Ok, you just earned your Open Water certification, and you’re wondering what to do next. As a brand new diver (or a recent transplant to the area), it can be a bit daunting figuring out how to develop your diving in Monterey. Fortunately there are plenty of groups, shops, and resources to help you on your way.
Diver Dan’s (Santa Clara)
Diver Dan’s is my go to dive shop, even though I live farther up the peninsula. The size of the shop, number of instructors/trainings available, and amount of gear for rent makes them one of the top shops in the bay area. (I did my AOW and Rescue Diver trainings here, the instruction is excellent) Diver Dan’s hosts bimonthly dives in Monterey. (http://www.diverdans.com/monterey/discover-local-diving), which is a great way to discover new dive spots and meet new divers. At $25 per dive, it’s highly economical. If join the dive club for $50/year, the local dives are free, and you get two $50 rental coupons – a deal which is hard to beat. Dives take place on Saturdays and are led by one of the Diver Dan’s instructors, who can provide help and guidance for novice divers. Everyone usually dives together, which can get a bit cumbersome with a large group. Every dive has a briefing at the store on Friday evening before the dive, which is a great way to learn more about the area, but kind of a pain if you live far away.
Any Water Sports (San Jose)
Any Water Sports posts regular group dives on their Any Water Divers FB page.
I’ve never actually been in the physical store, but I’ve attended a couple of their dives. They provide a short dive brief in the morning, then people tend to kind of buddy up and dive on their own (at least on the dives I attended). Events are free, which is great, but the hosts are definitely more hands-off than the Diver Dan’s events, so these might be better after you have some more experience. Everyone is super friendly, and someone usually stays on shore to watch over stuff.
Monterey Open Divers Group on FB often has people looking for buddies: Since this is just a FB group, it is obviously less organized than the first two. But it’s a good way to meet other divers, buy/sell used gear, etc. I met one of my frequent dive buddies through this site.
There are plenty of other dive shops in the area that also host dives. Bamboo Reef and Pacific Scuba Divers are just two examples. I’m sure they great, but I haven’t tried them, so I can’t speak to them.
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