Catalina - Lovers Cove
Lover's Cove is a State Marine Conservation Area on the East side of the landing for the Catalina Ferry at Avalon Bay. A short walk along the railed path to a staircase will take you to a rocky beach where there are clear waters filled with many fish such as garibaldi, spotted sea bass, or California Sheepshead. No fishing or scuba diving is allowed and there is no lifeguard and be aware of the Glass Bottom Boats that cruise through the cove so you can stay away from them safely. The beach is rocky - no sand, so you can either tough it out in bare feet, put your fins on as quickly as possible and walk in backward into the water, or bring a pair of water shoes such as Tevas (my favorite for all rocky beaches everywhere) which will protect your feet with solid thick rubber soles and allow you to slip into fins easily once floating in the water. The water is temp is cool, even in the summer with temperatures ranging from the upper 50 degrees Farenheit in the winter to a max of 70 degrees in the summer, so bring a wetsuit or spring suit if you need to or rent one nearby.
Lovers Cove Beach View
There are rentals available for all snorkel gear such as fins, mask, and snorkel at stands on the Green Pleasure Pier. Lockers are also available to store valuables at the boat terminal area or bring a dry pack from a dive shop to store your wallet, keys, and phone - I use mine every time that I snorkel and it has yet to fail me! Put your towel and dry clothes up high and away from the rocks to ensure that they stay dry. Water depth ranges from 10 to 15 feet when you paddle out.
Sea Bass in a Kelp Forest
Stairs down to Lovers Cove Beach
The fish are very plentiful and fish food may be purchased nearby and the marine preserve allows people to feed the fish. The fish are used to being fed from the glass bottom boats as well as from snorkelers. The fish, especially, Garibaldi (the orange fish), can be a little aggressive to humans - they are expecting you to have food! They might give you a "bite", but it doesn't hurt. These fish don't have teeth. As you swim out, you will find yourself surrounded by fish, looking down at kelp and other ocean plant life. Be sure to bring a waterproof camera to shoot pictures and video of your adventure under the water's surface. When you are finished enjoying the cove, there are public showers available to use near the beach for a few bucks for the first 5 minutes and $1 for each minute afterwards.