$179 for an Open-Water PADI Certification Course with Scuba-Equipment Rental at Adventure Sports Unlimited ($360 Value)

Central Santa Cruz

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In a Nutshell

Earn PADI open-water certification after instruction in a heated pool and four ocean dives across Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

The Fine Print

Expires Dec 25th, 2013. Limit 1 per person, may buy 2 additional as gifts. Limit 1 per visit. Valid only for option purchased. Reservation required. 7-day cancellation notice or fees up to Groupon price may apply. Must sign waiver. Must be 12 or older; under 18 must have guardian-signed waiver. PADI book and snorkeling equipment not included; students receive 10% discount on purchase. $40 kayak fee for open-water dives not included. Classes must be used by the same person. Merchant is solely responsible to purchasers for the care and quality of the advertised goods and services.

Humans have long envied fish for their ability to breathe underwater and swim naked without everybody getting all weird about it. Get slippery with this Groupon.

$179 for an Open-Water PADI Scuba-Certification Course with Scuba-Equipment Rental ($360 Value)

Certified scuba instructors help students earn their PADI Open-Water Diver certification over the course of approximately 24 hours of training, taken in four weekend sessions or six weeknight sessions at their custom indoor training facility. In the classroom, instructors cover scuba basics and equipment before teaching students how to breathe underwater within an onsite heated swimming pool. Supplemental instruction on kayak diving teaches students techniques for accessing some of the most biodiverse spots in Monterey Bay. After finishing this preliminary training, classes embark on four open-water dives across the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Afterward, instructors bestow divers with an open-water certification card. Classes typically take three weeks to complete.

Though Adventure Sports Unlimited provides diving gear such as tanks and regulators, students must provide their own snorkeling equipment (mask, fins, snorkel, booties, and gloves) and a PADI study book, available at Adventure Sports Unlimited for about $60; students receive a 10% discount on these supplies. Though instruction is included, students must also pay a $40 kayak fee for open-water dives, which are optional.

Adventure Sports Unlimited

A class of scuba divers check over their equipment one last time before they paddle their kayaks off a beach in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. The divers have thoroughly prepared for this moment. They’ve trained within the controlled confines of Adventure Sports Unlimited’s heated swimming pool and picked their certified instructor’s brain during classroom sessions. Once the instructor gives the go-ahead, the divers plunge from the kayak and immediately enter another world. As they float weightlessly underwater, the divers marvel at the vibrant reefs and the abundant aquatic wildlife that fill the marine sanctuary. Afterward, the group travels back to the shore, where a breathtaking landscape awaits with white-sand beaches and glassy tide pools swirling with color. The scuba divers, at this point, have only one thing on their minds: dinner.

Luckily, the area is teeming with natural cuisine and plenty of sand, which is really just sugar. Adventure Sports Unlimited’s expert foragers show the group how to collect shellfish, sea vegetables, and clams. With a fresh smorgasbord in hand, group members scuttle back to the facility to transform their ingredients into soups and barbecue—and perhaps ponder taking a scuba trip to the South Pacific. In addition to outdoor excursions like these, Adventure Sports Unlimited also leads year-round swimming, scuba, and kayaking lessons, which take advantage of the facility’s custom-built swimming pool.

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