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San Diego County Coast

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Side 1 of Franko’s Map of San Diego County Coast shows the viewer right away that San Diego is a World class dive destination, as nearly every noteworthy scuba and snorkeling in the Southern half of the county are shown and described.  This includes several of the wrecks in famous Wreck Alley, such as the port-side-down Yukon, the strawberry anemone-covered Ruby E., the decaying El Rey, the toppled NOSC Tower, and the chunks of remains of the Ingraham St. Bridge, all of which are shown in a Mission Bay/Wreck Alley inset.  Similarly, an inset of the La Jolla area shows a dozen dive sites there.  The rapidly descending La Jolla Canyon, and the near-vertical Scripps Canyon are also shown in deepening blues, which were made with NOAA bathymetry data, plus data from Scripps Institution of Oceanography.  Dive sites aplenty include Scripps Canyon, Marine Room, La Jolla Shores, La Jolla Canyon, Goldfish Point, La Jolla Cove, Boomer Beach, Quast Hole and others.  The coast from Del Mar to Coronado is shown with major dive spots, and the major freeways and roads to get you there.  The famous kelp beds area off Point Loma are detailed, with dive sites including Sunset Cliffs, Osprey Point, Rockslide, and the Point Loma Kelp Beds, which is and extensive area.  This is also becoming a well-lover snorkeling spot as the “Dive Connections” ferry groups of snorkelers out to peer into the rich kelp forest.

Side 2 shows Franko’s Map of Greater San Diego Coast, which includes everything from Camp Pendleton to Coronado Islands, south of the border.  This map has a major change for the 2007 version onward, and that is it’s unbelievably beautiful bathymetry. The underwater can be visualized by this data-driven artwork. Yours truly is an ocean engineer by major, and I just love the look of ocean bathymetry where data is available. The look of the underwater from San Diego to San Clemente Island, and on down to Islas De Los Corodados is just fabulous. Along with beautiful underwater photography to show you some of the sites of the undersea world, there is an array of San Diego’s kelp forest creatures.  The local favorite Giant Sea Bass and several dozen more fish and invertebrates are shown amongst the thick kelp forest, which is what San Diego waters are famous for.  50 miles offshore sits San Clemente Island.  It’s favorite dive sites and the surrounding ocean contours are depicted to give the diver an idea of where he or she really ought to want to go.  I’ve heard divers report seeing every kind of kelp forest creature there, plus huge abalone, manta rays, sharks, electric rays, and even manta rays and green sea turtles. An inset zoom-in of Coronado Islands (Islas De Los Coronados) shows the nearby favorite dive spots which are actually in Mexico.  The Coronado Islands are rich in sea life, typically feature great visibility, and are easily visited via San Diego dive boats. Divemaster/owner Rich Sillanpa of Dive Connections dive boats actually takes people to as many as 100 separate locations to dive in and around these fabulous Mexican islands. The most visited locations are shown on the map with an abridged description for each. However, future map editions will inevitably include more sites, proving that every map is a work in progress.

Side one has the following captions:P38 & F18 AIRCRAFT 125’ - 135’ Adv.Two wrecked fighter aircraft in deep water straight off rocky beach (coordinates unknown). P38 at 125’, F18 at 135’. P-38 was ditched in 1943. F18 date is unknown.TORREY PINES 35' - 67' Int. - Adv.Usually a boat dive. Two artificial reefs, Reef #1 at 32053.20'N, 117015.80'W, is 67' deep and has 1000 tons of quarry rock. Reef #2 at 32053.58N, 117015.58'W, is 44'deep and has 3000 tons of quarry rock. Inhabited by rockfish, halibut and crabs.
San Diego - La Jolla Underwater Park: From high tide shoreline to 1000’ beyond low tideshoreline. No invertebrates may be taken except chione, clam, cockle, crab, lobster, scallop & urchin.
