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MPA Watch Diving for Sharks & Science at Grestle Cove, Sonoma

October 22, 2017 @ 8:00 am - 3:00 pm


Be Part of the first Bay Area Underwater Citizen Science MPA Watch Program!

Whether you dive occasionally or every week, in warm or cold water, join us for this special Sharktober Community Dive event at Gerstle Cove, one of the oldest Marine Protected Areas on the Sonoma Coastline.

WHO: YOU, and all your dive friends who want to learn about our marine protected areas as marine wildlife. We are a group of professional and volunteer marine conservationists and divers who want to share our knowledge and appreciation of the ocean. We are not a dive operation or tour operation. This is a meet up for like minded shark lovers who want to learn more about our Marine Protected Area network.

WHAT: Join us for a 2 tanks dive at the beautiful Gerstle Cove in Sonoma County. All skill and experience levels can appreciate this dive location. Easy entry and exit but can be slippery at low tide. The depth there can satisfy the beginner or the experienced! After the dives, we will have Lagunitas IPA to share, and this is a perfect way to talk about all the crazy creatures you just observed and recorded. Then learn how to enter your observations into iNaturalist MPA Watch Biodiversity Project in conjunction with the MPA State Collaborative Network and the California Academy of Sciences.

WHERE: Park at the Grestle Cove parking lot $8 cash park fee. There are picnic tables next to the cliff where we will be settling. You may want to drop off your gear and turn around to park. Please don’t block the road with gear.

WHEN: We meet at 9:00 AM and we will probably hit the water half an hour to an hour after we meet. You might want to drive on Saturday and stay the night on the coast.
There is Timbercove hotel but if you are on a budget, Stillwater Cove and Gerstle Cove campgrounds are an option. You might want to make reservations otherwise it is first-come first-serve.

WHY: Because we like to have fun and cold water diving is awesome!!! Grestle Cove is a very picturesque spot if you have never dove there, it is a must-do.
You will see big live abalones, rock cod and lingcod- species smaller and more rare outside of MPAs (the cove is a protected Marine Reserve under the California Marine Life Protected Act). If you want to hunt you must do so outside of the MPA.

BRING: Bring all of your own dive gear, including weights, tanks, and lights are good to have. Need to rent or buy something? Check out Bamboo Reef on 4th Street in San Francisco.

YOUR FRIENDS: We are volunteers. We are all coming to this event to dive, but there will be no instructors or tour guides on duty. If you are here on vacation and need a guide or need training, there are professional dive operations that provide these services, like Bamboo Reef.  This is a community citizen science activity- and because we love sharks! Shark Stewards is not a trip leader and can assume no liability for accidents or loss of equipment.

YOUR GOAL: Have fun!! But we found that diving with a purpose is very beneficial, this is why we are recommending that you come with your “Citizen Scientist” hat.
A few years ago, the Sun Stars completely disappeared because of the Wasting Syndrome Disease affecting many species of sea stars. These important invertebrates are like sharks- they shape their communities. It appears species like pisaster are rebounding so reporting and taking pictures of any sea stars, and other impacted species like spiny lobsters and red abalone will help the scientists and marine biologists.

SAFETY FIRST: Attending this event constitutes attendee’s affirmation they are medically fit to dive, certified to dive by a nationally-recognized agency, have the necessary skill & training level for the dive being facilitated.
You will need to decide whether you are skilled enough to make any particular dive. That is for you (only) to decide. When you enter the water, you (and your buddy) are on your own. You must plan and execute your dive with your dive buddy only. Once you arrive at the meeting spot, we become simply another diver.

Feel free to share this event with ourFacebook link.

If you can’t make it on the weekend, join us Friday October 20 at Bamboo reef for sharks and a film, or here are other ways for you to participate in our events.


October 22, 2017
8:00 am - 3:00 pm
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