Farnsworth Banks (Catalina — 60-200+ fsw)

Farnsworth Banks are a series of underwater sea-mounts about 1-2 miles off the shore of Catalina.

They are a relatively famous dive site in Southern California but are a bit “out of the way” since they are on the backside of Catalina and about mid-way which means you need to go all the way around either the east end or the west end to get to them.

I had never been to Farnsworth and I had a friend in town from the Bay Area. We had planned to go diving with Kyaa on the Sundiver the day before Thanksgiving. The conditions were amazing and the timing was right so we all decided to go to Farnsworth.

We were not disappointed.

We got to the site and Kyaa dropped a downline instead of putting down an anchor. The pinnacles are a bit rocky and there is always the risk of getting an anchor caught. There were just a few of us diving and we were all experienced and so a downline made a lot more sense. We dropped down onto the top of the pinnacle which was about 60 feet deep and then went down the slope and circled around. We saw a lot of life and the purple hydrocorals did not disappoint.

We saw a number of torpedo rays and some juvenile mola mola as well. For a guy who prefers rusted metal, it was a damn fine dive!

Reef Scenes

When we first dropped over the edge of the pinnacle, we noticed a wall of yellow “stuff.” Kyaa had told us about it and I took a few pictures. Well, apparently, this yellow stuff is part of the “Yellow Wall” which is famous. Lauren found this article posted to the “Natural History Photography Blog” about it. I had no idea I was witnessing the “true celebrity” of the Yellow Wall.

Mola Mola / Sunfish

Torpedo Rays

Below is a quick video clip of that Torpedo Ray as he just floated near me in the water column. It is certainly nice diving on a rebreather. I don’t think the ray even cared that I was there.

Torpedo Ray

I highly recommend Farnsworth to anybody who loves beautiful pinnacles and sea life. It can be an “advanced” dive, but well worth the trip out there.

After Farnsworth, we dove the Midnight Hour (more on that in another post) and then headed back home. The topside conditions were glassy and amazing. On the way back, there was a large pod of dolphins and a couple whales so we stopped and watched them for a short while. Below is a quick video that provides an idea of the conditions and shows the dolphins coming to play.

Dolphins off Catalina

Amazing Day.

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