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 instructors and professional staff at PADI five-star instructor center Beach Cities Scuba introduce students to the big blue with PADI-certified diving courses for divers of all levels. They certify newbies with basic open-water courses and teach advanced divers in specialty courses such as Deep Diver, Rescue Diver, and Shark Therapist. They operate out of five convenient locations and sling necessary gear in onsite stores, from wetsuits and facemasks to spear guns. Beach Cities Scuba also connects divers through its dive club and hosts exotic dive trips to locations such as Indonesia, Fiji, and Cozumel.
Jacques Cousteau had barely slipped the first scuba tank off his back when Pacific Wilderness opened its doors in 1953. Since then, the shop’s staffers have used their collective expertise to outfit divers with high-quality equipment from brands including Aqualung, Oceanic, Scubapro, Seaquest, and Zeagle.
They also teach PADI scuba-certification courses that range from basic open-water training to advanced rescue diving. Lessons start at the on-land facility's heated pool but progress to weekend-long dives in the waters of Redondo Beach. The shop's scuba-philes also arrange journeys to exotic locales such as the Sipadan Water Village Resort in Malaysia and the secret depths of Camp David's presidential bathtub.
Just off the coast of Southern California in the waters surrounding Catalina Island resides an underwater civilization as awe-inspiring as the city above. To see it, the experienced divers of Diving Catalina outfit explorers of all skill levels to swim over the marine landscape, leading journeys into the protected Casino Point Underwater Dive Park and the kelp forest. In addition to guiding tours, Diving Catalina also rents snorkeling equipment and leads classes that range from introductory dives to advanced, postcertification scuba training to become the next Aquaman.
During Snorkeling Catalina's boat tours, snorkeling trips, and private sightseeing charters, visitors come face-to-fin with marine life. Tour guides lead revelers through shallow and deep waters and pilot inflatable boats offshore so passengers can snap photos of seals and dolphins. Back on land, the full-service snorkeling shop outfits guests with necessary equipment, such as flippers, masks, and underwater ovens for fish who don't like to eat soggy bread crumbs.
During a 2.5-hour Dolphin Adventure, experienced guides lead snorkel-breathing sightseers through glittering deep-sea waters teeming with aquatic life. As the group glides toward the dive site aboard the 46-foot Scuba Cat, a custom-built dive boat, guests can employ the ship’s two camera tables to play paparazzi with dolphins, sea lions, and whales or let marine biologist and maritime manager Captain Carl regale them with sea-creature trivia, such as the name of Moby Dick's pet goldfish. At their destination, they'll disembark via wide-stepped ladders that skim the water’s surface to ease snorkelers' entry into the deep blue. Then, trailing an experienced guide, they'll penetrate the inner sanctum of a leafy kelp forest to feast their eyes upon lobsters, fish, and confused lumberjacks.