Monterey Bay Scuba Diving Information and Scuba Certification dives since 1991.

Pic on right is looking North from Del Monte Beach out to the "Shale Bed Area".

SHALE BEDS AT DEL MONTE BEACH
(BEACH AND BOAT OR KAYAK DIVES)
(SKILL LEVEL: ADVANCED)


Del Monte Beach is a sandy beach with a gradually sloping bottom. The depths in close are up to 40 feet or so, but if you go out about ¼ mile, the bottom drops down to 60 feet or more, and the sand gradually gives way to a fairly well defined reef system. This reef system is commonly referred to as the Shale Beds. This is a very nice dive and the shale beds are full of nooks and crannies which are home to a myriad of small critters. If you have never done this dive I highly recommend it. It is normally a very easy surface swim off of the beach. There are normally two flat barges anchored off the beach, keep to the right of these barges. Go out about 200 yards (for us city folks that is 1 1/2 blocks) or so and descend in about 50 feet of water and head out. You will come across a very well defined reef system in just a few minutes. The shale beds can also be accessed from San Carlos Beach, but I think using Del Monte Beach makes for a better dive, and not as crowded as San Carlos Beach.

The entire area does have patches of shale "here and there". If you are in less than 45 feet of water and come across some shale beds, you are not out far enough. You will know them when you see them, as they are rather spectacular. Beginning in May the shale beds are also marked by kelp growth as they are a natural home for the kelp holdfasts. This dive is also so gradual in its' descent that it may require use of a compass. Just take a heading off the beach before you descend and do a simple reciprocal course out and back.

The visibility at this beach can be marginal, but as you get further out it can clear up quite a bit. There is a sunken sailboat just off the beach about 100 yards or so to the right of Monterey Bay Kayaks (MBK) in about 30 feet of water.

To get to Del Monte Beach take the Pacific Grove / Del Monte Avenue turnoff and follow Del Monte Avenue until you get to the public parking lot adjacent to Monterey Bay Kayaks (almost directly across from McDonalds restaurant). This is a great spot for beach diving or small boat/kayak launch.

The decision to dive (or not) is your responsibility. Keep diving activities within your training and comfort level. If you feel more training or experience is needed before attempting a dive, don't dive. Know personal limits, skill levels, and abilities of yourself and your dive buddy. Dive Safely and Dive Often!

If you have any questions, concerns, or comments, contact me

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