Intelligent Travel (Kids Sea Camp Palau) by National Geographic author Rainer Jenns

Amazing traveling with your kids

Intelligent Travel (Kids Sea Camp Palau) by National Geographic author Rainer Jenns

Anyone with young kids certainly knows about the lifestyle modifications that need to be made in order to raise children. Among other things, you just can’t go out as much or stay up as late as you did BC (before children). And when it comes to traveling, most parents somehow feel obligated to forgo their dream trips or favorite vacation activities for more family-friendly destinations and accommodations that cater to kids.
This seems particularly true in the case of scuba divers, who too often take a complete sabbatical from the sport while bringing up their kids. After all, how are moms and dads supposed to go diving with young children in tow?

My wife and I found ourselves in this boat after our boys were born, and although I still managed to finagle my way back in the water every now and then, Carol and I rarely”‘buddied up” underwater, and we certainly weren’t planning vacations that revolved around diving like we once did.

I learned that compromising our love of scuba diving for the sake of our two young sons proved unnecessary. Not only was I enlightened to the fact that children as young as 10 years old can now become certified divers, I discovered a tour company that catered to families like ours: parents who want a family dive vacation and the kids get a chance to make new friends and participate in their own underwater adventures.  Kids Sea Camp (KSC) was started 14 years ago by Margo Peyton, a travel consultant, dive instructor and mother of two who wanted to bring together like-minded people who love the ocean, diving, beaches, snorkeling, and travel, and offer them the opportunity to share their passion as a family. After initially launching with just one trip and one other family, KSC now offers hundreds of kids and adults each year the opportunity to learn and enjoy scuba each year.  In honor of her dedication toward helping kids and adults gain a greater appreciation for our oceans and creating family diving events around the world, Margo was inducted into the Women Divers Hall of Fame in 2009 and has contributed to 5,000 certified divers to-date.

It didn’t take a lot of persuasion to get Carol and the boys on board. After perusing The Kids Sea Camp list of itineraries, which now include destinations like the Cayman Islands, Bonaire, Yap, Utila, Fiji, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Roatan, Australia, Greece, Florida and the Galápagos, we decided on Palau, which I had been told by the famous underwater photographer David Doubilet has some of the best diving on earth. We called Margo and booked the Palau family adventure.

One of the biggest draws to KSC is the fact that they can fully train and certify any adult or child ten years or older during their trip. Our original plan was to have the boys (who are now 11 and 13) go through the PADI certification program included on the trip. After all, how cool would it be for them to become certified in the waters of Palau, teeming with marine life and practically unlimited visibility?

We certified the kids over the summer so they could join the other teen divers on the trip and take full advantage of the amazing reefs surrounding this Micronesian island. Our kids had a fantastic time experiencing their first ocean water dives with their fellow certified teen divers; however, I did take note of the fact that the kids who were getting certified during the trip had done the PADI e: learning prior to arrival and didn’t miss a beat.

For children under ten, Kids Sea Camp also have programs there’s SASY (Supplied Air Snorkeling for Youth) with lots of underwater pool adventures as well as fun educational in ocean activities. Children ages 8-10 can participate in the PADI SEAL Team Program, a course that only with Kids Sea Camp includes dive time in the ocean where they learn the basics of diving. But regardless of how old they are, the whole point is not just to supervise them, but get them exposed to scuba diving and have them share the experience with their parents and other children their own age.

Palau has some of the best diving in the world, and the good news is that the hassle of getting there is more than worth it. Since we were traveling with Kids Sea Camp, the long flights and three layovers allowed us to get acquainted with some of the other families in our group. Since KSC has been in operation for 14 years now, most of the dozen or so families represented had been on one of their trips before. It didn’t take me long to realize why they returned. The kids, regardless of age, seemed to bond immediately, while the adults shared a quick camaraderie. This really was the best of both worlds for Carol and me: fun with the kids combined with the freedom to pursue our passion for diving.

One of the beauties of Palau is that its premiere dive sites are not particularly challenging, in other words, you don’t need advanced open water training or Nitrox tanks to enjoy them.  The water temperature was a balmy 84 degrees while the visibility on most dives was easily 100 feet.  Even when it rained, which could happen quite suddenly in this tropical region, it didn’t bother us too much since we spent most of our time underwater.

We signed up to explore the islands with Sam’s Tours, and our first stop as a group was to Jellyfish Lake. The marine lake is the bizarre consequence of thousands of years of evolution–over time millions of golden jellyfish were isolated in its waters and they migrate horizontally across the lake each day following the sun’s rays to capture their nutrients. What makes these jellyfish so unique, however, is the fact that you can swim freely among them, since they lost their stingers from never having to fight off any predators.

