Eco Dive Center?s dedication to water conservation shines through in its educational programs?the dive team teaches its students not only about scuba diving, but how to properly care for and respect the underwater world. It?s much more than just a water-safety school and aquatics emporium, although it does house dive gear from renowned brands such as Bare and Oceanic in its 5,000 square-foot store. And it does, of course, certify students in both basic open-water PADI skills and more advanced specialties, such as rescue and first-response.
Eco Dive has led underwater cleanup expeditions off of Santa Monica Pier, removing hundreds of pounds of trash in the process, and has enlisted the help of school children to spruce up local beaches. It has also partnered with area non-profits such as Heal the Bay, an organization that educates the public about reducing water pollution and administering splints if waves sprain their ankles.
The waters around Marina del Rey teem with seasonal gamefish. Beneath the ocean's surface, halibut, sand bass, and barracuda swim from Rocky Point to the Big Kelp Reef. That is, until they cross paths with The Betty-O, Spitfire, or the New Del Mar—the fishing boats of Marina Del Rey Sportfishing's fleet. Aboard these vessels, experienced guides help small and large groups cast lines and pull prize catches from the water.
But sometimes, the ocean's beauty makes anglers put down their fishing poles. Sea lions, dolphins, sea birds, and several whale species also make their home in the water. This diversity of wildlife prompted the owners of Marina Del Rey Sportfishing to start their whale and eco tour, during which sightseers can admire the ocean's majestic creatures and the teams of Aquamen who groom them.
At its prime waterfront location in Marina Del Rey, Marina Paddle introduces students to standup paddleboarding, a hybrid sport where one stands on a modified surfboard and steers through the water using an elongated paddle. The aquatic environment and steady pace make for a fun and safe workout on the glassy surface of a river, lake, or ocean. The school's lessons match participants up with the proper equipment and shed light on proper handling technique, including turning, maintaining balance, and avoiding the wake from motorized boogie boards. Once paddlers have a grasp on the basics, instructors point them to prime spots for showing off their new skills. Courses require zero prior experience and take place on calm, protected waters, meaning beginning paddlers need not fear losing balance due to unexpected waves.
At Raw Done Tastefully, certified raw foods chef and instructor Raquel Smith teaches students about the benefits of eating raw. Using her certifications from the Ann Wigmore Institute in Puerto Rico and the Living Light Culinary Institute, Raquel leads classes that range from introductory demos to hands-on classes to multi-day healthy living seminars. Using raw and organic ingredients, she can teach students to craft cuisine in a variety of styles such as Asian fusion, Latin American, and Italian, with dishes such as chocolate mousse tart, curry-walnut pate, and tropical plantains.
The Antiques Dealers Association of California is something of an antique itself—founded in 1924, it is swiftly approaching its hundredth birthday. However, the organization's brainchild, the Los Angeles Antiques, Art + Design Show, has a distinctly modern edge. Up-and-coming artists, hip antiques dealers, and local galleries are the stars of the show, exhibiting their wares for crowds of art enthusiasts. Throughout the weekend of high culture, lecturers and panelists sound off on current and on-the-horizon design trends. The show even kicks off with a celebrity-attended red-carpet affair benefiting the LA County Museum of Art (LACMA).
The 65-foot fishing vessel known as the Spitfire nominally calls dock 52 on Fiji Way home. However, between three-quarter day fishing trips, twilight fishing trips, and chartered excursions, it seldom stays moored for long. Most often, it can be found slicing through the waves under the steady hand of its captain, helping up to 80 fisherfolk chase calico bass, rockfish, and perch through the waters. To keep its passengers fueled up enough to reel in the big one, the Spitfire boasts a galley whose chefs serve hot meals, cold beers, and sodas chilled by being used as ice-fishing bait.