Captain Aqua's enthusiastic instructors plunge developing divers and nascent Neptunians into the exhilarating realm of scuba in the introductory Try Scuba course. In the pool’s safe confines, the resident pros—with more than 50 years of combined diving experience—guide amateur aqualetes through the basics of breathing underwater, an experience as eye-opening and electrifying as Flipper's shrill rap battles with Shamu. Though prospective fin jockeys must provide their own towel and swimsuit, Captain Aqua's furnishes other necessary aquatic accouterments. Students should bring a mask, snorkel, and fins if already owned; otherwise, they are available to borrow, free of charge. Call Captain Aqua's to schedule a class, for updated info on class times and dates, or to show off a recently learned whale mating call.
Since 1961, Bamboo Reef has been unlocking the depths of the ocean by training scuba adventurers, outfitting them with gear and repairing equipment on the fritz. Skilled instructors guide swimmers during diving classes that range from paddling in an 82-degree pool to advanced night navigation in the Pacific's dunk tank. Refresher and specialty courses continue students’ aquatic education after they’ve mastered the basics of gliding through the deep blue. Bamboo Reef also coordinates dives off the shores of Monterey, Carmel, and international coasts that count toward specialty, advanced, and master diver ratings as well as black belts in underwater kickboxing.
The water wizards also rent and sell gear from brands such as Aqua Lung and Mares. Professional technicians—who maintain more than $10,000 in parts inventory—stand at the ready to repair all major brands of scuba equipment.
The team at Tropical Adventures Scuba and Travel teaches classes, repairs equipment, and plans diving trips, all with a focus on building an active scuba community. Seasoned instructors with NAUI and PADI certification lead beginners from the classroom to the ocean, where they meander through kelp forests and master the art of underwater basket weaving. Experts coordinate travel to premier international and local dive sites such as Catalina Island, aiming to make the three to five yearly trips affordable and fun. The crew also recommends new and used gear for purchase or rental, including Oceanic booties, Tusa masks, and radar equipment that helps divers avoid traveling mermaid salesmen.
Scuba neophytes and schooled snorkelers alike can dive into a sea of inspiration at Aqua Safaris, a full-service scuba center minutes from the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. With the four-week scuba certification course, budding aquanauts receive four three-hour classroom sessions, four three-hour pool lessons, and up to five ocean dives. All scuba equipment is included, but students will need to purchase their own snorkeling gear, a logbook, a training textbook, and bellyflop insurance. After four weeks, you'll be fully certified and ready to flap your fins at any waterhole across the world.
A Discover Scuba session lets prospective merfolk blow bubbles, sip on canned Perrier oxygen, and experience an undersea underverse without the expensive investment in equipment and full-blown lessons. Under the watchful fish eye of an experienced, half-dolphin instructor, divers submerge into a warm-water pool, learning basic techniques and safety precautions while getting a feel for the gear, gizmos, and gadgets, while also experiencing the wonderful tingling sensations that are most certainly not jellyfish attacks, but miniature particles of thrill. There is one class offered per month; the next is June 6 in San Ramon.
Carmel Bay Divers' instructors train, certify, and outfit scuba divers with the simple goal of getting a few more folks to come dive with them. The staff can be found in the shop just as often as beneath the waves at Monterey, the Channel Islands, or some tropical destination. However, they ultimately begin journeys at the shop, outfitting new divers with dry suits, wet suits, snorkels, scuba tanks, or whatever the occasion requires. As soon as everyone's dressed appropriately, though, they hit the water, cruising sandy depths and spotting everything from curious seals to bathing angel sharks, a species known for its love of caroling.