One of the unique things about diving in California is the opportunity to dive on the oil rigs. There are only a few rigs available to divers and permission to scuba dive on them must be granted by the oil companies that own them. Currently, divers can visit Eureka and the “twins” Elly and Ellen. These rigs are 8.5 miles off shore in Long Beach, California. Eureka, sits in 720 feet of water. The support system for the rig makes an excellent artificial reef and offers shelter for schooling fish and sea lions. Recently, I had the opportunity to dive on Eureka, where I saw the largest school of anchovies I have ever seen.
The structure supports all kinds of life, such as starfish, muscles, scallops, anemones, and mating fish. In the photo below, two Geribaldi aerate their nest of eggs.
Divers enjoy the opportunity to photograph all the life on the rigs.
On this dive, a Cormorant came down to 60 feet deep looking for a meal.
Sometimes, the waters around the oil rigs can be treacherous with large swells, currents, and of course the depth and the hazards of open water. It is recommended that only advanced divers visit the oil rigs. Those that are qualified, will not be disappointed.