BAT RAY CITY & HALIBUT TOO
(BEACH AND BOAT OR KAYAK DIVES)
(SKILL LEVEL: NOVICE & ADVANCED)
To find the area I refer to as "Bat Ray City", I recommend swimming straight out from the beach for about 100 yards or so and descending in about 30 feet of water. From that point I normally take a compass heading of approximately 330 magnetic. You will cross many old pipes from Cannery Row, and use these as a navigation aid. You will finally come to a very large old pipe at least 30 inches in diameter. The bat rays are usually found in the sandy areas to the left of the pipe looking out to sea (30 degrees magnetic). There is no guarantee of course, and please don't assume the abundance of rays is equal to Stingray City in the Cayman Islands. Without looking for these creatures I seem to run across them every three or four dives.
Bat Rays are common from Oregon to the Gulf of California. They can grow to 6 feet in length and have very defined "triangular" wings. They do have venemous spines at the base of their tail which can cause a painful injury. These creatures are extremely gentle and very easy to approach - PLEASE LOOK, BUT DO NOT TOUCH. It is very easy to spot where they have been feeding because they make large depressions in the sand as they feed off the sandy bottom. If you start to spot the large depressions you are in the right area. If you decide to go looking for Bat Rays, it is best to stay about 10 to 15 feet off the bottom, and look for the telltale sand feeding depressions in the sand. Don't be surprised if you run across many halibut during your dive, as they both feed in the same type areas and it is not uncommon to see them in close proximity to each other.
To get to San Carlos Beach take Hwy. 101 to the Monterey Peninsula exit and on to highway 1 and past Fort Ord. Take the Del Monte / Pacific Grove Exit. You will now be on Del Monte Avenue. Stay on Del Monte Avenue for approximately 1 mile. After you pass McDonalds on your left you will come to a large controlled intersection called Washington. Take a half right at this intersection and go down into the tunnel and immediately get into the right hand lane and stay there. When you exit the tunnel veer to the right and you will automatically be on Foam Street. Turn right at the second signal light at Reeside Street and you will see the entrance to San Carlos Beach down the street and on your right.
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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