The oceans are teaming with life, waiting to be explored. A few students have decided to take the plunge and discover what’s waiting for them below the surface.
Juniors Katie Hicks and Jonathan Thompson have taken up scuba diving. Over the summer, both took to the ocean to explore the reefs of the Atlantic Ocean.
Both got into the hobby because it was a family tradition.
“My parents started scuba diving 25 years ago. The first time they went, they did snuba, which is a mix between snorkeling and scuba. Since then, they’ve spent their summers scuba diving,” Katie Hicks said. “They started taking me a few years ago.”
“My aunt was the first woman to dive in all 50 states. She has all of her scuba diving certifications, and is certified to teach them all. She is currently teaching me all of the them,” Jonathan Thompson said.
In order to start scuba diving, they first had to get the most basic certification.
“I started when I was 12. My parents took me to a dive shop to get certified. You have to get it renewed every once in a while,” Hicks said.
It isn’t a cheap hobby, either. An average scuba certification will run you $350-$400, plus cost of equipment. But Thompson and Hicks say it’s well worth it.
“It was one of the greatest experiences of my life. It has an indescribable feeling,” Thompson said.
“I love looking at the wild life. You get to see so many cool fish and coral, it’s just peaceful,” Hicks said.
Although some may fear the idea of being submerged under water, these two are willing to brave it out.
“Once you learn to breathe through your mouth, then you have nothing to worry about it. The only time I’ve been scared was when I got stung by a jellyfish,” Hicks said.
“It’s only dangerous if you are negligent,” Thompson said. “You can do more damage to the environment than it can do to you.”
Hicks considers herself lucky, as she is able to go scuba diving every year.
“We usually go a few times a summer,” Hicks said. “Sometimes we’ll go to a beach. Other times we get taken out to sea on a boat and get to go into deeper waters.”
Thompson enjoys it so much that he encourages everyone to go diving.
“It is such a great experience that I could not encourage you enough to go,” Thompson said.
While scuba diving may be somewhat exotic, to Katie and Jonathan it is worthwhile.