Diving Crystal Cove At Reef Point & Pelican Point

  • Updated: October 04, 2019
  • Post By: Matthew Hengst

October 4th, 2019

After yesterday's all day excursion to La Jolla Jack and I had another morning free and wanted to try something that involved a bit less driving. So we decided to head over to Crystal Cove which is located not far north of our usual stomping grounds in Laguna Beach.

This was our first time diving of Crystal Cove and based on information available online we decided to give Reef Point and Pelican Point a try.

You can easily pick out the rocks of Reef Point as your driving north along PCH and the park entrance entrance is marked as Reef Point as well.

Crystal Cove does have rather expensive parking at $15 a day but fortunately Jack has a Golden Gear Pass which was able to get us in for free. We ended up meeting at a local Starbucks across the street and piling everything into the Jeep.

We parked at the lot to the south of the entrance but in retrospect looking at the satellite map it would have been a bit easier if we'd used the one to the right.

We talked to a free diver at the parking lot who said visibility was disappointing which provoked the usual jokes about how we occasionally go diving in Laguna in 5 ft vis.

We followed the trail behind this bathroom and then down a ramp to the beach itself.

Despite the fact someone was trying to surf the waves were pretty small which made for an easy entry.

Sure enough the visibility wasn't the best. Maybe 10 ft and sandy.

We swam out until we started passing lobster traps. Somewhat surprisingly despite the fact Crystal Cove is a marine protected area people are allowed to take lobster and other critters out of here.

We ran into both active lobster traps...

...and the occasional old abandoned one.

Out in about 30 ft of water we hit extensive rock work that had a massive amount of fish. At least from what we could see.

We also ran into a boat anchor with a broken line attached. We managed to get the rope portion off and took that out but left the metal bits.

Hauling all our gear back up the stairs to the car made us appreciative of how easy La Jolla had been the day before.

For the second dive we relocated to Pelican Point which required going back out to PCH and using a different entrance further north.

This one was an even longer hike to get down to the water since after getting to the cliffside the trail then swings north and goes on for quite a ways.

The beach was quite busy for a weekday including a mass of young children that seemed fascinated by us as we checked our gear and waded out into the surf.

The waves were starting to get a bit bigger and when we first dropped down we had almost no visibility thanks to the sand being tossed around by the strong surge. Fortunately both improved once we got deeper.

After swimming out a good distance we hit some reefs which had an impressive collection of fish and provided a bit of protection from the surge.

The Franko map for Crystal Cove promised kelp and we did manage to find some once we got deeper but I'd say at least right now there's more out at Seal Rock.

Exiting here proved to be a bit on the challenging side due to the rocks hidden in the surf. We went north thinking we were past them into the sand but I was almost slammed down on some shallow rocks during a particularly large wave set.

Next up: diving the oil rigs with the Sundiver Express!

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