But perhaps Palau’s most famous dive, and thus most visited site, is the Blue Corner. Before swimming out to the corner itself, we descended to about 90 feet (the kids were limited to 45 feet) to see some magnificent gorgonian fans, anemones, giant clams and soft corals along the sea wall, which stretches thousands of feet down.

We were immediately greeted by a cruising gray reef shark, a precursor of things to come. We floated with the current like a bunch of kites in a strong wind. The concentration of marine life, including large schools of jacks, trevallies, and barracuda swimming all around you was just incredible.

Perhaps the only downside to our first family dive trip was that it set the bar incredibly high for the kids.  With time to savor the wonderful week we shared together and remind them not to expect marine life like that every time we go diving, which we all hope thanks to Kids Sea Camp will become a regular family activity for us from now on.

To read more about  Rainer Jens family travel :http://intelligenttravel.nationalgeographic.com/2011/02/09/family_diving_palau_part_2/

Kids Sea Camp Honduras Parent Poems

Kids Sea Camp Family Dive Adventures  Family poems..  Dive Honduras, Bay Islands Utila

Laguna Beach Resort

 

K- ids having fun every day
I- n the water bright and early
D-olphins for all
S-harks for some

S-un shine abounds
E-el’s down deep
A-ndrea rocks!

C- alderone rocks too!
A-nd rough seas
M-akes for
P- lentiful FUN!

– By: Denice Tappero

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Our family came here from the “Highlands”
To spend time in these beautiful islands
Drinking beer by the glass, here in hon-dur-as
And will leave these good islands a smiling
Rotten Ronnie is the best his pirate name is Rogest
We think at times he’s lost his mind!
You’ll Think he’s crazy but he’s really kind!
Our family loves it by the sea
We are as happy as can be
scuba diving is so much fun
We won’t go home until we are done

– By: Robert Parker

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R-eef diving in search of colorful fish
O-cean clear and blue greatest wish
A-bstract art with rotten Ronnie he’s the best
T-ropical island –so much to do no time to rest
A-nimals – paco the parrot and peter the monkey
Our new best friend
N-ever enough week sad to see the end

– By: K. Van Dike

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The same kid, from Bermuda
Who wanted to see a barracuda
Went diving one day
and got lost on the way
and ended up in Cuba

– By: Holly Wakely

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There was a young man from Bermuda
Who wanted to see a barracuda
He does the best that he can
he went to Utila
At Kids Sea Camp he learned
How to scuba

– By: Zebedee Wakely

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The sea is blue and Quaid eats glue
Kash likes paint
but still says the word ain’t
Sherri loves the trip
but still doesn’t give A flip
Jason enjoys no phone but all he can
Hear is reeds fingerless moan,
We have enjoyed all of the doctors and a few of
The loons
The Roberts all hope to see you
Again soon

– By: Jason Roberts

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To Bay Islands we made the trek and got
To dive on a big wreck
But the best part for our whole group
Is the Kids Sea Camp troup
About the ocean the kids learned much
Seeing dolphins, fish, turtles and such
To Rogest and Margo and everyone thanks
So much

– By: Doris & Bob Schaffer

KSC Bonaire Parent Poems 2008

Can’t Hardly Wait

We can’t hardly wait, to jump into the big ocean blue.
It’s been a long time getting here
dealing with long winters, colds and flu.
We got our gear, cameras, and buoyancy vests.
Airline is all booked, we hope
our flight’s the best.
After 11 hours of travel, arriving so sleepy.
We finally get here on the sandy beach, so pretty.
Boat dive is all set and Carlos is our guide.
He gets us to our dive site with dolphins swimming by our side.

So many beautiful animals we get to see with wonder.
From tarpon to turtle, to frogfish and flounder.
But today, what a day, such a big super surprise.
A manta ray swam with us, 6 minutes total, no lies.
So forget about theme parks with long lines and dizzy rides.
Bring the whole family to Kid’s Sea Camp,
a vacation they will remember for the rest of their lives.

By: The Abad Santos Family

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We dived, we played

We dived, we played
New friends we made
Have fun, no fear
We’ll see you next year!

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We go to the Islands with thoughts in our minds

We go to the Islands with thoughts in our minds
No, no, no!
Try again- with feeling.
We go to the Islands with love in our hearts
No,no,no!
Try again-with rhyme.
We go to the Islands smiling!
Yes,yes,yes!
One more time-with passion.
We go to the Islands with family and friends.
We go to the Islands with dreams.

By: The Colon-Bonet Family

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We’re at our 3rd Kids Sea Camp,

We’re at our 3rd Kids Sea Camp, this time in Bonaire.
So in comparing them, we must be fair.
The Curacao Sea Aqurium was really great
But in Roatan the dolphin encounter- first rate.
In Bonaire, the shore diving is the best,
And our new friends are as great as the rest.
So making comparisons, I’ll just have to forgo,
And take this time to thank Margo!

