Every scuba trip is a learning trip, of course, not just the first or third or fifth time you go out.
You might see a new crustacean or some colorful coral or you might discover that you prefer to be underwater for only certain amounts of time and no longer. Education is always a part of scuba.
But there are types of diving that are very much devoted to certain methods of aquatic discovery. Put it under the larger banner of scientific diving, and you have an entire field that's dedicated to ferreting out the data and information of the deep.
Maybe "ferreting" isn't the right word -- perhaps "fishing" is better? That's what scientific dive instructors will be teaching over a five-day course put together by the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. During the course students will follow science-minded divers into the ocean and "learn data collection techniques."
Dive sites will vary over the week. Kelp forests and a rocky reef will be two interest spots (and interesting to see how a science trip differs from diving of a strictly pleasurable nature).
Participants will earn an underwater natural certification and get to dive in the Aquarium's mega-sized Tropical Reef Habitat. Now that is pretty dang cool.
There are two sessions -- June 24-28 and July 22-26 -- and each costs $750. You will need an Open Water certification, and there are a few other asterisks.
If you just want to dive in the Tropical Reef Habitat, you can do that, too. It's the aquarium's largest exhibit and boasts over 2,000 fish, so call it a scuba experience with immediate pay-off in the seeing-fish-up-close department.