BLACK'S BEACH - Vicious surf when big, may be the best beachbreak in California. Best in W, NW or SW swell, knee-high to triple overhead. Surf may be up in any season, but winter is best with E wind. Sandy bottom.
San Diego - La Jolla Ecological Reserve: No animal or plant life, geological formations or artifacts may be disturbed or taken. Boat launch and retrieval limited to posted area and anchoring to daylight only.
San Diego Marine Life Refuge: From shoreline to 1000’ out marine invertebrates and plants protected.
BIG ROCK 10’ - 30’ Beg.- Int.Enter at Hermosa Terrace Park. Rocky reefs and kelp. Invertebrates include scallops and octopi. Rockfish, halibut and bat rays.BIRD ROCK to PB POINT 5’ - 25’ Int.Dive boat site or shore access down steep cliff. Sandy and shallow with rock piles and a big kelp forest. All kinds of kelp forest creatures, including lobsters, halibut, barracuda, halfmoon, lingcod and rockfish.TOURMALINE BEACH 5’ - 20’ Beg.- Int.Beach entry, but avoid surfers. Sandy with some rock reefs. Eel grass hides fish, including croaker and corbina. This may be San Diego's best halibut spot.ENTRY CHANNEL REEFS 65’ - 85’ Int. - Adv.Boat entry out to parallel finger reefs which protrude from sand directly in line with channel. Lobsters, sheephead, rockfish and yellowtail.OCEAN BEACH - Good surfing in W, NW or SW swell at 3' - 6'. Best in winter with E wind. Sandy bottom.SUNSET CLIFFS 15’ - 30’ Beg.- Int.Beach access at Ocean Beach Pier, or boat diving further south. Reefs have lobsters, rockfishes, treefish, cabezon, garibaldi, sheephead, señorita, spotted scorpionish and yellowtail.PESCADERO to OSPREY POINT 10’ - 40’ Beg.- Int.Steep small cliff access to rocky beach entry. Eel grass and kelp on rocks, plus sandy areas. Bugs, scallops, sheephead, opaleye, and yellowtail.ROCK SLIDE 5’ - 40’ Beg.- Adv.Small cliff access to rocky beach entry. Large rocks, small and large caves, and ledges. Lobsters, moray eels, kelp bass, halibut and sheephead. Caution: Surgy, heavy surf is dangerous for divingTHREE FINGERS REEF 50' - 75' Int. - Adv. 32042.56'N 117016.63'WOuter edge of giant Point Loma kelp forest. Large boulders with numerous colorful invertebrates. Tons of small fishes.POINT LOMA KELP BED 40 - 85’ Int. - Adv.Boat dive to numerous wrecks and wonderful kelp forests from Ocean Beach to Point Loma. Good visibility, particularly in south end. Colorful invertebrates include scallops, lobsters, anemones and nudibranchs. Numerous sheephead, kelp bass and lingcod. Photogenic as sun filters through kelp. Stay 200' offshore S of Nazarene College.NEW HOPE ROCK 20' - 45' Int. 32041.10'N 117016.00W'Boat dive to rock that rises 25' from sandy/rocky bottom. Lots of invertebrates inhabit rocks. Many small fishes.ZUNIGA POINT 10 ‘ - 30’ Beg.- Int.Boat or kayak entry to submerged jetty. S ubmerged jetty keeps harbor clear. Numerous wrecks. Halibut on sand, lobsters in jetty rocks.CORONADO 30’ - 50’ Int.Beach entry at Silver Strand Bl. Two sunken barges, and one sunken gambling wreck. Sandy area has halibut, rubberlip perch, white seabass
Wreck Alley/Mission Bay inset:PACIFIC BEACH - Good surfing in W, NW or SW swell at 3' - 6'. Best in winter with E wind. Sandy bottom.PACIFIC BEACH ARTIFICIAL REEF 42’ - 72’ Beg.- Adv.Boat dive amongst 10,000 tons of quarry rock in piles spread over 109 acres. Lots of fish and invertebrates, including lobsters and halibut.
