Америка

Point Lobos

— Carmel, California

Northern Californians are a lucky bunch. Just a couple of hours from San Francisco are Tahoe’s ski slopes, Santa Cruz’s surf breaks and the town of Monterey, where new divers go for their open-water certification. While the diving is excellent at shore sites such as Lover’s Point and Breakwater, the best diving is 15 minutes away in Point Lobos National Park. Only 15 scuba-diving buddy groups are allowed into the park each day, ensuring the reefs remain pristine and the marine life unmolested. Steps from the parking lot, divers immerse under a canopy of thick kelp forests where light and shadow battle for supremacy. Look closely in the fronds for kelp crabs and minuscule snails. Lingcod patrol the reef edges, and nudibranchs flaunt their colors openly. A harbor seal — there are dozens lining the sandy shore — might pop by for a visit, if you’re lucky. But you’re diving Point Lobos — you’re lucky already. — David Espinosa

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