Bahamas Collecting Expedition: More Than Just a Dive Trip...

Posts from the Sea TURTLE teen diving program will continue, but at the same time New England Aquarium staff and volunteers are on their regular spring expedition to the Bahamas. You were introduced to Chad and Nichole earlier this week and how they found out about our Bahamas Collection Expedition. Now that they are actually on the trip, Nichole is back to share her experience.

I have to admit it…I don’t love diving. I am, however, married to a man who LOVES diving.  Therefore, I dive--for love of my husband.  Chad has his Advanced Open Water, Rescue Diver, and Shipwreck Certifications. He loves diving. Chad and I take a dive trip at least once a year. If any vacation is near a dive site, we are underwater. Before this trip I had logged at least 20 to 30 dives. But this trip is different. This trip has made me look forward to a dive.  There is something completely different when your dive has a purpose. There is now a renewed respect for the ocean God has created in my heart.

Ocean surgeonfish (Photo credit: Chad Toney)

This is definitely not a vacation. Every night I have never been so thankful to enter my 7 x 7 foot room and climb onto a thin twin mattress and SLEEP. Diving can be exhausting, but I’ve never had so much FUN diving!  After each dive there is an air of excitement as everyone discusses what they saw, what they were able to collect, and “the one that got away." I have learned so much from the aquarists on this trip. I can easily recognize numerous more species of fish than before and between dives we have really enjoyed watching feedings and taking care of the fish onboard. Between dives there is always something to be done (which is helpful to occupy a man who can’t sit still). There were catch bags to be repaired (who knew my man could sew?) and holding tanks to be cleaned.

But if you just wanted to sit and enjoy a sunset…you were blessed by Beauty.

After our trip to Boston last year, which lead to us being on this trip, I never planned to make Boston a regular vacation spot. Now we are already planning a trip to the New England Aquarium to visit all of the beautiful specimens we have collected … and introduce our daughters, Caitlyn and Claire, to all of the animals (both aquatic and human) we met on this trip. These truly are AMAZING people. I am so thankful for the opportunity to join this group in their quest to share the ocean with the public. I hope this won’t be the only time we get to participate.

 Nichole collecting (Photo credit: Chad Toney)

One warning … after this dive trip … recreational diving just might lose its thrill. But for a diver-who-didn’t-LOVE-diving it has given me a whole new reason to suit up, jump in, and go under.   


Visit this page for more information about joining the Aquarium Collecting Expeditions.

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