Diving in Channel Islands National Park
Some of the best snorkeling and diving in the world can be found in the cool waters surrounding the Channel Islands. In the relatively warm water around Anacapa and eastern Santa Cruz, photographers can get great shots of rarely seen giant black bass swimming among the kelp forests. Here you also find a reef covered with red brittle starfish. If you're an experienced diver, you might swim among five species of seals and sea lions, or try your hand at spearing rockfish or halibut near San Miguel and Santa Rosa. The best time to scuba dive is in the summer and fall, when the water is often clear up to a 100-foot depth.
Outfitters and Expeditions
Peace Dive Boat. Ventura Harbor-based Peace Dive Boat runs single and multiday diving adventures near all the Channel Islands. Travelers sleep aboard ship. 1691 Spinnaker Dr., Dock G, Ventura, CA, 93001. 805/650-3483. www.peaceboat.com. Day trips start at $105.
Spectre Dive Boat. This boat runs single-day diving trips to Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, and San Miguel. Fees include three or four dives, air, and food. 1575 Spinnaker Dr., Suite 105B-75, Ventura, CA, 93001. 866/225-3483 or 805/486-1166. www.calboatdiving.com. $100-$125.
Truth Aquatics. Trips to the Channel Islands lasting a day or more can be arranged through Santa Barbara-based operator Truth Aquatics. You live aboard the boats on multiday trips; all meals are provided. If you don't want to dive, opt for a one-day adventure and snorkel, kayak, and/or hike while other passengers explore the depths. 301 W. Cabrillo Blvd., Santa Barbara, CA, 93101. 805/962-1127. www.truthaquatics.com. $90-$835.
Raptor Dive Boat. Ventura Dive & Sport's 46-foot custom boat, the Raptor, takes divers on two- and three-tank trips to Anacapa and Santa Cruz Islands and is available for private charters. Ventura, CA. 805/650-7700. www.raptordive.com.
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