Overview of Monastery Beach North

Monastery Beach North

Monastery Beach North
California North
USA West


Site Review by
 Alex Matsumoto
Date: 09/21/2009


Site Condition
(1=worst, 5=best)

Name:  Alex Matsumoto Entry:    2.00
Email:   Click Here Bottom:    5.00
City:   Sunnyvale Reef:    5.00
State:   CA Animal:    5.00
Country:   USA Plant:    5.00
Diving:   10 years Facilities:    2.00
 Dives:   250 Solitude   3.00
    Roads:    5.00


*Average:    4.25
Monastery is the best shore diving in the Monterey area for experienced, physically fit divers. The Monterey Canyon can be reached with a short 50-75 yard swim off the beach and divers can easily go as deep as they dare. The wildlife is abundant, diverse and breathtaking and visibility ranges from 15' to 100' but averages around 30'-60'. However the waves, surge and depth can make this beach extremely dangerous unless you are one with your gear, know how to handle the conditions and know your limits. On calm days anyone can dive here, but those days are infrequent. Most of the time this dive is an intermediate dive with 2-3' waves. Occasionally it is an advanced dive with 4-5' waves and anything over that should be avoided. I personally dive here almost every weekend in the summer and have made some entries/exits that most would probably describe as nuts. On one occasion I lost my regulator, had a dump valve stuck open so my BC wouldn't inflate (sand) and was stuck in 4' surf at 8' depth. Holding your breath underwater in heavy surf wearing 50 lbs of gear without buoyancy is a very real situation you may have to face on this beach and you must be mentally and physically prepared for such a worst-case scenario. Luckily for me, I dive frequently enough to keep my cool underwater and can hold my breath for 2.5 minutes if necessary. I switched to my secondary air source and took a few breaths. I then removed my BC and held on to the shoulder strap leaving me in an inverted, hand-stand position. I found my primary regulator while clutching my BC, then simply dragged the whole mess back onto the beach. After that my buddy recovered the fin I dropped, I washed out the sand and went back out on a fantastic dive. Let my experience be a warning to all you divers that dive infrequently or aren't well experienced with beach diving. Avoid Monastery unless it is calm and you have an experienced beach diver to guide you. Remember that nobody can rescue you in heavy surf. Never dive Monastery solo.    

Enjoyment Level

Snorkel:    5.00
Beginner:    2.00
Intermediate:    2.00
Advanced:    5.00
Night diving:    3.00

Seasonal Information

Season:    Summer
Year:    2009
Visibility:    4.00
Current:    3.00
Surf:    1.00

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