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Back  |  USA: California Coast  |  Monterey

Point Lobos, Middle Reef in Whaler’s Cove  |  USA: Pacific Northwest

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Point Lobos State Reserve
Monterey County, south of Carmel

Type: Saltwater
Snorkling, Beginner, Intermediate
Access: Moderate Shore Entry
Parking: Good
Amenities: Restrooms

Ratings (1-5):
Reviews: 3
Enjoyment: 5
Visibility: 4
Current: 3
Aquatic Life: 3

Photo Gallery:

Jeremy at Middle Reef
Jeremy at Middle Reef
White Spotted Anemone
Bat Star
Opalescent Nudibranch
Opalescent Nudibranch
Leopard Dorid Nudibranch
Boat Launch in Whaler


Large Rock Formation / Pinnacle, Boulder Pile / Shelves, Kelp Forest


Point Lobos State Reserve boasts the most spectacular California shore dives. Its protected status and limited access have allowed the marine life to flourish among the most beautiful natural surrounding such as walls, giant kelp forests, and granite reefs.

Enter the water at the boat launch in Whaler’s Cove and swim parallel to the parking lot past the first small point with some rocks that are exposed above the surface. Descend and swim North East across the sandy channel until you encounter the thick kelp and granite reef that extends parallel to the northeast cliffs of the cove. This is a shallow dive with playful harbor seals, large schools of blue rock fish and an abundance of large granite structures covered in invertebrates and fish life to explore. The structure gets larger and deeper the farther north you swim.

See the Point Lobos website for more information.

Special Restrictions:

Access restricted 15 Dive teams daily (2 divers to a team). You must reserve in advance, especially on weekends if you hope to get a spot for the day. Please visit the Point Lobos website to make your reservations.

There is a launch in Whaler’s cove for kayaks and inflatables. There are restrooms and beautiful walking trails for non-diving activities. This is a marine sanctuary so no fishing or removal of shells or sea life is permitted. STRICTLY ENFORCED!

How to get there:

The park entrance is located on Big Sur Coast Highway Route 1 about 4 miles south of the Hwy 68 intersection. You will be given a map and instructions to guide you to Whaler’s Cove where divers enter the water via the small boat launch.

Thanks to ChevaYEA for submitting this site!
  Comments Leave Review  
ChevaYEA2/17/2008Rating: 5
This is a fun and easy dive with lots to explore. A good place to get use to diving with surge. At the end of middle reef you'll find some sizeable walls on your right if you follow the sand channel out.

SwimmerTodd2/17/2008Rating: 5
Middle reef is actually made up of 3 parallel reefs. We explored the first 2. What a great dive! There are granite walls and overhangs, canyons, etc. Beautiful giant kelp runs to the surface and is amazing to take in. You have to make reservations well in advance to get in on this dive, but it certainly worth it.

Slobert2/17/2008Rating: 5
The middle reef is fun to explore and easy to get a little lost. Towards the end of the dive its not a bad idea to surface and take a heading to the exit at the boat launch. Or test your navigation and dont get lost! Lots of boulders and overhanging reef structure. Thick kelp means bring a dive nife and or shears and be careful what you cut! As you move out to the end of middle reef there are some good sized walls. Very nice location.


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