Because I lived in Monterey while I was learning to dive, I used to dive monastery regularly. It's a beautiful site and was always one of my favorites. I guess I had been pretty lucky because I always entered and exited in one piece. However, recently I returned to Monterey with my friend Julie to dive some of my old favorite spots…Monastery Beach was one of them. Julie and I almost drowned. Eager to get in the water, we hastily checked the conditions and began our south side entry. Everything appeared to be just fine and we stepped off of that little 5 foot ledge and were up to our chests. We were about to put our fins on when I looked behind Julie and saw a gigantic wall of water gathering up…quickly. The next thing I knew my face was pinned in the sand and I was flying head over heels. I thought I'd never surface but luckily I escaped the powerful undertow and washed ashore. As I struggled under 30lbs of weight (yeah I know, shut up) I turned around just in time to see Julie get hit by the next wave and wash up right next to me. So please, even if you have done a few dives at Monastery, ALWAYS THOROUGHLY CHECK CONDITIONS FIRST!