Tanner Bank is a chain of underwater pinnacles and plateaus located 120 nautical miles (nm) South by Southeast of Santa Barbara, California and 35 miles West by Southwest of San Clemente Island This bank rises within 80 feet of the surface and is considered one of the best advanced open water dive locations on the California coast. Similar to Cortes Banks, this seamount is open ocean with exposure to wind, current, and swell. Timing is everything when it comes to a successful day of diving this spot.
A hole teeming with juvenile lobsters.
Photo: ©Richard Salas
Scuba Diving Tanner Bank offers no protection from the weather so anchoring overnight is truly rare. Diving the bank is generally done on a multiple day liveaboard trip when you can take advantage of a weather window and dash out for a day. Because this dive location is so far offshore and exposed to the elements, a diver can get a true feeling of open ocean diving that you cannot get next to land.
Under most circumstances this is considered advanced diving. It is deep and there can be current and surge, but the payoff can be huge. Like any other open ocean dive spot, you have to be willing to roll the dice and see what Mother Nature will dish out.
Because this is an open water seamount currents sweep clean ocean water over the spot and invertebrates cling to the rocks. Palm kelp fixed to the rocks provides shelter for smaller fish and sealife that hide amongst its fronds. Large clusters of purple hydocoral can be seen throughout the area as well as tuna, yellowtail, large schools of baitfish, sea lions, and occasional sharks. Lobster divers have scored well in this location at times and sea stories have been written.