The Channel Islands are home to some of California’s most spectacular marine protected areas. This short video by CDFW Environmental Scientist Amanda Van Diggelen shows why –  thick kelp, garibaldis, sheepshead, bat rays, and even a nudibranch make for a fantastic diving experience.

Scientists have monitored the Channel Islands intensely since their protection in 2003, showing increased abundance and biomass inside of the reserves. One thing I noticed in the video was the behavior of these fish – they swim right up to the camera, and don’t seem spooked by Amanda’s presence.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife encourages you to explore your local marine reserve – and we hope they’ll soon be releasing more videos like this.