VD is an excellent location for those new to diving. Van Damme is famous for open water certification dives. The beach entry is too easy, even for the novices. The outer reef protects the beach from swells when all other local dive sites are blown out. The majority of the bay is shallow (20-30 ft) and sandy with no current....Great for newbies. During ab season, boat traffic can become frustrating. The north wall offers pretty good sight seeing with cucumbers, crabs, and big abalone once you get deep. The north wall also has a cave that is pretty cool to dive during high tide. If all else fails in the Mendocino/Ft. Bragg area, Van Damme is still a good option.