Mendocino Coast Abalone: The major diving attraction along Mendocino coast is abalone. Spear fishing is also popular and in August of 2000, the US National Free-diving Spearfishing Championships were held in the Russian Gulch area just 6 miles south of Noyo.
The rockyand scenic Mendocino coastline features extensive kelp forests providingexcellent habitat for both abalone and fish. There arenumerous places that provide easy public access. Bull Kelp is the predominate kelp species and Little River Bay at of Van Damme State Beach features oneof California's northern-most stands of Giant Kelp. Popular dive sites include, Westport, MacKerricher State Park, Glass Beach, Noyo Bay, Caspar Bay, Mendocino Bay and Albion.
Click here for a map of the Mendocino coastline from Albion to Westport. This link is to a 120 KB file so unless you are using a fast connection, it may take a few minutes to download. Several good dive and kayak launching sitesare marked. You might find it useful for planning purposes, however itlacks sufficient detail to serve as your only guide to reach the varioussites.
Click here for a link to written descriptions of numerous access sites along the Mendocino Coast. While this access guide was written specifically with kayak access in mind, many of the access locations covered happento be excellent dive sites too. Obviously, the use of a kayak will alsoenable divers to reach areas that are bordered by steep cliffs and/or privateproperty which are otherwise inaccessible.
Abalone Rock Picking
The Fort Bragg/Mendocinocoast is California's top Abalone diving area and it can get crowded onweekends during abalone season (the open season is 4/01/04 to 6/30 &8/1-11/31/04) Fortunately, there are plenty of these delectable mollusksfor everyone but finding a place to park at the most popular dive sitesmay be a challenge.
Extended hoursduring abalone season on any weekend day with a daytime low tide of: -0.5feet or lessduring daylight hours.
Friday: ---------10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturday: ------- 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sunday: --------- 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
(10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day the rest of the year)