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Growing up on a tiny island in Southeast Asia, it is ironic that I was an aquaphobe till my early twenties. Refusing to give in to my irrational fear of the water, I decided the best course of action was to do something extreme. During summer break in 1999, I traveled to a tiny island in Malaysia, and got certified as an Open Water Diver. Since then, it has been an amazing odyssey which has brought me diving all over the world. Now I want to share my love of the underwater realm with students eager to jump into the water and explore. Few things can compare to the satisfaction of seeing a wide eyed student brimming from ear to ear after their first encounter with a playful sealion. I love all types of diving; wreck diving in Florida and in San Diego, Drift diving down the Colorado and in Cancun, muck diving in Redondo Beach and Lembeh Straits, wall diving in Roatan and in Sipadan, and of course reef diving in Catalina and in the Great Barrier Reef. But one of my favorite types of diving is swimming thru the kelp forests off our California coast. It is like a magical hike through an enchanted Redwood forest with the sun beams shining through between the trees…only underwater!


Divers who are looking for a change from Catalina can look to the north for fresh dive sites to explore. Anacapa has lush kelp forests and the harbor seals who live nearby like to play with visiting divers, so pinniped lovers really ought to make the trip out to Ventura for a dive. Anacapa is well known for its dramatic rock formations both in and out of the water, and cruising through the narrow rock alleyways is always a thrill. The nearby Santa Cruz Island also offers some really excellent diving. Given its more remote nature, the wildlife is more plentiful and easily approached. On a recent dive at Gull Island, we spotted two octopi and several eels, which aren't very common elsewhere.

Historically, Anacapa is the site of the last lighthouse built by the United States Lighthouse Service. The lighthouse is still in operation today. The island has an official population of three, and the name comes from the Chumash word for Mirage Island. Check out dives with the Peace and Spectre dive boats on the Eco site for more information on trips out from Ventura. It's well worth the drive, trust me.

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