Diving The Cleo Street Barge (aka Foss 125) In Laguna Beach

  • Updated: October 11, 2019
  • Post By: Matthew Hengst

October 11th, 2019

Welcome to another extended weekday diving morning thanks to the whole not being employed thing!

Jack and I have been taking advantage of the recent ideal Laguna diving conditions and I was eager to try out some locations other than our usual Crescent / Shaws / Divers hangouts. I remembered seeing a post about the Cleo Street Barge which is one of the rare wrecks to can easily reach from the shore around here.

Beach access is via Cleo Street a short distance south of the intersection of PCH and Laguna Canyon.

Parking is very limited and it's all metered but at least they take credit cards these days. There's also a 3 hour time limit which was enough for us to get two dives in.

We went for the 9 am high tide which in retrospect wasn't the smartest move since by that time even on a weekday the streets were a zoo. I lucked into a spot while Jack was stuck dropping his gear and parking a block or two away.

Beach access is down a fairly steep set of stairs and the last is a bit of a doozy if you happen to be wearing 60 lbs of diving gear.

Waves were negligible this morning though we did have to watch out for a few shallow rocks as we waded out.

I was following directions I found online and for the first attempt I lined up with the stairs and then swam a bearing of 230 degrees which is basically straight offshore. We surface swam what felt like a fair distance and then followed a bearing underwater until we eventually passed 55 feet. After a stretch of unmarked sand Jack was starting to run low on air and we turned back. Despite spreading out we never found any sign of the barge though in the normal SoCal shore visibility you don't have to be too far off to miss something completely.

For our second attempt I followed a different set of directions which proved to be a lot more reliable for us.

Instead of the stairs we lined up with the grey building just to the south with the sign reading Water's Edge and swam straight out. And keep swimming.

We kept swimming until we reached the spot where Hotel Laguna (look for the bell tower off to the north) was at a bearing of 0' and down we went.

We hit the bottom at 44 ft and found we'd basically landed right on it!

While it's not the most impressive wreck I've visited it is a fair size and the fact it's local and shore accessible is a bit of a treat.

Next up it's off to Riverside to teach my mountaineering course and then we're heading out to Catalina to visit Casino Point!

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