By: The Sciortino Family

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Squirrel fish are red

Squirrel fish are red
Parrotfish are blue
You can pee in your wetsuit
But you better not pooh!

By: The Diemer Family

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THE MANTA

Dave jumped in the water as I finished my fanta.
Then his head popped out and said “hey there’s a manta”.
We all looked around with Dave’s tendency to joke,
No one was sure if they could believe the bloke.
We dawned our gear as fast as we could,
With this opportunity, we knew we should.
We got off the boat in record speed.
Cause logging a manta is just what we need.
The manta swam into the blue and we thought we missed him,
Then turned around, and for Joe’s birthday, he kissed him!
For six minutes or more, she circled around us.
We were so excited, we almost cussed.
He sailed gracefully away, great story for later,
A truly great experience above the equator.
We finished the dive and headed to shore.
More memories from Kids Sea Camp- we can’t wait for more!

By: The Diemer Family

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A COUNCILLORS THOUGHTS

We’re tired and worn out.
Our muscles are sore.
We’re running on empty, and can’t take much more.
But one thing is certain, most definitely true…
Despite it all, we had a blast with you!
We’ve shown you our island and the mysterty’s below.
We’ve taught you some new things and seen your confidence grow.
It isn’t too often that we get to be role models,
 who contribute to a younger community.
So thank you for letting us be part of your stay.
Your smiles and successes reminded us everyday,
That no matter the many aches we have in our body parts.
The time spent with you, keeps us young at heart.
Thank you!

By: The Wall Family

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We came to dive all week in Bonaire,

We came to dive all week in Bonaire,
No work, no phones, no carpool, only fare.
Blow bubbles or not, go deep or go shallow,
Meet new friends who may be anything but mellow.
Kids learn new tricks and new sayings
Dive buddies and friendships here for making.
A week of painting, lots of dots and swirls,
kept us all on our toes and heads in a whirl.
Kids Sea Camp Bonaire, went by so fast,
but we’ll all meet again and have a blast!

By: The Gross Family

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Mask, fins, and snorkel to,

Mask, fins, and snorkel to, diving & swimming is what we do.
Kids Sea Camp is where we go, for kids to learn scuba, don’t you know?
On the boat and in the pool, everybody thinks it’s very cool.
The turtles and rays are very keen.
There are so many fish to be seen.
Here we come with a splash, nobody wants to be the last.
On the reef and in the deep, I think it’s so very neat.
The week has come and gone, but we will remember all we’ve done.

By: The Spichiger Family

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I sent Margo my money to come to Bonaire, in search of the frogfish,
I knew they were there.
On the second day there were spotted, looking coy as can be,
But if you were tasty they’d slurp you with glee.
Red ones, green ones, but none of blue hue.
They hid in the sponges where I could not swim through.
While I was searching for some frogfish to see,
I spotted a green moray eyeballing me.
Perhaps he was thinking I was his next meal,
“no” I shouted, “I’m to tough to peel”.
“You might like my son, he’s tender and young,
just got his Jr.Open water,
he’s much more fun.
“Let me go get him, you wait right here”,
but my son had already seen him and wouldn’t go near.
So my son had learned something, it was quite clear,
when you see a moray do not get that near!

By: The Voris Family

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MY WISH

My wish in Bonaire, is to see, starfish and turtles looking at me.
My wish as I go down to the sand,
Is to look through my mask and see all that I can.
See octopus, frogfish, tarpon and more all looking at me.
From the bottom of the sea floor.
I’ve worked real hard to do my best,
I learned my skills and passed my test.
At Kids Sea Camp my wish came true, as a SEAL Team member
I can dive the deep blue!!!

By: The Ando Family

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At last oh me!

At last oh me!
It’s great to be free.
Deeper, deeper, that’s for me.
Into the dark and cold salty sea.

This week went by really fast, too bad it can’t last.
Thank you Kids Sea Camp for a job well done.
You’ve made this week so much fun.
We hope to be back next year.
To great food and good cheer.

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As we stepped off the plane & into the hot air,
We got a great look at the people of Bonaire.
They were smiling and laughing: (we couldn’t understand a thing they said)
But we soon got the drift and longed for a bed.
When we got to the resort, we unpacked our bags,
And met some new friends, though we all had jet lag.
We put on our scuba gear and jumped into the water
We floundered at first, but soon swam like an Idaho otter.
We saw seahorses, turtles, dolphins galore
We longed to see octopus, bright corral, frog fish and more.
We slathered on sunscreen & headed for the pool,
in hopes that we’d see the wheat hair colored fool.
Ron taught us to paint with a brush in each hand, in hopes that our paintings would turn out just grand!
We’ve seen donkey’s, done blow carting, seen the sites, from a truck,
This entire week the food has been yuck, yuck, yuck!
But for our first time at camp we’ve had tons of fun, we hope to return to have even more fun in the sun.

