Cannery Pipeline

It has been said that if you can dive Monterey, California, you can dive anywhere in the world. Murky water melded with waves of kelp can blind the most skilled of divers. At Breakwater you can find every kind of diver, from the newbies huddled in pockets in the shallows to midlevel divers, like myself, gaining confidence exploring along the jetty, or more experienced divers searching out the more difficult terrain.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you’ll take on a challenge like hunting for the old cannery pipelines. Entering at the North end of the beach, a diver can come with the specific set of instructions to navigate the grid of underwater life. You can have the list of instructions: kick ten yards out, descend to about ten feet and find the first pipe. Follow the pipe for twenty yards and switch to a North heading until you come to an even bigger pipe. It is this life line that you follow to its end at an anemone field. But nature and the famed Monterey coast can foil even the most prepared diver.

I have attempted this dive on two occasions. The first time the visibility was so low we could barely find the five man group we dove with, not to mention we had the wrong bits of information to find the field we required. Needless to say our search for the pipes failed. On the second attempt, armed with a better understanding of compasses and only a single buddy, our search began anew.

Step one, know how far ten yards really is. Step two, descend and pray for good visibility. After locating the first pipe and following it to near end for twenty yards, find north and keep your eyes peeled. What appears to be a large rock formation covering in outcroppings of kelp will appear before you, revealing the final pipeline. Final step, observe every spectacular image that crawls or floats across your path. Prancing decorator crab, sunflower starfish, and many kinds of fish flock to this reef-like pipe. Further along the famed pipeline you can see brightly fashion nudibranchs, stealthy hidden rays and halibut. And once you reach the end, you’ll want to turn right back around and see it all again.