Malaga Cove

Skill level/ necessary training: Advanced shore diving entry, Open Water diver for the dive.

How to get there: Use Google Maps and search for Roessler Point or Malaga Cove School. The parking lot is on the left side of Paseo Del Mar across from Malaga Cove School.

If you aren’t using Google maps, find your way to Pacific Coast Hiway, CA-1. Turn west on Palos Verdes Blvd for 2.8 miles. Turn right onto Palos Verdes Dr. W for .2 miles. Take a right on  Via Corta for .4 miles and then a right on Via Arroyo for .1 miles. Turn right on Paseo Del Mar and the parking lot is on the left side of the street.

Parking: The parking is a free public lot at Malaga Cove School. No parking 9PM-4AM. Pay attention to time if planning a night dive at this location.

Facilities: There are no showers or toilets at this location.

Surf conditions: is a great website and app to check surf conditions. “Lower Haggertys” is the closest same – direction spot to check. It is a NW facing beach and generally protected from southern swell.

malaga rocky entranceEntry: From the parking area, walk to the East side of the lot, across from the grassy fields at the school. There is a paved road going downhill next to Malaga Canyon. Take this road down and continue to the right as you pass the dumpsters. You will see the rocky entry on the left. High tide and low surf conditions are preferable for this entry. The entry is very rocky and requires sure footing through the surf entry. I discourage this entry with surf more than 1.5′. The butt scoot entry is reasonable. Crawling on hands and knees is a reasonable exit here. If you are not confident with the entry/exit over a rocky section, continue to walk past the rocks and enter on the sandy beach before a nice long surface swim back into the cove.

Dive site: When entering from the rocky section, surface swim out maybe 100 yards or less. Then, descend down into 10-15′ of water. Continue your dive following the kelp forest/rocky reef to the west. The shallow section of this dive site (20′ and less) is where there is the most life. The kelp is thick, so be sure to be careful as you swim between the kelp stalks to not get entangled. Look into all the crevices for abalone, lobster, and much more hiding. If you continue past the main reef area/kelp forest into the sandy area, you have a good chance of seeing angel sharks. If you continue your dive straight out from the rocky entry (to the north), you will have some rocky structure with limited kelp and enter into a mucky substrate bottom. Angel sharks hide well in the muck and horned shark and California spiny lobster hang closer to the rocky reef area.

IMG_0173What you’ll see: Pacific baracuda, Garibaldi, Halfmoon, Seniorita, Sargo, Green Abalone, Salema, Dwarf perch, Black perch, the occasional Harbor seal, California spiny lobster, Smooth turban snail (frequently on larger kelp leaves), Horned shark, Angel shark, Banded guitarfish, California Halibut, Kelp bass, White sea bass, blacksmith, Giant kelpfish, Opaleye, Zebraperch, Rock wrasse, California Sheephead, maybe even a California butterfly ray, California Golden gorgonian, Wavy turban snail, Giant green anemone

Emergency contacts:

Emergency Assistance: 911

Divers Alert network: 919-684-9111

Fire: 323-881-2411

Police: 310-378-4211

Emergency Hyperbaric Chambers:
Long Beach Memorial Hospital: 562-933-2000
UCLA Medical Center: 310-794-1031
Catalina hyperbaric Chamber- Emergency line: 310-510-1053

Divers Alert Network, non emergency medical questions: 919-684-9111