Dates of Trip:
I was fortunate to receive financial support through MITOC's Sean A. Collier Adventure Grant to embark on my first scuba adventure and get Open Water certified. I earned my PADI Open Water License in August 2017 in the beautiful Bocas del Toro archipelago, located on the Caribbean side of Panama. My training involved six one-hour dives that taught me the basics of scuba diving. While mostly known for its coral reefs, Bocas del Toro is also home to lobsters, squids, sea horses, and various species of jellyfish, which all made an appearance at some point during my dives
After finishing my course in Bocas, I took a whirlwind trip to the Pacific side of Panama and inaugurated my new license by way of a two-tank dive off the stunning Isla Coiba, a national park known for its diverse marine life. Along with better visibility, I was rewarded with glimpses of octopuses, sting rays, green morays, sea horses, large schools of colorful fish, and sea turtles. White-tip sharks swam close to us for most of the dive. A pod of humpback whales approached the boat as we made our way back to the mainland – a worthy finish to a great trip.