MISSION BEACH - Good surfing in W, NW or SW swell at 3' - 6'. Best in fall and springwith E wind. Sandy bottom.BONITA COVE To 20' depth Beg.Common beginner check-out dive spot with surprisingly good lobster hunting.MISSION BAY CHANNEL To 20' Beg. -Int.Dive on incoming tide to avoid Mission Bay run-off pollution. N side entry from jettynear seaward of Harbor Office. S side entry at end of Mission Bl. Night diving for lobsters.WRECK ALLEY 40’ - 90’ Int. - Adv.Boat dive approx. 1 NM from entrance channel amongst intentional and accidental ship sinkings, which form artificial reefs. Much sea life grows here: Strawberryanemones, gorgonians, white plumed anemones.NOSC TOWER was 55’ tall, blew over in 1988 storm. 60' depth to bottom of tower. Strawberry anemonies abound, as do super-size seastars, and tons of fish.RUBY E is 160’ long CG cutter at 80’ depth, sunk in 1987 for marine life reef. Big lingcod, calico bass, bright strawberry anemones everywhere. Accessible bridge. Bring a light.OLD INGRAHAM ST. BRIDGE structure dumped in Wreck Alley in 1992. Marine life has taken over. Water depth is about 60'.EL REY kelp cutter was 110’ length by 50’ beam, sunk in 1986 at 90’ depth. Marine life covers the deteriorating hulkHMCS YUKONShip Data:Launched: 1961Sunk in Wreck Alley: June 2000Size: 366’L 42’B/2890-tonType: Canadian McKenzie-Class DestroyerSite: 100’ Depth @ 320 46.80'N 1170 17. 12'WShip is laying on it's port side facing northward
La Jolla inset:SCRIPPS CANYON 50 - 130’ + Adv.Boat dive or long swim to canyon ledge at 85’. At 90’ a steep 5’ wide crevice drops 135’ straight down. The ledge and crevice are known for colorful invertebrates, plus rockfish, lingcod, sand bass, electric rays, thresher sharks, and curious sea lions.LA JOLLA SHORES & CANYON 10’ - 130’+ Beg.- Adv.San Diego's most dived area and it's most used dive instruction site. Sandy beach entryby lifeguard tower #20. Starting at 300’ from shore at 35’ depth, the clay-wall canyondrops off. Diverse topography in dive sites including CABEZON CRUISER, SOUTH WALL,NORTH WALL, GORGONIAN GARDENS (aka SECRET GARDEN), VALLECITOS PT. (akaMAIN WALL), and FRINGEHEAD CITY. Gorgonians, anemones, crabs, octopi, spawning squid, sand dollar beds, leopard sharks, stingrays, huge bat rays, and biting sarcastic fringehead in holes.MARINE ROOM 10’ - 40’ Beg.- Int.Sandy beach entry in front of marine room restaurant. Common beginner check-out dive. Shallow rocky reefs and sand are within Ecological Reserve. Big fish are common in the deep, the sandy flats have corbina, halibut, bat rays, horn sharks, and in the very shallow water there are lots and lots of leopard sharks, particularly in late summer and early fall. Excellent snorkeling to see leopard sharks in water less than 6' deep.GOLDFISH POINT 10’ - 35’ Beg.- Int.Named for the numerous local garibaldi, California's State Fish. Entry at Cave St. path, or swim from La Jolla Cove. Interesting sea caves with rock reefs to right of Goldfish Point, excellent for snorkeling and kayaking. Kelp and fish abound.LA JOLLA COVE 10’ - 35’ Beg.