Aumentos Reef

by Jon Niebling on December 21, 2008

One of the best dives I’ve ever experienced in Monterey was at a location named Aumentos Reef which is located within Monterey Bay, east of the Inner Chase Reef. Aumentos Reef should not be confused with Aumentos Rock which shows on the NOAA charts and is over by Eric’s Pinnacle (but closer to shore and closer to Pt. Piños). 

Aumentos, meaning “enlargement” in Spanish or “a rising up” in Portuguese, is an appropriate name for this reef although I’ve also heard this location called “George’s” (George Gregor was an avid instructor and captain from Marin who reportedly re-discovered the rock in the mid 1970’s).

I enjoyed this dive with Steve K. and my daughter Jennifer T. and we were introduced by Captain Tim while diving from the Monterey Express.

Large blocks of granite make up the majority of this reef, some reaching as high as 40 feet. The depth range of the entire area is between 40 and 80 feet (some report 90 feet). The reef is covered with corynactis, bryozoans, and yellow zoanthid anemones along with sponges. The shallow potion of the reef has many broken areas of rock which had interesting cracks and crevices filled with all types of sea life.

As the reef drops a bit deeper, the walls are covered with fluffy, white Metridium anemones that cover the vertical surfaces of the rock walls. As you go deeper the rocks are spotted with bright red Telia anemones and encrusting sponges.

Every square inch of rock is covered with some form of encrusting invertebrate. In fact, it is difficult to find any exposed rock at all. This is one spot where you don’t have to go below 60 feet to find excellent diving. In fact, the most colorful parts of the reef are shallower than 50 feet.

We saw big schools of small blue rock fish swimming just off the reef and surf perch and rockfish on the reef itself. We were delighted to see lingcod, cabezon, and sheepshead and some small sunfish in the area as well. The visibility was about 25 feet.

This is a beautiful dive for observing and photographing all the beauty that diving in Monterey has to offer.

GPS Coordinates:
N36 38.315 W121 55.334

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