Besides opening up nearly limitless opportunities for adventure on its own, scuba diving provides valuable spatial-orientation experience in case one ever gains the power of flight. Throw out your water wings for this Groupon.
$399 for Scuba-Certification Course and Catalina Island Weekend Getaway ($925 Value)
Over the course of two weekends, one on beautiful Catalina Island, first-time divers go from inveterate air-breathers to incipient amphibians, earning Open Water Diver certification to embark on 60-foot dives with a buddy. The first weekend is spent in the classroom, where students learn the fundamentals of scuba, including equipment, dive theory, neutral buoyancy, and which brands of wax work best against siren songs. Day two also incorporates a pool session where pupils try out what they've learned and get their first taste of the low life, that is, life below the water.
All this preliminary work is just an appetizer for the main course the next weekend, when the whole class cruises off aboard the Catalina Express fleet for a two-day getaway exploring an otherworld of kelp forests, flocks of fish, and even an eerie wreck or two. Most take advantage of the Friday-evening ferry, which affords the opportunity to relax into the weekend over a few brews and request “Kiss From a Rose” from the island's noisy seal population, though some prefer the 6:15 a.m. boat on Saturday.
The sunlight hours of the next two days are spent accumulating all the necessary wetsuit time for certification—more than six forays into the bay's watery wonderland. Saturday evening is wide open, freeing students to explore some of the cantinas friendly with the school, including The Lobster Trap and Luau Larry's. Guests stay two to a room at the Hermosa Hotel, a beachy, diver-friendly cottage on the brink of Avalon Bay. For an additional fee, arrangements may be made for single-room accommodations.
Hotel, ferry, and most gear-rental fees are included in this deal, as is a 20% discount on any gear purchased at Aqua Adventures Unlimited. Divers should bring their own mask and snorkel or rent one for an additional fee.
Trips and training form the centerpiece of PCH Scuba's services for area hydronauts. Programs range from beginner-level certification to search-and-recovery training, and adventures journey both close to home and as far ranging as Fiji. The Open Water Diver course makes for a fun and accessible first foray beneath the waves, incorporating a deep-delving adventure to Catalina Island, which is named after the third queen of Spain: Queen Island. The staff leads explorations of San Diego's collection of wrecks and adventures on chartered dive boats. Whatever sort of wave-blanketed voyage the aquatic adventurer desires, PCH's community of Master Scuba Diver–certified teachers and dive leaders are eager to chaperone.
2120 W Magnolia Blvd.
Burbank, California 91506