Casino Point Dive Park
Snorkeling and diving around Catalina draws thousands of visitors every year from around the globe. They come to explore our clear clean water teeming with life and enjoy the unique kelp forest seascape. The Casino Point Dive park is a key feature unlike any other in southern California. A protected area of coastline that is absent of boat traffic thanks to a barrier created by a series of buoys and floating line. In August, the town of Avalon is bustling. A constant exchange of visitors arriving or departing after experiencing their special time on this magical isle. There is also a constant cycle of life to witness in the marine environment. Juvenile fish mature and seasonal migrations pass by. Much of this can be witnessed from this easily accessible shore dive right in Avalon.
One thing is for sure, the underwater world is never boring, nor are the topside activities you can enjoy in Avalon. August is the last full month that most islanders will consider to be part of summer. Soon children will be heading back to school and the crowds in town will begin to thin. Life will take on a slower pace and hardworking islanders will again have time to enjoy their island home themselves.
Food and Fun
Avalon’s food and entertainment game has been experiencing some significant upgrades over the past few years. All this month the Cafe Metropole hosts live music every Friday and Saturday night. Do you like to sing, or just enjoy the show and/or train wreck of others on the stage? Either way, there is nightly karaoke available at El Galleon located on what locals call front street a.k.a Crescent Ave.
August 23rd offers an opportunity to sample a variety of local musical talent. Hot off the Range has been a local favorite in Avalon for two decades. They have a unique style & repertoire that encompasses just about every genre. Leaning towards Americana, western swing, folk rock, and bluegrass their sound is one-of-a-kind. A free, family friendly show will be presented by Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce on the Wrigley Plaza Stage from 6:00-8:30pm.
The Avalon Grille will be featuring several options to wine and dine at a discount this month. A daily happy hour will run Monday through Thursday 4:00-6:00pm, and Friday through Sunday from 3:00-6:00pm. Signature starters are also available daily from 3:00-5:00pm. Wine lovers, check out Wine Down Wednesday to take advantage of half-off select bottles of wine from open to close. They also offer an extended brunch on Saturday & Sunday 11:00-2:00pm. You’ll find them on the corner of Crescent Ave. and Catalina Ave. just before the base of the Green Pleasure Pier.
Not everyone knows about the hidden gem within the Holiday Inn hotel. Off the beaten path, nestled in the canyon above the golf course is the Seaport Bistro. Chef Greg Wenger puts forth a diverse menu and also offers up some great deals. Monday features a take-out or dine in special combo of pizza and friend chicken with sides for $25! There are also a variety of all-you-can-eat nights depending on what day of the week you are ready to indulge your senses. These include Chinese buffet Tuesday, Prime Rib Thursday and Fried Chicken Sunday; all of which are delicious.
Avalon is a special place for so many reasons and the Casino Dive Park tops the list. The occasional large bat ray can be found camouflaged in the sandy shallows. There are also schools of young barracuda outside the kelp line frequently spotted on our snorkel tours. Of course, there are the local fish friends that stick with us year round. The agressive Garibaldi darts to and from their algae patch chasing off any possible threat including the passing fins of divers. Schools of blacksmith, Chromis punctipinnis of the family Pomacentridae swim together in large numbers usually towards the eastern edge of the park.
Referral dives, also known as certification dives, are needed to get your SCUBA diver certification. If you want to get certified but can only come to Catalina for a few days there are options. You can complete your online (or classroom) training and your pool (or training) dives at another location. You can then finish your open water training dives with us in the Casino Point Dive Park! In order to complete your Open Water Diver certification, you need to complete four checkout dives. These dives must take place in an open water environment.
The Casino Dive park is the perfect place for this and SCUBA shops all over southern California journey to Avalon every weekend for this purpose. But remember, these dives can only take place after you have completed your online/classroom training and pool portion of the Open Water certification class. These final four dives take place over two days where you will be tested on the skills that you learned during the pool portion of your class. Once you complete the Checkout dives, you will be issued your Open Water Certification Card. Our staff is certified to teach SSI, PADI, and NAUI Checkout dives. Schedule yours today!
Your Next Step
Of course, we can take you through every step of the process to complete your entire SCUBA course instruction on Catalina Island. If you are already certified and interested in increasing your skills, we offer Advanced Diver certification. You can take specialty courses like night diver or dry suit diver to get ready for lobster season this October! You can take it a step farther and complete the Rescue Diver certification course and gain the knowledge of how to best help others in need. What ever your level or interest, Diving Catalina is ready to help you further your love of the ocean and reach your next goal. Visit our home page for a list of our available services.