Top 3 San Diego Kelp Forests for Diving
Diving some of the earth’s most magnificent giant kelp forests is only minutes from San Diego. A rich underwater ecosystem, kelp beds, thrive with a massive variety of plant and animal life. With more than 800 species, divers can often see sharks, seals, turtles and thousands of fish all at a single site. One of the fastest growing plants in the world the giant kelp will grow over 2 feet in a day to a height of over 100 feet tall. Here we list the best kelp forests sites for scuba diving from San Diego to La Jolla and what is unique in each area.
#1 Boomers’ Giant Kelp Forest
The most beautiful spot to kelp dive in San Diego is the Boomers’ kelp forest. The giant kelp dominates this area located south of the protected marine sanctuary. It is easiest to enter the ocean from the beach at La Jolla Cove and then head around the point to the west and Boomers. The densest areas of the forest with the most sea life are no more than 200 yards offshore in 25 to 60 feet of water. Keep a lookout for California spiny lobster hiding under rocks or in the holdfasts. Be alert, the areas underwater rocky channels are a favorite place for harbor seals to grab dive fins. This site can be hazardous when there is large surf.
#2 Rock Pile at La Jolla Cove
Another epic kelp dive is at Rock Pile on the west end of the La Jolla Ecological Reserve. Check out our morning 2-tank group dive. Enter at La Jolla Cove beach and head about 300 yards straight out from the steps to the edge of the giant kelp forest. The site is 30 to 60 feet deep in most areas. Diving to the north and the sandy ocean floor becomes rocky and the forest denser. Look for warty sea cucumbers, sea fans, giant spined sea stars and big white sheep crabs on the rocks. Head east to shallower depths and into the thick feather boa kelp. The area is a typical spot to see some of the larger tope sharks or the prehistoric sevengill sharks.
#3 Point Loma Kelp Beds
Another local kelp bed runs along the coast of Point Loma all the way to the Cabrillo National Monument. This locations forest is pretty big with lots of marine life and a variety of species of kelp. Diving depths range from shallow rocky reef to areas that are quite deep. The most common way to access this area is with the commercial dive boats out of Quivira Basin.