In keeping with our mission to build character and leadership, SCUBAnauts International offers a wide variety of experiences, both in and out of the water, throughout the year. As a Dive Safety Officer and Chapter Scientist for many years, my favorite event by far is the summer trip. Since 2013, our SCUBAnauts have spent one week each summer working in conjunction with Mote Marine Laboratory and Combat Wounded Veteran Challenge in Summerland Key to restore threatened staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis) on coral reefs. The growth of the Nauts in just one week is incredible; their dive skills, science knowledge, and confidence grow exponentially over the course of approximately 20 dives in such a short time, not to mention the new friendships that have proven to last into college and beyond.
Carolina to Cayos Cochinos
This year, I am pleased to share we are offering four summer trips to further expand our impact on the ocean and our Nauts! In addition to the annual Summerland Key event, we will travel to Cayos Cochinos, Honduras to conduct fish and benthic surveys in conjunction with the Foundation that oversees this National Marine Park and assist in their staghorn coral restoration efforts; to Morehead City, North Carolina, to assist with coral restoration of a new species, Oculina robusta, and conduct fish surveys; and finally, to Galveston, Texas, where we will spend 3 days on a liveaboard vessel conducting lionfish surveys for the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.
“Naut” Your Average Citizen Scientists
The addition of these new trips represent the growth of SCUBAnauts International and the hard work of the Nauts and our Science Education Volunteers. Our students have proven themselves time and again through their work with Mote, Hernando County, and the impressive roster of scientists and politicians they interact with at Capitol Hill Ocean Week in Washington DC each year. The Honduras and Flower Gardens trip in particular demonstrate the diving capabilities of our students with advanced diving conditions and robust science objectives. Each Naut on these trips will independently manage multiple science tools, collect several hundred data points, and inform management decisions for both marine parks.
Follow us here for first hand accounts from our nauts as we travel this summer!