MAGALOG21 (2021)


to use. It could be used with one arm or two.The scooter provided assistance diving if I got tired and was a whole lot of fun. Margo loves challenges and is one of the most loving people I have ever met. She proudly proclaimed,“Paul, we got this!” and, with that, launched me into getting back in shape and continuing to plan our dream dive trip to Dominica. Margo and I connected in New Jersey at the Beneath the Sea Dive show in March. She was elated to see me walking with my new prosthetic leg and introduced me to ‘Dive Heart’ to get neutrally buoyant fins to fit my new foot. I was excited about the ScubaPro fins and meeting some great people, who were already doing what I was still dreaming about. We arrived in Dominica just four months after my surgery. I was walking on my new prosthetic, carrying the underwater scooter and a swim prosthetic (Aqua Leg) was strapped to my backpack. FortYoung Hotel was beautiful and located right on the water

with our room looking out to the ocean. Buddy Dive was ready and waiting for me. I spent the first full day trying out my new Aqua Leg, learning to use my new dive gear and getting comfortable diving. Niels, who runs Buddy Dive, was ready to assist in any way, so I jumped in for a checkout dive off the dock. That was the greatest feeling in the world, my friends. I cannot describe the freedom and joy I felt getting back in the water and descending to depth, and diving again.After my awesome check-out dive, it was game on! I had my family around me, and that family now included theWhites and the Peytons. We were so fortunate to have the friends we met last year in Roatan, Jay and Lisa White and their boys reconnect with us in Dominica.They brought an extra scooter and a shared passion for hunting lionfish. Cindy, Lisa and Margo were focusing on underwater photography, and the kids were scootering around together and having a blast. Life was great again!

Buddy Dive in Dominica accommodates every level of diver, and it was easy for me and the kids.We enjoyed diving with adults on our own boats in the mornings and then dove as a family every afternoon. We had fun looking for sperm whales, and I even jumped off the top of the Buddy Express boat with all the kids! Abby and JAZ took a digital photo class with Margo and shot some amazing underwater images.We ate fresh lionfish fritters and ceviche each night. Margo andTom always put safety first, and that made our trip stress-free. It was just what my soul needed, and all was made pos- sible by Next Step Orthopedics and Kids Sea Camp’s “We got this” mentality. It was hard to say goodbye, but we are busy planning our next KSC trip Story by Paul Zanelli, father, husband, diver, EMT, fireman and all-round inspira- tional human being 803-419-2556 email:

Made with FlippingBook - Online catalogs