for snorkeling.
GRATIA WRECK ("MARGATE ST. WRECK") 33' Beg.1932 wreck off Margate St. has thick kelp, which can make her hard to find. The fully encrusted, decomposing wreck is a haven to calico bass, lobsters, sheephead and anemones.
AVALON & CRANE WRECK 65' Beg.-Int.This 300' ship with a large crane atop sank in 1954. It makes for great training for wreck diving. The location is just outside of Indicator Point offChiswick Rd. and it can be swum to from there. The kelp forest is rich.
INDICATOR POINT 10'-45' Beg.-Int.300' yds. from the Viewpoint the trail leads down to a shore entry that leads to thick kelp and big rocks, where lobsters, halibut, calico bass and opaleye reside in PV's rich, cool waters.
PALOS VERDES POINT 10'-70' Beg.-Int.Enter from Lunada Bay to kelp beds which range from north of Palos Verdes Point to Resort Point. This is typically a shallow dive, which is also good for snorkeling. Caution: West swell can be extremely heavy, esp. in winter, and there can be currents.
DOMINATOR WRECK 0'-20' Beg.-Int.This big grain freighter ran aground in 1962 and it is visible from the 120' high bluff above. Jagged iron ship parts are awash at low tide. Caution: Surgy with waves around jagged wreck. This is a fabulous spot for close-up photographers, especially for colorful nudibranchs, of which there are at least a dozen varieties right here.
LUNADA BAY - Powerful Hawaiian style right wave, but it has a serious local vibe. Best head-high all the way to 20' in N or NW winter swell and a Santa Ana wind. Rock reef bottom.
CHRISTMAS TREE COVE 10'-45' Int.- Adv.Divers enter Christmas Tree Cove via a steep dirt path at 2800 Paseo Del Mar reefs. The underwater features mini walls and kelp, and usually the best visibility around the PV Peninsula. This is a popular game fish area, although it also features garibaldi, opaleye, treefish, and colorful bluebanded gobi. Invertebrates include: Sponges, anemones, keyhole limpets, Spanish shawls, chesnut cowries, and octopi. Good snorkeling throughout.
POINT VINCENTE FISHING ACCESS 10'-100' Int.- Adv.Beach access to this favorite dive spot is via the “Cardiac Hill” path or by boat. This site is a wide cove, but it is best on the east side, where there are rocks, boulders, kelp and good visibility. The rocks feature gorgonian stands, scallops, strawberry anemonies, and nudibranchs. The kelp forest features señoritas, garibaldi, opaleye, various rockfish. kelp bass and much more. Diving is good from nearshore clear out to a pair of wash rocks about 250 yards out (A long swim). This area is most commonly dived October toDecember during Santa Ana winds. The shallows are great for snorkeling too. Caution: Strong currents.
WRECK OF THE SALSILITO 10'-25' Beg.Sunk in 1932, the remains of the wreck of the Sausilito are strewn over a shallow area. Halibut come into the surrounding area in the spring. Scallops, sheephead, lobsters and various kelp forest creatures inhabit the wreck.
OLD MARINELAND 10'-50' Int.- Adv.Just below former site of Marineland, gray whales pass very near in their migrations (north in the spring, south in the fall). The area remains relatively pristine due to lack of traffic. The waters are protected for prevailing west winds, and feature rocky kelp forests, golden gorgonian stands at 50', urchins, eel grass, and game fish (pelagics). Electric torpedo rays occasionally "light up" divers who are cruising along looking at the starfish, octopi, nudibranchs, and at least one known wreck which reportedly had a haul of silver bars that were never found. This is a good area forsnorkeling.too, but access to the partly paved pathway that leads to the shore below the huge Marineland parking lot is difficult to get to due to development of the Marineworld site.
BUCHANON REEF 70'-90' Adv.200 yards off old Marineland is Buchanon reef and its beautiful golden gorgonian fans. Divers will also see sheephead and halibut (in spring), plus scallops.
ABALONE COVE 10'-60' Beg.-Int.Beach or boat dive amongst kelp and rocks. Famous for numerous kelp forest fish, plus invertebrates. Snorkeling from shore. Caution: The walk from the nearest fee parking is .8 Mi., plus the hill down to the cove is tough with scuba gear.
PORTUGUESE BEND 20'-80' Int.- Adv.Boat dive with good anchorage in sand and rocks. Popular for game fishermen, who find halibut, pelagics like yellowtail, and lobsters in and around the kelp forest.
Royal Palms State BeachThe Royal Palms Hotel was smashed by a storm here around 1925, but this area is still beautiful, with trees, palms, and lots of good surfing, diving and tidepools.
WHITE POINT 15'-45' Beg.-IntThis is the only location on Palos Verdes Peninsula with parking right by the water. The best diving is 200 yards straight out at 40' depth. There are warm,springs in the shallows. Divers are likely to find moray,eels, plus numerous invertebrates including bat stars,,nudibranchs, sea cucumbers, lobsters, scallops and octopi.
Trails to beach at Pt. Fermin located at Barbara St. and Meyler or Roxbury St.
POINT FERMIN MARINE LIFE REFUGEPt. Fermin to Cabrillo Beach Groyne to 600' out no marine invertebrate, plant life or animal life may be taken, except lobster, bonito, rockfish, mackeral, perch, kelp, sand or spotted bass, corbina, croaker and halibut.
CABRILLO BEACH to POINT FERMIN 10- 35' Beg.-Adv.Beach or rocky shore entry within marine refuge. Site of annual "Chocolate Lobster Dive" Good night diving for lobsters. There are several wrecks in the Pt. Fermin area as well. Caution: Strong currents prevail with the tide change. Rocky shore is good for tidepool exploration.
L.A. BREAKWATER to 35' Beg.-Int.Breakwater boulders have kelp and provide lobster habitat. Good night hunting. Halibut are found over the sand near the breakwater, especially in springtime.