- Int.Popular beach spot is crowded in summer, but easy beach entry and access to great sea life makes it worth it. Reef and rocks go from Alligator Head to Goldfish Point, with all kinds of kelp forest creatures and and huge schools of blacksmith and sardines. This is a favorite snorkeling spot and the world's most popular open water swimming spot.QUAST ROCK 40’ - 65’ Int. - Adv. 32051.37'N 117016.72'WBoat dive or long-swim beach dive to pinnacle and surrounding reefs and kelp. Photogenic pinnacle full of colorful invertebrates and kelp forest creatures. Pelagic species pass by. A cavern faces sandy slope offshore.T-ROCK 50' - 60' Beg. - Int. 32051.37'N 117016.72'W.Part of Quast Rock Pinnacle area, this rock is actually T-shaped. Lots of bouders and pinnalces jut up through kelp forest.ANCHOR ROCK 60' - 70' Int. - Adv. 32051.35'N 117016.68'WBoat dive 200' from Quast Rock to huge anchor-shaped pinnacle. Gorgonian fans, strawberry anemones, spnoges and lobsters. Huge sardine schools pass by. Sheephead hide in kelp and waving algae.GOD'S ROCK 50' - 72' Int. - Adv. 32051.34'N 117016.62'WBoat dive just E of Anchor Rock, which is just E of Quast Rock. Kelp forest pinnacle(s) with sandy area sloping away from shore.BOOMER BEACH 10’ - 40’ Beg.- Int.Difficult rocky beach entry, especially when surf is up ("Boomers" is named for the sound of it's surf). Rocky reefs and rock ledges host lobsters, rockfish and gamefish. Favorite bodyboard surfing spot for many.COUSTEAU MEMORIAL 40' Beg. 32050.94'N 117016.62'WStraight of Casa Cove (Children's Pool) approx. 200 yds. out. Original René Scuba Tank with stainless steel cross on top. "In loving memory of the Father of SCUBA Jacques Yves Cousteau”CHILDREN’S POOL (CASA POOL) 10’ - 30’ Beg.Manmade cove sometimes provides beach entry for swim to nearby reefs, but lots of harbor seals have taken possession of the beach. If seals are present, it is best to enter somewhere else.HOSPITAL POINT (WHALE VIEW PT.) 10’ - 65’ Beg.- Adv.Beach entry near 417 Coast Bl. is less than 40’ deep to 900’ offshore. Best to dive at high tide. Octopi, lobsters, bat rays, halibut, and gamefish.MARINE ST. 10’ - 50’ Beg.- Int.Beach entry to sandy and shallow reefs with kelp. Reef creatures include halibut, calico bass, white seabass, garibaldi, and sheephead. This whole area is good for snorkeling when calm.LITTLE POINT 20’ - 70’ Beg.- Adv.Boat dive or long swim to reefs. Good visibility over large rocks and kelp. Full of all kinds of kelp forest fishes.WINDANSEA - Year-round favorite surfing. Rock, sand and eel grass bottom. Usually crowded.
Side two captions are as follows:San Clemente Island:THE CAVERNS 40’ - 50’ Adv.Large and short volcanic caves with gorgonians on ceilings and kelp beds outside.MAIL POINT to LOST POINT 10’ - 30’ Beg.- Adv.Thick kelp often inaccessible due to wind and swell. All kinds of kelp forest creatures.CHINA POINT 30’ - 50’ Beg.- Adv.Extremely dense kelp canopy with crystal clear water. Reefs rise out of sand. Pinkand green abalones still exist.PYRAMID COVE 15’ - 80’+ Int. - Adv.Calm, protected from winds, with natural anchorage. Thick kelp forest full of colorful gorgonians, urchins in rocks, lobsters, abalones, large calico bass, horn sharks, treefish and scorpionfish.INSIDE BOILER 40’ - 60’ Beg.