“I know that scuba diving has taught me a lot and it will be a huge affect through my whole life,” said Denise Caban, 18, of the South End. Recently back from a week of scuba diving in Bimini, Bahamas as part of the New England Aquarium Sea TURTLES program. Teen Underwater Research, Training and Learning Expedition sponsored 11 students in the Boston area including Caban.
After training in the MIT pool since February Caban’s transition to the saltwater of the Bahamas meant burning eyes whenever she had to clear her scuba mask.
Her original scuba training took place at the Blackstone Community Center, Caban explained, “I never knew you could scuba dive period,” until her lifeguard mentor Dewey Crespo gave her a brochure and helped train her for her original certification. She knew she wanted scuba in her life and kept herself open to options, “I didn’t want that to be the last time I dived.”
Down in the Bahamas the group continued to expand their knowledge of the marine life and scuba lingo. Buoyancy Compensators, known as BCs to divers, pump more or less air into vest to keep the diver floating at different depths. In the water it was as much about trusting the equipment as it was supporting a swim partner. Caban went through a daily routine from cleaning the equipment to, “Snorkeling and then learning how to breathe and BCs and tanks, then the fins. Make sure you learn how to breathe constantly and learn languages and signs for out of air,” she emphasized all divers must know the signs because, “You need a partner.”
She explained how important constant breathing was while underwater. “Once you put the regulator in your mouth… you cannot stop breathing,” the repercussions can be tight lungs and sickness when a diver surfaces.
Although the dives were memorable Caban enjoyed the freetime around 10 pm when the fellow divers were able to sit together on the dock and reminisce about the day’s experiences. Expressing her gratitude toward the aquarium program and instructors Caban said, “Thank the aquarium for giving me this opportunity to see what is out there, and see things I never believed in.”
Read some of the Sea TURTLE blogs here.
Here is the glitchy google map made to work in collaboration with the story, but it keeps repositioning the tabs:
View Scuba with the Sea TURTLES in a larger map