By: The Chamberlin Family

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We came to Bonaire to have fun with our boys…
And show them the world, of undersea joys.
Chris and Cameron played in the water like others…
and learned to dive in the islands clear waters.
The week went too quickly,
We leave with regret.
Will we do Kids Sea Camp again?
The boys say “you bet!”

By: The Fain Family

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SEAHORSE

Mister seahorse, where can you be?
They say you live here, in this sea.
I search and search down deep below
Where your home is, I don’t know.
So quiet and sweet in a home so indiscreet
We finally meet.
Oh what a treat!
Mister seahorse of the deep blue sea,
you are a sweet sweet memory!

By: The Bucher Family

KSC Grand Bahamas Parent Poems 2009

GRAND BAHAMAS POEMS KSC 2009

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By: Diane Boudreau

 

I sat back and watched

All the people who came

From here & from there

To Pelican Bay.

 

The big ones,

The little ones,

Across many miles

But each one of them sharing

A fabulous smile.

 

From SASY to Seals

To Jr. Open Water & Teens,

The joy that I’ve seen

Is what life’s all about.

 

Families sharing precious time together

And aren’t we blessed we escaped the bad weather.

Kids Sea Camp is great for folks of all ages,

And now I have great memories to write on my pages.

So now that our week is coming to a close,

Isn’t is great Grand Bahama we chose?!

 

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By: Cameron Boudreau

 

Kids Sea Camp is great.

There is lots to do

 

I played and I ate

And I did some diving too.

 

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By: The Diemer Family

 

The seas were angry that day my friends

And could the Cetacea make it round the bends.

 

She could only make a left-hand turn

But we had to be careful so our last engine wouldn’t die.

 

Chris managed an epic docking.

That there was no damage was quite shocking.

 

The engineers made all the repairs

So the next day the divers would have no cares.

 

The ocean was calm (actually, like glass)

Blair House and Ben’s hole really kicked some…..

 

Came up from the dive and knew there were troubles,

But nothing to do with nitrogen bubbles!

 

Alas, our second engine again passed away

But Christina was there to save the day!

 

The divers were starving and needed lunch choices,

But how was pot roast the favorite amongst all the voices?

 

The Sea Explorer came to save us from the ordeal

But all we could ponder was our next meal!

 

Bow to stern, starboard to port,

The crew worked together like a team sport.

 

Back to home base and across the ladder

I ran to bathroom to empty my bladder.

 

Another Kids Sea Camp adventure we’ve had

And leaving our friends here will make us quite sad.

 

Looking forward to next camp; it will be a blast.

Here’s hoping our surface interval goes by fast.

 

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By: Renee Fini

 

I plunge into the warm ocean waters of Grand Bahama,

Finally, I get to breathe…

 

Sharks all around me stirring up the soft sand,

Finally, I get to breathe and watch in amazement.

 

Children hanging out with the crew, relieving me of my parental duties,

Finally, I get to breathe thanks to the crew.

 

Knowing we are not the only family with a million things to do when we get back home,

Finally, I get to breathe…

 

Using a new DC 10000 thanks to Joe and SeaLife Cameras,

Finally, I get some memories to take home for once.

 

Can’t wait to book a new Kids Sea Camp vacation for our family.

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An encounter

By: Svetlana Avramov-Zamurovic

 

Clouds gather to meet the ocean, dark purple and blue.

Wind scatters white crests.

Boat takes time to anchor letting waves come on the deck.

Divers focus on fixing the gear.

 

I take a stride and penetrate the belly of the ocean.

It swallows me firmly, sucking in my body into its silence.

The water is murky, distant in its vast depth.

I look around respectfully, making out only shadows of the fish.

Schools move gently, hesitant to suddenly change their shape,

Sharks cruise freely; they own the sea.

 

Once the feeding session starts a dozen fish come in.

Each body strong, but twisted in its attempt to reach bait.

I watch and yearn for the swarm to last.

 

One shark becomes quiet and the feeder brings it to me.

My hand reaches out before my brain can process the balance between fear and curiosity.

The mysterious creature is mine to feel for a split moment.

Skin’s soft side bonds to my hand and

I realize that underneath the mussel is a solid rock,

Showing off the ancient nature’s marvel.

 

I move my hand up and the harsh side grabs my palm.

And then, like a lightning the shark moves,

Its tail comes under my arm and takes away my breather, my only source of life.

 

I was calm putting it back,

For that was the only way I would remember for generation that

I encountered a creature of a different world and understood its power.