During a business trip to La Jolla Village, CA a year ago, I decided to take a client diving. A local dive shop organized everything for us...but I won`t mention the name because the gear was in bad shape. I met my client at the beach along with the dive master from the shop. Even though this beach was a popular dive area, we were the only divers there. The weather was nice and warm, but here we are putting on 5 mil wetsuits among everyone else wearing bathing suits and laying out in the sun. I`m sure we looked pretty funny.
The dive master gave us some tips on how to enter the water due to the surf (walk in with fins in hand, mask around neck, turn sideways into oncoming waves, then get your fins on when you can float). When we were all ready we descended and headed west, away from the beach out to deeper water.
We came to a wall around 40` that gradually dropped off into the abys (I think the dive master said it was over 1000` deep). We had to watch our depth pretty closely. We followed this wall north. I saw a huge halibut laying on the bottom as big as me. As I approached this monster fish, it calmly swam away, apparently not afraid of me. It was pretty cold down there, I was glad to be wearing a 5 mil with gloves. The viz was great, about 30`.
We continued along the wall for awhile then headed back east going towards the beach. I noticed several things sticking upright in the sand. I got closer and saw that they were little sand dollars (I snagged one for my wife). Then the dive master told us to look ahead and we all saw a Leopard (or Tiger) shark, I can`t remember which...but it was some kind of big cat shark :) It was only about 5 feet long, but that was my first time to see a shark underwater. Usually I see them on the end of my fishing line when I`m trolling for King fish in the Gulf of Mexico (of course I throw them back).
The other guy with us suffered from a pretty bad headache after the dive. I`m sure it had a lot to do with the cold water and his fast rate of breathing during the dive. My client and I had a great time and I highly recommend diving in La Jolla Village Cove, CA.