Northern Islands Three Day Dive Lobster Season!
Come dive the rugged coasts of the Northern Channel Islands where abundant wildlife and game flourish.
Northern Islands 3 Day Dive trip is an epic adventure perfect for divers seeking a world-class California Spiny Lobster hunting trip!
- Departure Harbor: Santa Barbara Harbor. Santa Barbara
- Destination: San Miguel, Santa Rosa, and/or Santa Cruz Islands
- Spend three days hunting for lobster onboard Truth!
Trip Specific Information
- Season: May to October
- Experience Level: Intermediate
- Minimum Number of Guests: 16
- Maximum Number of Guests: 32
- Minimum Age: 10 years old
- Check-In: 7:30 pm
- Briefing: 9:00 pm
- Departure: 9:30 pm
- Dives: 5-6dives per day plus optional night dives
- Return to Santa Barbara: 5:00 pm on the third day of the trip
- Free air fills
- Accommodations in private bunks ( linens & bedding provided)
- Night Dive (conditions permitting)
- 3 meals a day & snacks
- Hot and cold beverages
How do we calculate ticket prices?
Meet your crew at the Sea Landing in the Santa Barbara Harbor (at 301 West Cabrillo Blvd, Santa Barbara, CA).
You will board the Vision at 7:30 pm to load gear and check in with our crew. A mandatory briefing will occur at 9:00 pm, and all loading of personal items should be completed before then. All guests must be present for the briefing. After the briefing, and once the manifest has been signed, passengers are not allowed to leave the vessel. Weather permitting, we plan on departing right after the briefing at 9:30 pm.
Check-in at 7:30 pm. Mandatory briefing at 9:00 pm. Departure at 9:30 pm.
Once the mandatory briefing has occurred, passengers are not permitted to leave the boat.
6-7 Dive Sites & 6-7 Tank Fills Per Day, Plus Optional Night Dives
If you are an advanced diver and underwater hunter looking for the ultimate lobster season adventure come join us onboard Truth for three days of diving and adventure at the Northern Channel Islands!
This trip is catered to advanced divers. 15 minute gate times will be strictly adhered to off the dive deck. We will start diving early in the day (7 AM aprox.) to maximize number of dives.
After your third tank fill, we will prepare the boat for the return trip to Santa Barbara, approximately 2.5 hours. We will keep our eyes peeled for whales and dolphins in the channel. You are welcome to enjoy an adult beverage or two on the sundeck as we cross back to the mainland and close out a beautiful few days of diving!
Estimated arrival time in Santa Barbara Harbor is 5:00pm
We are currently building our locally inspired menu but here is an example of what you may expect from your galley crew onboard the Vision.
- Fresh fruit
- Granola and yogurt w/ fixings and local jams
- Hot breakfast sandwich or burrito (made to order)
- Local grass-fed beef burgers OR locally made veggie patty
- Chicken salad wraps
- Island coleslaw & salads
- Sushi rolls (veggie and fish)
- Homemade hummus and veggies
- Buffalo chicken wings
- Chips and homemade guacamole
- Sushi rolls
- Tri-Tip w/ grilled veggies
- Local fish tacos & ceviche
- Garlic cheesy potatoes
- Locally sourced salad bar
- Freshly made desert
Return Trip Snack
- Fresh baked cookies
Beverages Served All Day
- Hot tea and coffee
- Soda bar (soda, juice, water, seltzer)
- Ginger iced tea
You may bring alcoholic beverages to enjoy after all diving is complete. There is absolutely no drinking before participating in a night dive.
Accommodations are in our comfortable bunk room. We supply each bunk with:
- 2 Sheets
- 1 Fleece Blanket
- 1 Medium soft pillow with pillow case
The bunk room is air-conditioned to 68-70 degrees at all times. We recommend bringing a sleeping bag or additional blanket.
Personal vs Oversized Bunks
- You may choose an oversized bunk for an additional $50 (limited quantity). Couples need only select 1 oversized bunk.
- Each person will be assigned a bunk.
- Each bunk has a privacy curtain and a reading light.
Personal electronic devices may not be charged in the bunk room at any time.
- About the Northern Islands
- Diving at San Miguel
- Diving at Santa Rosa
- Diving at Santa Cruz
- Lobster Season
The Northern Channel Islands are San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz & Anacapa.
These four islands offer a diverse set of wildlife, geology and diving opportunities. They are all part of the Channel Islands National Park & National Marine Sanctuary.
Santa Cruz Island is the largest and Anacapa is the smallest. Learn more about the Northern Channel Islands here.
The remoteness of San Miguel, combined with its offshore location and shifting weather patterns, can make diving this island dependent conditions. However, San Miguel has some of the most spectacular diving found anywhere off the coast of California. San Miguel offers a wide variety of dive site topography, including offshore pinnacles, walls, and expansive kelp forest reefs. The abundance of marine life at San Miguel is striking compared to the other islands, and the fishing and hunting at San Miguel is spectacular. Halibut, lingcod, schools of rockfishes, and nudibranchs galore inhabit these waters. More varieties of pinnipeds can be seen here than any other Channel Island. A nice day of diving at San Miguel is about as good as it gets.
Popular dive sites include Wyckoff Ledge, Prince Island, Judith Rock, Richardson Rock, Simonton Cove, Wilson’s Rock, the foul hole, Skyscraper pinnacle, and Castle Rock. Weather permitting, we like to spend the night in Cuyler’s Harbor, one of the most spectacular anchorages in the Channel Islands, or at Tyler Bight near the elephant seals.
