While some SoCal dive centers offer boat dives to the Channel Islands as a means for new divers to complete their PADI Open Water Diver certificaiton in CA, most NorCal shops do not. While the Monterey Bay and Carmel Bay areas are my personal favorite places to scuba dive on the planet, these areas are also among the most challenging places to dive, especially when diving from shore. For many reasons, I prefer to go to the extra effort and take my students to Ventura, CA so they can complete their inital CA Scuba DIving experience off a boat in the Channel Islands.
So, why do I go through this extra effort?
1. My customers are worth the extra effort. I greatly appreciate new divers supporting my store and learning to dive with me so that I can continue to dive on a regular basis with a full-time job in the recreational scuba industry. Without my customers, I couldn't stay in business. So, I believe my customers are worth the extra effort.
2. Diving from a boat is much easier than diving from shore. Diving in the cooler water temperatures of CA (both Monterey and the Channel Islands) requires divers to where 7mm wetsuits or drysuits to stay warm enough to function in the water. Diving in the heavier exposure suits requires using more lead weights to scuba dive. While I use steel tanks for adult divers and smaller Aluminum 50's for younger divers, most divers still require somewhere around 20 lbs of lead to offset the buoyancy of the exposure suits (compared to 8 - 12 lbs with a 3mm wetsuit). Carrying the extra weight across a beach for a shore dive places a great deal of extra stress on new divers. This extra stress is greatly reduced during boat dives. Divers do not need to carry their gear the better part of 100 yards on a boat dive, while this is about the distance from the parking area to the shoreline for many beach dive locations. Less stress out of the water means more fun in the water. Again, I like my customers.
3. More Variety. Diving from the boat in the Channel Islands usually means diving 3 different dive sites each day resulting in a greater variety of things to see. For most divers, diving is about the experience of seeing new creatures, underwater structures and the opportunity to explore the kelp forest or coral reefs.
4. More dive time. Since my classes are limited to 4 students in the pool, divers I train are better prepared for their ocean dives than those whom learn to scuba dive someplace else. With this added comfort in the water combined with 3 dives each day instead of 2, we have significantly more dive time when completing the initial ocean dives in the Channel Islands.
5. Quality of experience. While some divers simply want to "get the certification card", most people who take up scuba diving want to explore and experience the underwater world. What better way to start your underwater adventures than learning to scuba dive with the PADI Open Water Diver program at Carmel Bay Divers and completing your Open Water dives on one of our Channel Islands Scuba Diving Weekend Adventures.
Ask yourself, "Are you worth the extra effort?"
Call Carmel Bay Divers today, if you and your family are worth it. (408) 227-2822