SSI Explorers – The brand-new program for young aquatic enthusiasts

This program allows children starting at age six to go underwater and sample the different ways they can explore the aquatic world around them.

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SSI - Your choice for certification

Looking for new diving adventures? MyDiveGuide is a smart online dive travel guide - made by divers for divers.

Top Spots to Encounter Seals and Sea Lions

It is for good reason that sea lions are known as puppies of the sea. They are friendly, playful, curious, and not afraid to interact with divers they come across in their ocean home. The internet is full of exciting videos of divers getting buzzed by fast swimming sea lions or sea lions nibbling on their fins or snorkels. Diving with sea lions is always a thrilling adventure. The sea lion’s cousin, the seal, although a bit timider, is just as fun to encounter while exploring underwater. Seals can be just as friendly and are one of the cutest marine mammals you will ever see. Explore the MyDiveGuide map to see the best places to dive with sea lions and seals around the world.

La Jolla Shores

La Jolla Shores is the most popular dive site in San Diego county. Accessible from Kellogg Park, “The Shores“ is an easy beach entry unless the surf is high, then only those experienced in high surf entries should dive.

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La Paz

Diving in the warm waters of the Sea of Cortez, just outside of La Paz, Mexico is like swimming in an aquarium.

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Boulders Beach

Simonstown Boulders is an easily accessible shore dive. The average depth is 6 meters and the maximum depth is 9 meters, so it is a good training dive site for beginners.

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Reis Magos

A favorite site for photographers! A wonderful easy diving spot directly in front of the diving center with excellent visibility and no currents so it is perfect for beginners, as well as experienced divers.

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San Carlos Beach offers an easy entry beach dive along with all the amenities including plenty of parking, bathrooms, and showers. Bamboo Reef is a short 3 min drive from the beach. Located at: 614 Lighthouse Ave, Monterey.

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Gordon Rocks, Galapagos

Near to the Santa Cruz Island and also known as the “washing machine”, you find the Gordon Rocks. Due to currents and upwellings, this dive site is suitable for advanced divers. On this site you will see hammerhead sharks and the famous oceanic sunfish (mola mola).

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The highest point of Aumentos Pinnacle is around 40 feet. The rock on the offshore side is a steep, granite wall that drops vertically to about 60 feet and then more slowly to 80 to 85 feet. The inshore side the reef drops off in steps to 50 to 55 feet and remains at this depth until one encounters Chase Reef.

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Discover the world’s most fascinating aquatic life

Aquatic life under our oceans, lakes, rivers, and streams is amazing! From microscopic zooplankton to the largest animal on earth, the blue whale, underwater life comes in all possible shapes and sizes. With 71% of the earth being covered with water, it is no wonder we are so fascinated with what lies beneath the surface. In fact, scientists estimate that there are nearly 1 million different species of aquatic animals. Freshwater ecosystems are home mainly to fish, invertebrates, and reptiles, whereas the ocean contains a wide array of marine life including fish, mollusks, crustaceans, reptiles, sharks, and marine mammals like whales, dolphins, seals, and manatees.

Elephant seal

Elephant seals are classified within the seal family of pinnipeds, clearly identifiable by their lack of external ears, reduced limbs, and inflatable trunk-like snout, from which they derive their name. There are two distinct species of elephant seal, the northern and southern. Northern elephant seals are found up and down the coast of California, in the United States, and Baja California, in Mexico, preferring to congregate on offshore islands rather than the mainland. The southern species lives in the nutrient rich sub-Antarctic and Antarctic waters of the chilly Southern Ocean and are the largest of all seal species.

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Sea lions are pinnipeds that are easily recognizable by their external ear flaps, cute, pointy nose, long, puffed up chest, and their ability to walk on all fours. Some of the more popular sea lion species are the California sea lion and the Steller sea lion. These fast, agile swimmers can reach up to 30 knots underwater and are very curious about the world around them. In fact, sea lions are not afraid of scuba divers in the least and have been known to buzz right around a group of divers, blow bubbles at them, and even chewing on their snorkels and fins.

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Fur seal is the common name given to nine distinct species of pinnipeds belonging to the Arctocephalinae subfamily of eared seals. The northern fur seal, the only species found in the northern hemisphere, occurs in the North Pacific, is the largest of the fur seals, and was nearly hunted to extinction in the 19th century. They have now greatly rebounded to 1.3 million individuals. The rest of the fur seals are found in the southern hemisphere, all much smaller than their northern cousins, and live in small colonies in Mexico, South America, Africa, and Australia.

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The round, sweet eyes of a seal don’t only make these acrobatic mammals one of the cutest creatures in the sea but have a highly functional purpose as well. Seals have excellent underwater vision, especially in dark and murky waters. Being deep divers, sometimes reaching depths of up to 100 meters, having this increased ability to see in low light conditions is not only beneficial, but necessary to survive. Their bodies have also adapted to allow for these deeper, longer dives better than other marine mammals. Seal’s blood contains special properties allowing them to absorb more oxygen than other marine mammals, therefore allowing them to do these deep, long dives with ease.

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A close relative to the manatee, dugongs are thought by some to be the motivation of seafaring tales of mermaids with their shapely bodies and fluked tails. In fact, they belong to the classification order Sirenia. Dugongs are the only strictly herbivorous marine mammals in the world and can be found all throughout the southern hemisphere, encompassing 40 countries and territories within the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

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Together with Dugongs, Manatees form the order of sea cows. These two species differ mainly in their caudal fin; Manatees have a single round paddle-shaped tail while Dugongs have a forked fluke more like that of a whale. With a length of up to 5 meters, a manatee can weigh up to 500 kilograms. Diving with manatees is indescribable. These wonderful animals are very peaceful, calm, and slow, moving at a speed of only 3 to 7 km/h, perfect for observing and studying these majestic marine creatures.

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Check out incredible moments water enthusiasts like you experience every day with SSI

Did you just complete an SSI certification? Proudly post it! Want to support your favorite SSI Training Center and promote it to the world? Post it! Did you just have an unforgettable dive experience with your SSI Professional? Post it!

We love to see the SSI family growing day by day: so upload your photo to Instagram with #wearessi or #divessi or mention @ssi_international, and it will automatically appear in the SSI Hall of Fame. We can’t wait to see your adventures today!

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