Join me as I explore diving in Southern California

The Dive Table podcast is a new endeavor for me. I have been a guest on a few different podcasts in the last year or so and when the opportunity came up to be Jay’s cohost, I decided it was the right project for me. Jay and I have been figuring out our dynamic, recording episodes, and locking in what we want to do with the platform. One thing has been clear from the get go – we want to nurture a fun, inclusive, and supportive community of divers. That’s why we invited people to join us for a meetup.

This was extremely informal. We came up with it only a few weeks before I drove to San Diego, and we were stoked to see a little group gather to explore La Jolla Shores with us.

La Jolla Shores

The shores is a great dive site for any level of diver. In fact, the day we were there, several Open Water classes were going on. The main safety point is to pay attention to the weather forecast and wave height because the waves can get quite aggressive, which is why it’s such a popular surfing spot as well.

There are several dive sites along La Jolla Shores. All of them are a huge surface swim away, so make sure to fuel up with healthy food and stay hydrated throughout your dive day. You’ll be in shallow water for most of the swim out and the dive sites start at the drop off to the canyon. I have only been to this dive site a few times before, but it’s an intuitive place to explore. Drop down, explore the wall of the canyon, keep track of your bottom time, and when you head back to shore, you can do your safety stop as part of your swim back.

La Jolla Cove

The Cove is another dive site I’ve been to a couple of times, but this place is usually an absolute zoo, so I have canceled diving there about as many times as I’ve been in the water. If you want to dive this spot, get here early in the morning, and keep in mind that you only have 3 hours for parking, so get ready, get in the water and if you want to do a second dive that day, have a plan for a second location.

The La Jolla Caves

Jay and I attempted to go into the caves, but when we got there, the surge had picked up and there didn’t seem to be much to explore. I’m sure we were just being cautious since neither of us were familiar with the area, but I’d love to hear from people who have done this dive so that we can try again next time I’m in town. 

Horn Sharks

Despite our plans getting derailed, we had the sharkiest dive I’ve ever had in San Diego. Jay pointed out the first horn shark and from there, we saw them everywhere. Horn sharks are known for their small horn-like appendage in front of their dorsal fin and hang out in shallow waters (usually less than 40 feet) along the seafloor. They hunt at night and eat crustaceans, urchins, small fish, and mollusks. Female horn sharks lay spiral egg cases with only one pup per egg, which take about 6-9 months to hatch. They can grow to almost 4ft in length and can live around 25 years old, although there are outliers who have lived many years longer.

The horn shark is not targeted by commercial fishing, but because of their bottom-dwelling behavior, they do get caught as bycatch in traps and trawls.

Shaw’s Cove

This spot is great for all levels of diver because you have options to stay outside of the crevice or head into it and explore the swim throughs. As Mitch noted before the dive, if you do want to explore the channels, make the call based on the waves and strength of the surge. If you do go into an area with strong surge, treat it as you would any other strong current situation – stay close to the ground, have your hands free in case you need to hold on somewhere, and use the water movement to help you through areas.

The crevice is beautiful and I can only imagine how gorgeous it would be on a sunny day with the light beams filtering in through the reef. Good buoyancy and spatial awareness is important here to avoid touching the sides or bottom of the structures.

I had my GoPro in one hand and my camera setup with my light in the other. I watched Mitch go into a particularly surge-y part of the crevice, and decided to put the GoPro back in my pocket in order to be prepared. It was a good call because we got white-washed in the surge. At one point I lost visual on Mitch and wasn’t sure where to go. There were two paths, one to the left and one to the right, so I just got in tune with the water movement and followed the path of least resistance, which opened up to the next portion of the dive site. All three of us reconvened there, had a laugh, and continued the dive. 

I will say that if I was exploring that dive site by myself, I probably wouldn’t have gone into the crevice in those conditions. However, Mitch showed us the way and now I consider it one of my favorite shore diving sites along the California coast.

Van repairs

Shortly after that last dive, I left San Diego… and immediately broke down on the freeway heading north. I got myself out of the situation and I share details about what happened, along with upgrades I’ve made to the van in my latest Patreon video. You can check that out by signing up for the community. 

Now I’m getting ready for my trip to Indonesia and my KOMODO DIVE EXPEDITION. Over the next few weeks, my videos will be back to some teaching content until I start sharing my experience about returning to Indonesia. Thanks for watching and subscribe to see what happens next! 

Join me on upcoming Azul Unlimited dive expeditions

See what trips are coming up. I always give my community first dibs on spots, so you can sign up for Patreon (and get trip discounts) or my email list to be the first to know about new expeditions in the future.

scuba diving trip to los cabos
whale shark snorkel trip to la paz

Follow on socials: