Aliso Beach
This was a long time bucket list dive site for me since I used to go to this beach all the time back in the day. Diving is distressingly straightforward especially since we did this for the first time the day after having done Thousand Steps. Parking is $5 and they had open restrooms at the buildings on the south side (which is a major thing when you're diving early in the morning!)

Dive wise we did two sites. The first was directly off the beach roughly halfway between the bathrooms and the north end of the parking lot. We had pretty good vis for a SoCal beach side so we picked up the reef easily but when in doubt head a bit to the north. You're looking for a long line of rubble heading straight out into open ocean.

At least when we were there there were thousands of fish along with the usual lobster and urchins in the rocks. There was also an impressive amount of debris that seem to get caught up along the rocks.

The second reef requires a bit more of a walk. Gear up at the parking lot and head south towards Camel Point aka that odd looking rock with the flat rock peeking out of the surf. We entered north of the rocks but be aware most of the interesting stuff is on the far side of the point so don't get discouraged if the initial sights aren't impressive. Before long we were exploring a series of deep fissures with massive populations of lobsters.

Thousand Steps Beach

So I'd heard of this one for a while talked about in fearful tones as people trudged up the 80 or so steps at Shaw's and Crescent. While the name may have you worried the good news is that there's only 218 steps. The bad news is they're steep.

My dive buddy and I meet at 6:30 am on a weekday so we were there plenty early to grab a park but I shudder to think what a weekend would be like. I took a few passes before I figured out where I could park

Due to the difficulty of the approach we brought both scuba tanks down to the beach with us. Since we dive on steel 80s and 85s that was quite a bit of weight down the stairs and I was concerned my damaged knees weren't going to make it. On the plus side it did amuse the people there running to stairs to no end.

Warning: At least when we went the lobster boat folks were really hostile to divers. When we surfaced we had one guy screaming at us from a distance and then another boat came so close I briefly thought he was going to run me over. Me proceeded to rant about how he knew we were stealing lobsters from their traps and told us that he'd already called the police.

Sadly no police appeared as it might have spared us having to haul our gear out of there if we'd been arrested but I'd keep an eye on the boats whenever you surface swim.

Other Resources

OC Coastal Weather Forecast
Weather forecast for the OC beaches

Recent Rain Totals
When it last rained and how much

Catalina Conditions
Shows swell and weather conditions for Casino Point

Dive BumS SD Dive Sites