From clear visibility to amazing dive buddies with a lot of experience,
SCUBAnauts International Summerland Key first dives 1-8 were amazing. This is my first summer trip with SCUBAnauts. They pair you in science groups so you have experienced divers helping with your projects and your diving skills. With the first 8 dives, we dove on Looe Key Sanctuary Preservation Area, a reef with beautiful coral, fish, and visibility. We only go about 30 feet at the max, but on the bright side that gives us more bottom time. My science group had a “scavenger hunt” where you pick a lot of objects varying from fish, coral, or any other animals or reef features. That project really helped with taking in the environment because you are always looking around and you might see things you would probably never see in the Gulf or Atlantic Ocean.
Dive Skills and Science Skills Go Hand in Hand
I had been diving for four years and my swimming style was horrible. I swam almost vertical and would kick up sand, but after the first few skill dives, I got my form a lot better with not kicking up sand and being more observant so that I did not hit coral or other divers. There are also fish that I had personally never seen. When I dove down and learned about a fish called a Graysby, which was pretty cool to see because I didn’t know what it was and when I went up to my dive pro (one of the leaders of SCUBAnauts) I pointed out the fish and pointed to a sheet of paper that had fish ID’s and I ended up getting it right and it made me felt proud of myself.
On the fourth dive of our first day, my group was swimming around and collecting data and our groups were separated into buddies each with a dive pro and a reef shark swam in between us and it did not bother us. If you’re scared of sharks, you really should not be! They can be scary at first but when you see one for the first time its looks like the coolest thing in the world.
This week we will also help replant corals because disease killed a lot of corals, which has a huge impact on the environment around it. We’re staying at a place called Mote Marine Lab and we help with their coral trees and cut and rehang coral so it can grow, and once it is grown, we go and outplant these corals at the reef, which helps our reefs. All in all, SCUBAnauts helps the environment in a big way, it helps with skills and one of the most important things you have lots of fun!
Jack E., Naut-in-Training, Sarasota Chapter