- Int.Rocky pinnacles in 40’ - 60’ of water project to near surface, with caverns and chimney chutes in volcanic rock. Colorful invertebrates are everywhere. Torpedo rays hover at a few feet off the bottom, so beware. Good sandy area for halibut.INSIDE BOILER WALL 30’ - 130’+ Int. - Adv.Depths to 50’ near Boiler Wall, to 130’+ seaward in series of walls and canyons. Colorful nudibranchs, golden gorgonians, and bright anemones. Large sheephead and huge calico bass. Visability to 150’. Pyramid Head Light 33001.85'N 118025.90'WFISH HOOK 15’ - 50’+ Int. - Adv.Varied terrain with great visibility, but sparse kelp. Moray eels, garibaldi, Halibut, Mackeral, calico bass.LITTLE FLOWER 30’ - 75’ Beg. - Int.Usually very calm with extremely clear water. Shallow wall dive with sandy bottom at 75’. Good yellowtail hunting for for freediving experts.WINDOWPANE 40’ - 110’+ Adv.Deep, bluewater reef with wall that drops off steeply. Excellent visibility and super photogenic with pink gorgonians, yellow anemones and moray eels.NORTHEAST SHORELINE 10’ - 130’+ Int. - Adv.Steep and deep just offshore. Black seabass cruise the slope. Pelagics include yellowtail and barracuda. Photogenic.THE TOWERS 40’ - 50’ Beg.- Int.Lush kelp forest ascends from finger reefs. Known for lobsters and a few Pacific electricrays (torpedo rays). Caution: 80 Volts.NINE FATHOM 55’ - 90’ Int. - Adv.Near Castle Rock in open ocean environment. visibility to 120’+. Colorful invertebrates include red and purple hydrocorals, and red, orange and purple gorgonians. Pelagics include jacks and ocean sunfish.
Coronados islands:KEYHOLE 20’ - 40’ Int. - Adv.Dive-through hole near island is an archway above water level, with 100’ wall on south side. Sea lions seem to like divers. Purple coral at 70' on seaward side of keyhole.OSCAR’S HOLE 20’ - 30’ Int.On west side of Middle Grounds Rock. Rocky reefs, crevices, and sandy bottom. Beautiful orange gorgonians, purple corals, and a carpet of corynactis anemones. Fish include lingcod, calico bass and the gregarious garibaldi. Caution: Exposed to west swell and wind.THE GAP 50 - 75’ Int. - Adv.Terraced reefs and pinnacles descend to sandy bottom. Colorful invertebrates include nudibranchs, octopi, scallops, gorgonian sea fans and urchins. Fishes reside on reefs and pinnacles, bat rays cruise the sandy bottom.SEAL COVE 20’ - 40’ Int.Sheer walls drop to sandy bottom. Harbor seals and sea lions play. All kinds of kelpforest fishes include plentiful garibaldi and schools of blacksmith. Invertebrates includelobsters, Spanish shawls, and huge sunflower stars.CASINO POINT 10’ - 40’ Beg. - Int.By old fishing village, this dive descends over rocky reef from near shore to 40’. Excellent snorkeling.85-FT. REEF 60’ - 85’ Adv.Kelp forested area offshore 0.75 miles east of lighthouse. Great visibility and pelagic fishes make area good for game fishing. Caution: Severe currents.PUERTO CUEVA LIGHTHOUSE 10’ - 30’ Int.Harbor seal haulout on shore. Great visibility in shallow boulders and rocky reefs area. Known for game fishing.QUEEN'S POINT 40' - 45' Beg. - Int.Ridge between Middle Grounds and North End. 1000's of white urchins and black-eye gobies.CORONADO DEL NORTE 10’ - 100’ + Int. - Adv.Rock and sand bottom with steep cliffs. Good visibility all around island. A cave thru south tip is dangerous. North tip is exposed to currents, swell and wind, and thus its name, "Pukey Point".LOBSTER SHACK 30’ - 65'’+ Int. - Adv.Good boat dive in clear waters. Rocky with lots of kelp. Steep slope from shoreline. Wreck of small boat at 60'. Sea lions and harbor seals often act coy with divers. All kinds of kelp forest fish, sunflower stars, lobsters. A few old glass artifacts from long-ago lobstermen can be seen along steep slope.PUKEY POINT 40’ - 120’+ Adv.Good drift dive due to strong currents. Strong swells give site its name. Rocky reefs, walls, pinnacles and kelp. Big bat rays and pelagic fishes.
