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Our picks for the sometimes less obvious winners.
Best Dive Shop (2013)
Aquarius Dive Shop
2040 Del Monte Ave., Monterey
In an underwater world where sheep crabs crawl, nudibranches ooze and 17-arm sunflower stars push their stomachs out of their bodies to eat, where neoprene explorers dream of infinite PSI and perfect neutral buoyancy is a thing of beauty, there is a transcendent need for expertise and equipment. Enter Aquarius, a dive-training destination with the depth afforded by more than 40 years in existence, a veritable ocean of experience in the relatively young adventure sport. Their website shares a telling quote from Jacques Cousteau: “Going to the sea and not being able to dive is just like going to the circus and then having to stand on the outside of the tent!” Welcome to the show.