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Updated 3/14/2024

Diving in Southern California

Emerald Bay, Santa Catalina Island

Emerald Bay & Indian Rock 

2001-2005  M/V Rapture made weekly trips to Santa Catalina Island for church youth retreats during the summer and marine science classes during the school year.  The ship also traveled to Hawaii every winter for several months.  We collected or photographed marine life to create and conduct ecology and observation lab sessions.  All specimens were maintained alive in a custom seawater holding tank and returned to the reef in good health.
Fish ID Invertebrate ID

Diving and snorkeling from the ship was fun and a variety of habitats could be explored at each location in addition to many other popular dive sites accessible with four Zodiac inflatables.  Water temperature ranged from 52 degrees in winter to near 70 degrees in late summer but a thermocline was usually present near 80 feet where it dropped to the high-40's.  Visibility was normally 35 feet but varied greatly with sea state and bottom composition.  Currents were moderate and very similar to Hawaii.

Garibaldi & Kelp


Garibaldi & Kelp

Garibaldi & Sea Star


Keoki & Kelp Rockfish



Sea Lions on camera

Sea Lions at Santa Barbara Island


Yuko at the Sea Fan Grotto, Catalina


The highlight of diving here was the Giant Kelp forest.  The effect of sunlight streaming through the forest canopy was awesome and the many species associated with kelp were interesting and fun to photograph.  Rapture's dive team conducted a live video night dive on the first evening of a trip.  Guests watched and learned about the nocturnal community found right below the ship in real-time.  Selected animals were collected and placed in the touch-tank for closer observation.  This gives everyone a chance to learn about and appreciate the ocean and its inhabitants.


Rocky Reef

Rocky reefs/caverns


Kelp/Seaweed Garden

Kelp/seaweed gardens


Rubble/gravel beds


Sandy Plain

Sand/mud/eelgrass plains