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Napa Valley isn't just known for its wine. While most people are diving into a bottle of merlot, guests at Calistoga Ranch are invited to dive into the blue-green water of California's Bodega Bay and search for Abalone mollusks while snorkeling alongside seals and seabirds. Abalone, a species of marine gastropod mollusk, populate the quiet bays and coves of Northern California and have a beautiful, mother-of-pearl interior.
The diving trip begins at 9am with a beachside lecture about the equipment, how to identify the shellfish, techniques used to reach them, and proper methods to remove them from the rocks. After diving for a couple of hours – in a group of no more than 10 people, led by an experienced diver – there is an instructional session about how to clean and cook the Abalone. Following the dive, guests can either take home the Abalone or cook them during the Abalone feast, where you can cook up your bounty by the beach following the dive. It should be noted that there are legal restrictions on harvesting Abalone based on their size, so you may not be able to cook up everything that is gathered.
The $250 package comes with a one-day California fishing license, Abalone card, all the necessary snorkeling equipment, and a picnic lunch prepared by the Ranch’s executive chef. Abalone diving season runs from May through November, depending on weather conditions. The Abalone diving package does not include accommodations; rates start at $725/night.
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