Kids Sea Camp is so much more than that!

I’m not technically a kid anymore

Kids Sea Camp is for family, but it’s also the perfect place for young adult divers ages 13-19, who are ready for some independence, advanced adventure, and continuing education and who want to have memorable experiences with other teens.

I’m not technically a kid anymore. That’s why I say, “Kids Sea Camp is more than that.”

I’m getting ready for college soon, and this summer, I enjoyed diving with my family, grandparents, aunt, and uncle at KSC Roatan. Spending a week diving together was one of the best experiences I have had with my entire family.

Kids and diving, Jellyfish lake, family diving, family vacationsMy dad is a military doctor, so I have grown up moving around. We lived in Guam for many years, and that’s when my mom read about Kids Sea Camp and booked the Palau trip in 2012. Each year since then, my parents, myself and my two younger sisters, 15-year-old Helen and 13-year-old Zoe, pick a KSC dive trip. Both land-based trips and liveaboards are on the table and open for discussion.

KSC trips are in the best dive destinations around the world. I have been to KSC Palau three times with Sam’s Tours, KSC Fiji at Beqa Lagoon Resort, KSC Roatan at Mayan Princess and the Sea Of Cortez, KSC’s “Citizen Science Week” on the Quino El Guardian.

There are many KSC followers that return year after year, like my family. But there are always new families, dive staff and great people to meet. That’s the “Kids Sea Camp magic” that Margo Peyton created 18 years ago when she started the company for her kids. My mom enjoys underwater photography, and my dad seems to relax and enjoy the quiet of being on a dive boat and submerged where the business of everyday life can’t reach him. My sisters love the water and look forward to these trips, as there are many things to do in addition to diving. 

I think we all agree to have other kids our age on the trips to share adventures and hang out with has been the best part. I love to travel with my family, but diving with other teens from around the world, learning about new cultures, creatures, and ecosystems, and discovering myself is why I want to keep coming back.

On these trips, the cell phones get put away. Being in the moment is more fun than worrying about what everyone is doing back home. I have found that I can easily handle being unplugged in exchange for adventure.

My parents surprised me with a Quino El Guardian trip to Mexico this past summer on a KSC “Citizen Science Week.” It was doubly sweet because my best friend, Mo, was my roommate and dive buddy. We had several other girls our age on board as well. The week was full of science and cool encounters with whales, sharks and sea lions.

I met Momo “Mo” Hudes on a flight to KSC Palau in 2013. We bonded and became dive buddies, and later best friends. Adding shipmates to that relationship this summer has set the bar pretty high for planning our next adventure. Our parents have faith and trust in Kids Sea Camp, and that confidence allowed us to embark on our own adventure.

Mo and I joined the liveaboard in the Sea of Cortez. The two of us journeyed through several airports and had to find our way around without our parents. This trip was an incredible opportunity for me to grow as an individual by stepping out of my comfort zone and putting the years of travel training Mom had provided to use. 

I had never been on a liveaboard before, so seven days at sea was an intimidating adventure. I had the most eye-opening and liberating trip of my life, and Mo and I met some incredible people.

We were made to feel apart of the KSC family, as always. Our dive guide was Juan, who we called “Dad” because he looked after all of us like a father. KSC staff member and photo-pro Brad Holland became “Cool Uncle Brad.”  Linda Sue Dingle, aka “Mom” from Sport Diver magazine, helped us feel at home on the ship, especially when she busted out goody bags of American flags, red, white and blue tinted glasses, and “I love America” signs for the 4th of July party she threw for us.

Mo and I learned so much about marine animals, plankton, and diving from marine biologist Dr. Robert Rubin, the “Citizen Science Week” leader.

I have many mentors from my dive masters and instructors, all of whom have become part of our family. I remember with nostalgia each fabulous venue and their endless, lasting impressions in my mind.

My favorite KSC moments

1. One evening on The Quino El Guardian, after a day dancing with sea lions, I was quietly observing another radiant sunset. Then just 100 feet in front of the ship, a finback whale breached out of the water making a splash shimmering with golds and reds and reflecting a kaleidoscope of similar colors off its body as it landed.

2. I recall night swimming off a moonlit beach in Roatan after watching fire dancers with new friends.

3. The views speeding through the Rock Islands of Palau on the bow of our dive boat, cutting through the turquoise waters that reflected the beauty of the Floating Islands.

By Sophia Quast, age 17