Metridium Fields (at San Carlos Beach)
Location: Foam St. and Cannery Row, Monterey.
Parking: Meters and pay parking ($8 for all-day)
Experience Level: Advanced due to distance from shore
Entry: Sandy beach with scattered rocks
While the Metridium Fields are located at the same beach as the often crowded breakwater, the diving experience is a world away. Here you'll find large rocky reefs covered with 2 foot tall giant meteridium anemones. While these are reason enough to visit the area, you'll also see a host of nudibranchs including very large sea lemons, clown dorids, and of course hermissendas. Keep your eyes open for juvenile wolf eels, and even the occasional swell shark hiding inside the rocks.
To locate the metridium fields, enter the water in front of the foundation pictured above. Swim out and position yourself straight out from the gray pump house to the right of the foundation. Swim out to the last of the kelp canopies, and again make sure you are straight out from the pump house. Take a compass heading towards the aquarium, and descend. Follow the heading towards the aquarium until you cross a large pipe about 2 feet in diameter. (the pipe is angled a bit towards the aquarium, so the farther out you surface swim, the farther you have to swim until you cross the pipe) Follow the pipe to the right until you reach the end (usually around 40 feet deep). Go due north from the end of the pipe (about 10 yards) until you get to the fields.
Here's my tip: Once you reach the fields, look for a rock about 2 feet tall and square shaped on top. Take note of its shape. When you are ready to return to the pipe, locate this rock and go due south. Keep looking to your right, and you'll get to the end of the pipe.