Snorkeling Casino Point
The premier snorkeling spot in Southern California is Casino Point on the island of Santa Catalina, twenty miles from the city of Long Beach.
The Catalina Casino is the iconic structure of Avalon Bay and an Architectural accomplishment. The building was commissioned by William Wrigley, of the Wrigley chewing gum company, and completed in 1929. There is no gambling in this casino. The term is derived from the Italian word ‘casino’ meaning “gathering place”. The building is used as a theater, dance hall and museum.
The waters around the casino also provides quite a show. This area is a protected marine sanctuary with crystal clear waters reminiscent of an aquarium and free of the pollution of the mainland California beaches. Casino Point is home to 20 to 30 foot kelp and a diverse group of fish and vertebrate species. Unfortunately, during this visit the kelp was non-existent due to a recent storm that uprooted the kelp. Even without the kelp bed, it is the best snorkeling experience in Southern California. The fish have no fear since they are protected from harm and will swim alongside you. They are also fed by glass bottom boats who cruise along the coast so the fish no longer have fear of humans. The main attraction is the state fish, the garibaldi, an orange fish that stands out like a princes in a fairytale.
October 2, 2015, I lost track of where I was. California doesn’t have waters like this, crystal clear with visibility of 30 to 40 feet reserved for tropical locations. I promise to return next summer to once again swim in these waters and I hope the kelp beds return, to swim with turtles and sea lions as I once did on my previous trip here.
Who’s with me?