Catalina Dive Sites: Two Harbors

Kelp at Two Harbors, Catalina

The diving at Catalina Island is some of the best in Southern California--even when it's not so great, like it was last weekend. I did four dives over two days, and found Catalina has been suffering from the same low-visibility problems as San Diego. I still had a great time! The Catalina dive sites I visited were Ship Rock, Eagle Reef, Rock Quarry, and Isthmus Reef.

Ship Rock

Catalina has some beautiful and healthy kelp forests, and the water was blue at Ship Rock, if a bit on the murky side.

On the rocky reef, we saw some shy garabaldi...

Catalina-garabaldi on rocky reef

... And some aggressive ones!

Catalina - garabaldi


Eagle Reef

Eagle Reef was one of my favorite sites this trip. There was just so much to see, like this Hermissenda crassicornis nudibranch:

Catalina-Hermissenda crassicornis

Catalina - Hermissenda crassicornis

We also saw so many adult horn sharks that I lost count after a while!

Catalina - adult horn shark

Catalina - adult horn shark

Catalina - adult horn shark


Rock Quarry

At Rock Quarry, the usual bottom-dwellers were out, like this rockfish:

Catalina - rockfish

Rock Quarry was also home to the biggest sea hares I've ever seen. The sea hares at La Jolla Shores are generally about 6" long. These were actually rabbit-sized!

Catalina - world's biggest sea hare!

Isthmus Reef

On the final dive at Isthmus Reef, we came across a den of California spiny lobster. If you look closely, you can even see one sitting upside down on the wall (to the left). Check out its glowing eyes!

Catalina - den of lobsters

I also saw this warty sea cucumber pretending to be a bridge.

Catalina - warty sea cucumber

As we were wrapping up the final dive in the shallows at Isthmus Reef, a few sheephead buzzed by.

Catalina - sheephead

We stayed at Two Harbors, which was a beautiful and sleepy small-town alternative to Avalon.

Catalina - Two Harbors

I love Catalina and can't wait to return!


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