Catalina Island Scuba Diving

Catalina Island Scuba Diving - The 4 Best Seasons to Dive Catalina

By Tim Sanchez

Catalina Island, CA offers excellent diving opportunities year around. The following is a snapshot of what you may expect when diving Catalina island in all 4 seasons.

January - March: Expect the water to be the coldest of the year, between 54 to 62 degrees, but you can also expect the best visibility of around 50 feet and sometimes much more. The kelp thrives in colder water so the kelp forest will be lush thick and healthy. This time of year you can look for migrating grey whales, jelly fish, white sea bass and plenty of the usual customers; sheepshead, kelp bass and Garibaldi. Winter is my favorite time for night diving as schools of squid come near shore to mate and lay eggs. The scavengers are out in full force so expect to find an abundance of lobster, torpedo rays, angel sharks, horn sharks, sheep crab and much more. Night time turns every dive site into a sea life wonder land.

April - June: The water starts to warm up to an average of 62 to 68 degrees. This time of year we start to see the bat rays out foraging in the sandy sea floor and the pelagic fish are starting to come around to hunt as the large schools of bait fish gather near shore.

July - September: Make your reservations early because this is the best season for diving Catalina Island as an almost warm water destination. Water Temperatures range from around 68 to 75 degrees and visibility from 20 to 30 feet with quantities of sea life that you would think is only possible to be seen in an aquarium or on one of those nature shows on T.V. This is the time of year to see Giant Black sea bass, huge schools of bait fish, yellow tail, bonito, leopard sharks, soup fin sharks and many other warmer water fish to many to mention.

October - December: As the summer high tourist season ends, the crowds are smaller and the town is a little more quiet but the diving is as spectacular as ever. The water is starting to cool down but with a good wetsuit it is still comfortable at 65 - 70 degrees and the visibility is improving to 30 to 40 feet and sometimes much better. The kelp forest is still teeming with life and there is still a chance to see the giant black sea bass and leopard sharks and some of our other summertime visitors along with plenty of the kelp forest locals that we all love to see year around. The Autumn season also marks the beginning of Lobster hunting season when many hungry scuba divers come around to try to catch these delicious but elusive crustaceans.

So, you may need to switch from a 7mm wetsuit to a 3mm wetsuit as the seasons change but one thing does not change; Catalina Island diving is among the best diving in the world every month of the year and if you have not tried it, you are missing out. Make your plans to visit Catalinia Island soon and experience giant kelp forest diving at its best.

Tim Sanchez is a scuba instructor and former resident of Avalon, Catalina Island. My website is an informational website created to encourage and help others to enjoy the wonderful sport of scuba diving by providing information and reviews of interesting diving locations, scuba education, photography and scuba gear. Please visit

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