It’s Awesome Down There–Monday, Feb. 29, 2016

Salomon and Mariela learned to snorkel with FOC volunteers.

Salomon and Mariela learned to snorkel with FOC volunteers.

Larry (right) translates as Heather (left) explains equipment use.

Larry (right) translates as Heather (left) explains equipment use.

It’s hard to imagine living near Cozumel’s clear blue water and never seeing the rainbow of fish and coral that live beneath the surface. After all, the island economy depends on the visitors who come specifically for scuba diving, snorkeling and fishing. But many Cozumel residents don’t know how to swim or lack the equipment and opportunity to learn how to enjoy the sea that surrounds their home.

Seven adults worked with experienced volunteers yesterday to practice snorkeling at Sunset Beach. The lack of swimsuits didn’t bother them. Even those with a fear of the water gave it a try.

Heather and Denny from the Worldwide Christian Scuba Divers Organization were among the Friends of Cozumel volunteers who provided an orientation to the equipment, discussed techniques and then partnered one-on-one with the snorkelers.

Karen (right) worked with first-time snorkeler Rosa.

Karen (right) worked with first-time snorkeler Rosa.

Ever since the donations of snorkeling equipment from the National Association of Black Scuba Divers and Cozumel Scuba Repair in early 2015, Friends of Cozumel has been providing Learn To Snorkel opportunities. This ongoing educational effort has delighted both adults and children who would otherwise never see the sea life that draws so many visitors to their island.

Gabi (left) was assisted by Luis. "He was a good teacher," she said.

Gabi (left) was assisted by Luis. “He was a good teacher,” she said.

“It’s incredible,” said Gabi. “I was afraid at first, but now I’m not.” (translated)

Rosa agreed. “I was a little afraid because I didn’t know if I could do it,” she said. “It was pretty easy. It was the first time my feet left the ocean floor because I don’t know how to swim. I saw beautiful fish—my first time to see fish below the water instead of from the surface.” (translated)

Pastor Salomon of Vida Abundante Church summarized the sentiments of the entire group. “How do you say ‘Awesome’ in English?” ~ Phyllis from Nebraska

 

Apprehension turned to smiles after the snorkeling experience.

Apprehension turned to smiles after the FOC snorkeling experience.

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