Learn more about San Miguel Island here.
California divers began flocking to Santa Rosa in the 1970’s and 80’s and it has remained a popular diving destination ever since. Talcott Shoals, which lies off the northwest section of the island, is a large plateau reef with extensive kelp forests that offers various terrain for divers. The shipwreck of the Aggie, which lays in 25 to 50 feet of water along a ridge, is a highlight. The east end of Santa Rosa has a wonderful assortment of pinnacles that are covered in corynactis (strawberry anemone), rockfishes, and scallops. Weather permitting, we often spend the night in Bechers Bay, a large sandy anchorage overlooking the windswept island.
Learn more about Santa Rosa Island here.
The diving at Santa Cruz Island is probably the most diverse of all eight Channel Islands. The island bisects both warm southerly and colder northern currents, creating a marine habitat for many different species. As the largest of California’s Channel Islands, Santa Cruz has a wide variety of different dive spots, each with its own unique characteristics.
The northwest section of the island is volcanic with steep, rocky cliffs. It is home to some of the world’s largest sea caves. The southeast section is flatter and composed of large plateaus and thick kelp beds. Santa Cruz offers more places to find good diving during rough weather periods than any other island, due to its size and many coves. Seals, sea lions, bat rays, and many schools of fish are common sights while scuba diving along the shores.
Pre Trip Planning
What to Bring with you?
- Soft, packable duffle bags for clothing and skin or scuba equipment
- Warm clothing – bring layers as temperatures change rapidly
- Low heeled rubber soled shoes for on board the boat
- Binoculars (great for whale sightings and bird watching)
- Motion sickness medicine & personal medications
- Swimsuit & towels
- Personal toiletries (soap, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.)
- Sunscreen-We prefer reef safe sunscreen. Learn what makes sunscreen reef safe here.
- Sunglasses, hat and other sun protection.
- Small backpack
- Alcoholic Beverages (if desired)
All dive equipment can be reserved at the Sea Landing Dive Center next to Truth & Vision in the harbor
- Mask, snorkel, gloves, booties, and fins
- Dive Certification Card
- 7mm wetsuit or drysuit with hood (water temperatures are typically mid 60’s in summer and mid 50’s in winter).
- Tank and BCD
- Weight belt and weights
- Regulator with gauges
- SMB (Surface Marker Buoy) & DiveAlert or whistle
- Dive computer (highly recommended)
- U/W light and chemical light (Cyalume) if you plan to make night dives (two lights are required for lobster diving at night)
- Save-A-Dive kit may be helpful (extra fin strap, mask strap, o-rings, silicon, tools, etc.)
- Lobster Card
- Lobster Gauge (cannot share must have 1 per person)
- Two Game Bags (one for diving and one for lobster storage on the vessel)
Frequently Asked Questions
No. All CIEx trips are vessel supported and include boat transportation to and from your island destination.
You need a current open water certification to dive on this trip.
The minimum age is 12 years.
At each dive site we open the dive doors and check each diver off as they exit to the water. The dive doors are open for 90 minutes at each site. All divers must return to the boat at the set time or they risk being asked to sit out the next dive. We do not limit your dive time, but we strongly encourage each diver to stay in the limits of no decompression. Between each dive is a mandatory 60 minute surface interval.
Each diver is responsible for their own safety and their buddy. CIEx keeps a deck master and a divemaster on each trip along with a dive assistant that helps with gear and tank fills. The CIEx dive crew reserve the right to check dive computers and make recommendations for diver safety at any time.
CIEx is committed to running the safest dive boats in the world, thank you for helping us with that!
Each person is assigned one bunk. Our night watch crew is tasked to focus on the safety of the passengers on board the vessel at all times.
This trip is for advanced divers. We will be diving at sites with various depth potentials and possible strong currents
We understand that years of experience and recent experience are two different things. So if this is your first time diving in 5 years or more, we suggest you start with our Discover 2 Day/2 Night trip where you can brush up on your skills in more controlled environments and the help of an instructor or divemaster.
This trip does not include landing or hiking on Santa Cruz Island. If you want to hike on the Channel Islands, we recommend that you book a 4-Day Expedition Trip with us! Because you are not paying a National Park entrance fee, you cannot take advantage of the National Park’s terrestrial areas.
Yes, we offer FREE Nitrox fills for certified divers.
A great question that we’re happy to answer in more detail.
- The western islands of the Northern Channel Islands are more than 80 nautical miles from Santa Barbara Harbor. This is a great deal of fuel, much more than the eastern islands from Ventura and Oxnard.
- Crew costs are going up. Minimum wage in California $14/hour and will be $15/hour next year. Most of our crew is paid more than that and is required to be on duty for a 12 hour period at at time. This is easily the largest expense of running these boats.
- We have added an additional crew member to enhance the overall safety of the operations.
- Maintaining boats has always been expensive, but if you’ve been to the hardware store lately, you’ll agree that things are more expensive now than ever before. Imagine what that means for boat parts!
- We have increased the quality of our food and accommodations so that you can expect a world class experience on all trips!
-Allyson Arons | TripAdvisor
-Tad | TripAdvisor
-Alicia | TripAdvisor
-Denise W | TripAdvisor