My name is Jacki and have been a volunteer in the education department at the Aquarium for the past two years. I am absolutely thrilled about the entire experience of SEA TURTLE. I mean, really!! How many kids in high school do you know learn to dive but also learn about fish anatomy, listen to incredible guest speakers, and even travel to the Bahamas?! To prepare for this long awaited trip, our team of "TURTLErs" has been and will be attending pool SCUBA sessions and classroom based lessons.
Jacki in her snorkeling gear
On Sunday, with wetsuit, booties, flippers, mask, and snorkel in hand, we made our way to the pool. Despite the early hour I had to wake up on a Sunday morning, my energy level sky rocketed when we walked into the pool area. Never having worn a wetsuit before, I was so pumped to hop in the water!
Jacki gives a wave while trying out her gear
The absolute best part of the day had to be the sea shell collecting races Sarah organized. After practicing our "blasting techniques" with the snorkel on our own, Sarah challenged us to test our swimming and diving techniques by having us dive for sea shells. She sunk a variety of sea shells she collected in the Bahamas in the middle of the pool. Our challenge: to collect the most shells. On her mark, our two teams raced to dive to collect the shells! I kicked as hard as I could, spotted a nicely situated shell, took a deep breath, and dove straight down to snatch it. With just enough breath left, I "blasted" my snorkel at the surface, and raced to touch the pool wall first.
Jacki (second from left) and the other "TURTLErs" get ready for their giant stride.
Finally, after lunch, we geared up in our wetsuits! I took my first "stride" off the edge of the pool deck. Then BAM, I floated! It was such an awesomely weird feeling being so buoyant in the water without needing to tread. Shouldn't I start to sink? Now I can't wait for the next pool session where we will be suiting up with ALL of our dive gear!