Monterey State Beach


Also frequently called Del Monte Beach (though really, Del Monte Beach is farther north), or McMuffin Beach (because of the McDonald's across the street).

Monterey State Beach

Dive Sites

The Sailboat

The sailboat collapsed in big storms during the first half of 2017.  It is now a big pile of broken concrete about 150 yards offshore in about 25 fsw.  The good news is that that pile gives critters a lot more hiding spots, so it's full of life.

The upper deck partially collapsed in winter 2016.  This allowed waves to push inside the hull in winter 2017 and flex it back and forth until it failed.

Prior to that, it was one of the few accessible wrecks in the Monterey area, visible from the surface on good days.

I use a Nautilus Lifeline to find the sailboat via GPS.  See below for coordinates.  Start out on a 45 heading from the beach near the pier, or a 20 heading from McMuffin.

Some rough sight lines from the sailboat:
  • 206 - near corner of Monterey Bay Kayaks
  • 237 - Marriott hotel (roughly lined up with the back of London Bridge pub)
  • 273 - first small building on pier
  • 280 - second small building on pier
  • 287 - near corner of the big cannery building on the end of the pier
When swimming to or from the sailboat, watch out for kayaks.  Monterey Bay Kayaks does frequent group tours.  If visibility is poor, send up a DSMB and wait a minute before surfacing.

The Amtrack

This is the rusted out hulk of a World War II amtrack (fully tracked personnel carrier).  It's 40 yards from the sailboat on a 220 heading.  It also suffered during the storms of 2016 and 2017.  The turret has dropped into the body, and the sides of the body have partially collapsed.  As of September 2018, the turret is exposed, though the sand level can shift up and down by a couple feet over the course of the year.

There was an orange line running from the sailboat to the amtrack in Summer 2014, but it was washed out by storms in December 2014.

The Pier

There is a huge amount of life on the concrete wall on the first part of the pier, and on each of the pilings of the deeper parts of the pier.  The concrete wall also makes for decent snorkeling; it's sheltered from waves and surge, and is shallow enough.

You can swim along the outside of the pilings, but swimming underneath the pier or going into the harbor is not allowed without harbormaster permission.  If you look up and can't see light, you're under the pier; swim east until it gets light again.

The fishermen on the pier are sometimes jerks.  If you want to dive the pier, I recommend either starting out right next to the concrete wall and dropping down before you hit the end of it, or starting out well south of the first line of mooring balls, and swimming west to the pilings from there; the fishermen can't cast out that far.  Make sure you have a line cutter (or dive shears or knife) in case you get hooked.

Watch out for boats above you when surfacing near the mooring balls, or near the pier.

Also note that the pier bends midway out.  The safe heading back is not parallel to the first part of the pier, but to the second part of the pier.  This is particularly important if you go off the end of the pier, where heading back south will take you inside the harbor!

Shore Information

If you're headed for the sailboat:
  • Park in the small parking lot across from McDonald's.  Diver call this lot "McMuffin."
  • There are bathrooms in the gray building along the biking trail, but they're sometimes locked. (if so, see below)
If you're diving the pier:
  • Park on the first part of the pier.
  • There are bathrooms at the corner of the pier.
In either case, entry to the water is very easy.  The beach is a wide open, slowly sloping sand beach.

Map

(click on map for bigger picture)

GPS Coordinates

  • N36 36.193 W121 53.117 - The Sailboat
  • N36 36.182 W121 53.136 - The Amtrack

Photos

Photos albums from this site: