Diver’s Cove in Laguna Beach, California is a local diver favorite! The beautiful, protected cove can reveal up to 40 feet of visibility. It had been 17 years since my last dive at that location.
It was a beautiful August morning. We arrived early to the dive site at Diver’s Cove as one always does in Laguna Beach as you cannot dive after 10 am. Down on the beach, there was a woman playing with her dog. As for divers, we were the only ones there. We geared up and headed down the stairs to the beach. We entered the water through only mild surf. As I peered down at the surface just after entry, a small stingray glided out of the rocks! Then as I descended, immediately a halibut darted off from just below me. A few minutes later, a full-size stingray soared over the top of the reef into the distance. This was going to be a great dive!
Kelp Beds and Walls
Looking into the rocks at Diver’s Cove, many fish including the well-known Garibaldi were seen swaying about in the surge. Spiny lobster were spotted hiding under the rocks. As we continued on, we stayed close to the rocks because just off the reef was a sea of white sand and not much life.
We made our way around the reef with the plan to exit at Fisherman’s Cove. We came across a nice wall reaching from the surface down to about 20 feet. This wall was full of life! There were fish everywhere swimming in and out of the holes in the wall and around the reef. Anemones and coral covered the wall.
As we glided through the surge, we came across many little kelp beds where kelpfish were staring at us and sheephead were following us. Suddenly, I noticed something odd. There was one sheephead in front of us that kept looking back. In the past, the sheephead have followed me around, but this one was out in front of us. Suddenly, another sheephead appeared, and another, and another…. Some of them were huge!
One sheephead bolted to the ocean floor and hit what looked like a seashell dead on. Upon further analysis, I saw that it was some sort of mollusk and what we were about to witness was lunch! I did not get close enough to identify what type of mollusk it was, but it was probably a clam. The sheephead continued at the shell until finally, it flipped over. All of the fish swarmed the area to get any bit of food they could.
We kept our distance so as not to disturb this incredible act of nature. Some of the sheephead glared at us with their nice teeth peering at us, letting us know to keep our distance. Many other fish joined in on the feast, but the sheephead ran the show and bullied away most of the other fish. The entire thing lasted about 5 minutes before the food was all gone. I wonder how often divers get to witness this at Diver’s Cove.
After the friendly feast, we continued towards our exit point on the other side of Diver’s Cove. There were several more kelp beds in the shallow waters. The exit was very rocky but had little to no surf. Once out of the water, it was an easy little paved road back to our car. Since we already had an amazing parking spot, we spent the rest of the morning relaxing on the beach and soaking in some sun.
Diver’s Cove: a nice shore dive for divers of any level!