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Monastery Beach South - Carmel CA

Monastery Beach South is a shore accessible salt water dive site, located in Carmel, CA. This dive site has an average rating of 4.07 out of 5 from 14 scuba divers. The maximum depth is 61-70ft/19-21m. The average visibility is 26-30ft/8-9m.

The most picturesque dive site in the Carmel area, Monastery Beach offers spectacular diving in the rocky, kelp-packed coastline. Do not attempt this dive unless you are advanced, and are comfortable in heavy surf.

Head South on Highway 1 out of Carmel. Park at the Southern end of the first roadside beach.

South Monastery is a great dive. Pick a flat day and go in next to the kelp at the south end of the beach. Park as close to the south end of the beach as possible. I used my dolly to move my gear; it saved me some trouble. Be respectful of Monastery- a man told me three people died here a few weeks ago- swept into the ocean. A Master Diver also died here awhile back. He was diving on a 10 foot swell day. Don’t be afraid to walk away from this dive- even if you drove a great distance to get here.

I love this spot, but any day diving at Monastery means being willing to call the dive if there is moderate swell. Because of the angle of the beach, waves crash here with a lot of force. Suit up well away from the impact zone, have your fins ON so you can swim out of the impact zone ASAP and do not take them off until you have backed or crawled out all the way to dry sand. Time your entry and exits carefully. Avoid mid-beach. Know your limits and don’t dive here unless you are capable of handling the entry/exit. Conditions can change rapidly. Summer is a great time to try this site; some days are glassy. The vis can be outstanding and the reef is beautiful.

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CAAdventureGurl - 12/29/2016 10:53 PM
Rating Added: 4
This is a wonderful dive and a much easier entry than the north side. It doesn’t go as deep, nor is there as much variety, but it usually has great visibility and has a good beach to dive from.
Winterone - 7/19/2014 8:04 PM
Rating Added: 5
We did 3 dives all with about 30-40 ft vis. Fantasitc day a little rough in the afternoon as getting out can be a challenge if you are not up for it. The waves can beat you up if you don’t get out of the narrow surf zone quickly. No shame here if you have to crawl out , that’s for sure.
MC - 6/01/2014 11:16 PM
Rating Added: 4
One of my favorite dive sites. Entry and exit can be tricky. Not for beginners unless it is very very calm surf.
Otis24 - 4/02/2014 7:43 AM
Rating Added: 5
This is my favorite dive spot in the Monterey area. However, as the description says if the surf looks big walk away.

I’ve seen loads of sea life here, much more than anywhere else. I’ve seen vis as good as 60 feet during an upwelling. You just need to come here a lot and if it’s bad then head somewhere else.
egunnison - 3/24/2014 1:57 PM
I went scuba diving here on 3/22/2014. Average viz: 16-20ft/5-6m. Water temp: 50-55°F/10-13°C.
First dive at Monastery, at either site. Hit the water about an hour after sunrise, already a decent break into the entry site. We rode the surge out and dropped pretty quickly, maxed out at 36 fsw. Kelp growth was great, not too thick to be unbearable. Played with a sea lion for a little while during his morning meal. Vis averaged closer to the 15 ft mark but we hit some areas where it opened to 25 or more. Definitely needed to time the surge and breakers upon exiting, but not too bad.
Keith_M - 7/18/2012 9:54 AM
Rating Added: 4
Dove here off of a small boat so no issue with entry or exit. Very calm day as well so shore dive would have been good as well. Vis really opened up under 40’ and went to 70’. Lots of life. Great dive!
scubawolf71 - 5/19/2012 10:36 PM
Rating Added: 4
Sea Lions, Otters, an occasional dolphin...plenty of life in a beautiful setting, a kelp forest. Good vis usually. Entry and exit can get a bit tricky. It’s called the "Monastery Crawl".