Monterey/Carmel Dive Planner

Monterey Web Cams & Conditions Info

Cam: Bay looking towards downtown.

Wharf Cam: Looking over fisherman's wharf.

Santa Cruz and Monterey NOAA Marine Weather.

Marine Weather Advisory: So you can check winds and waves.

 Pt Lobos Our favorite Monterey dive spot...

 Tides in Monterey Bay....

Here is a rough estimation of factors that lead to visibility:

Wave Height Vertical waves are converted to horizontal surge underwater, which stirs up silt. The Wave Height determines the intensity of the surge. We want waves that are not high!
Wave Length Supposedly, surge only penetrates to half the wavelength of the swell, so we want a short wavelength and low wave height, rather than long wave length and high height. We want short wave lengths!
Wave Direction Waves don't go around corners very well, though they can to a small degree. If you know the direction, you may be able to predict what sites will be better off because they are sheltered from that direction. Look to be "upwind" of the swells. In other words if the wind is blowing directly ashore, that's a bad thing. If it is blowing offshore, that's a good thing. We want offshore wave direction!
Wave History Look at how long its been calm to see if things have had a chance to settle down. We want it to have been calm for a long time!
Wind Ideally, the wind blows against the waves, helping to dampen them. Usually, a wind towards the west does this, while an easterly makes it worse. We want westerly winds!
Sun Sun brightens the water and makes viz seem better. But it also stimulates plankton, which reduces viz. We want gray days in summer, and sunny days in winter!
Rain Rain is generally hard on viz. If nothing else, it washes more silt into the water. We want no rain!
Tide An incoming tide brings clear water inshore. Low tide helps the kelp and rocks to provide shelter from swell. We want a tide coming in!
Depth and Shore Distance Go deeper and further from store and you will be further from silt. We want to swim far from shore and dive deep!
Time of Day 10am to 2pm is optimal from a sun angle perspective to light the water. We want to dive from 10am to 2pm!
Time of Year Viz is better in winter--the water is colder and the days are shorter, both of which discourage the plankton. We want to dive in winter!

Monterey Dive Sites

Of these, I have been to:

The Breakwater: Winds blowing North, waves east or west.

Mexican Restaurant, also called McAbee Beach: Winds blowing North, waves east or west.

Lover's Cove: Winds blowing North, waves east or west.

Pebble Beach: Via Xanadu boat.

Carmel Dive Sites

I've been to:

Copper Roof: Via Xanadu boat. Winds blowing west, waves north or south.

Carmel River.

Pt Lobos Dive Sites

Whaler's Cove: Winds north, waves east or west.

Good luck and good viz on your next dive!

All material 2001-2006, Robert W. Warfield.