San Diego County Coast:CAMP PENDLETON 30’ - 60 Int. - Adv.Boat dive(s) off Camp Pendleton to artificial rock reef at 33019.30' N, 117031.42' W (10 NM from Oceanside Harbor at 3040 mag heading. Horno Canyon & French Canyon kelp forests and reefs. Fishes, lobsters.OCEANSIDE HARBOR 40’ - 60’ Int. - Adv.Artificial Reef # 1 consists of 2000 tons of quarry rock approx 1.75 NM from harbor entrance at 2020 mag heading. Artificial Reef #2 consists of 12 piles of quarry rock(10,000 tons) approx. 2 NM from harbor entrance at 2480 mag heading. Poor visibility, but good fishing.OCEANSIDE HARBOR - Surf beachbreak between two jetties in swells from all directions, year-round.CARLSBAD 20’ - 40’ Beg.- Int.Beach entry at Carlsbad State Beach with sandy and rocky bottom. Kelp here and there. Gorgonian coral field near power plant. Good fishing for halibut, opaleye, jack mackeral, rockfish, yellowtail, & bonito.SOUTH CARLSBAD 10’ - 50’ Beg.- Int.Beach entry at South Carlsbad State Beach. Kelp south of submarine canyon. Fishing for halibut, sand bass, white croakers, rockfish, and mackeral.LEUCADIA 15’ - 70’+ Beg.- Adv.Beach entry at South Carlsbad State Beach or Grandview City Beach. Sandy bottom with rocky patches. Kelp south of Batiguitos Lagoon. Artificial reef with 10,000 tons of quarry rock in 40’ - 80’ of water just north of lagoon. Lots of fish.SWAMI'S - Ultra-long right reef break in W & NW swells. Knee-high to double overhead. Best when calm in winter at low to mid tide. Too popular to be worth it sometimes.SWAMI'S 15’ - 40’ Beg.- Int.Rocky beach entry south of self-realization center at Sea Cliff Roadside Park. Shallow reefs and kelp with anemones, nudibranchs, gorgonian fans. Kelp forest has lobsters, sheephead, calico bass, surf perch, and halibut. Caution: Divers avoid Swami's when surf is up.CARDIFF REEF - Good Surfing when Small in NW or W Swell. Best at 3' - 8' when calm at low to mid tide, in winter.CARDIFF STATE BEACH 20’ - 40’ Beg.- Int.Sandy beach entry by San Elijo Lagoon with reef 1000’+ offshore. Sandy bottom has sand sharks, bat rays, sting rays, corbina, angel sharks, sole, turbot, tube anemones, and clams. Reef has vermilion rockfish and lingcod.SEASIDE REEF - Fast & steep waves in W & NW Swell 2' to 6'. Best in winter in E Wind. Reef bottom at SEASIDE & TABLETOPS (just to south), Sand at GEORGE'S (further south).15th STREET - Surf on shifty left-hand beachbreak which peaks in W, NW or SW Swells 2' - 6', year-round. Bottom has reef on left side and sand otherwise.CARMEL VALLEY 30’ - 60’+ Beg.- Adv.Rocky beach entry to kelp forest. F-18 Fighter in 100’ of water off southernmost parking area (GPS data not available). Dolphins often surf here. Open ocean environment has halibut, rockfish, sand bass, & yellowtail. Leopard sharks spawn in shallows.S-37 SUBMARINE 15’ - 30’ Adv. +Sandy beach entry with long swim to sunken WWI submarine. Heavily corroded, shallow,poor visibility, subject to surf and surge, difficult and dangerous to enter submarine.USS HOGAN 130’ Very Adv.Boat dive to U.S. Navy Destroyer sunken during target practice at end of WWII. Three other destroyers were also sunken, but they are in even deeper waters. The USS Hogan ispatrolled by wolf eels. Caution: For advanced deep divers only.

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