Conditions in the Monterey Area:
about 10°-15° C (typically
coldest in the spring when upwelling follows prolonged NW winds)
from a couple of feet to over 50' depending on time of year and location
(pea soup during plankton blooms resulting from upwelling + sunshine;
often clear in the fall and in winter between storms, but turbid after
rain run-off and wave action; can be spectacular at Carmel Bay dive sites,
especially when oceanic water is close to shore).
from about 20' to 60' feet in kelp beds inside the bay, and deeper (75'-100')
at reefs beyond the kelp (e.g. Hopkins Deep Reef); the kelp beds off Cabrillo
Point, where Hopkins is situated, are found on granite substrate to a
depth of about 60'. Carmel bay kelp beds along the shore are found on
rocky substrate as deep as 70'-80', while the Pinnacles off 17 Mile Drive
start in about 60' and drop off to 120' +.
Currents are not usually a problem, although they are occasionally
strong at offshore sites such as Yankee Point, Pinnacles, and sometimes
even Deep Reef. Wind waves and surge can be significant at certain times
of the year, especially at exposed locations, and on the open coast conditions
can deteriorate very rapidly with little warning.