Featured / Underwater Photography & Video

Catalina’s West End


Catalina’s west end kelp forests are finally on the mend.

It’s pretty safe to say that Catalina’s seascape for the past few years has been lackluster. With warming of local waters and the insurgence of the invasive Sargassum algae, the giant kelp has taken a hard hit, especially at Catalina Island. On the west end, however, it’s slowly making a very welcomed comeback.


Nudibranchs like this Felimare californiensis are seemingly more prevalent now than ever.

However, even with the reduction in the overall number of critters you would normally see a few years ago, there are still some gems to be found.


This largemouth blenny (Labrisomus xanti) is typically only seen south near Baja. Warmer waters have brought some new visitors along for the ride.


And of course, we still have our staple local favorites, like this Spanish shawl nudibranch (Flabellina iodinea).


Commercial and recreational lobster seasons are in full swing, too.


Although the kelp is slowly making a comeback around the island, the west end provides one of the better places to enjoy safety stops with this view once again.

Todd Winner is a contributor, instructor, and trip leader for Samy’s Underwater Photo & Video and has over 20 years of experience in underwater still and broadcast video. To see more of Todd’s work please go to For the latest information on workshops and trips, sign up for our newsletter.

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