Here we are when we got certified in Monterey. Tom Stone was our instructor from Bamboo Reef in San Francisco. We took the crash course--in the pool for three days one weekend, then in the ocean the next. I strongly suggest this method over the daily night courses. As fun as it sounds drifting through the deep blue ... certification is tough work, especially here in cold-water California. Three words says it all, "Beach Dives Suck!" Oh, to fall out of a boat into tepid water with 200 ft. visibility. Cozumel here we come!
But this is serious fun. On our Cert. dives we saw a jellyfish, schools of fish, huge red anenomes, spiny sea slugs an starfish galore. Too bad it was cut short by a loser in our group who lost his buddy ... probably because his buddy rocketed to the top in his new dry suit.
Since then, we've dived Monterey again on the Cypress Sea with our close friends Randy & Sonja (didn't get the pictures back yet). Another three words for you. "Boat Dives Rule!" Here we saw lots of more cool stuff including big sand dabs, gobies, and what looked like a large black breast clinging to a rock--some sort of sponge I'm sure.