THEWORLD'S FIRST EVER JR. DIVE MASTER
HollyWakely, age 17, diving in Palau. Photo by Jesse Alpert
BECOMINGA PADI PRO
If there’s one thing everyone can agree on, it’s that 2020 has been a different year. Had I been writing this story one year ago, it would not come as a shock to most that I am sitting on an airplane, with my in flight snacks and a drink typing away on my laptop about my dive vacation in St. Lucia.Yet this year, most people will glare at me with shock in their eyes stating the same thing. I know I took a risk this summer, wandering from my Bermuda home, to St Lucia to join yet another Kids Sea Camp (KSC) dive vacation at Anse Chastanet . My KSC journey started with Curacao in 2006, at just 4 years old. From then on, I spent each year gallivanting with my diving family around the world and
exploring the ocean; I had no grasp then of what I wanted to do when I grew up. Come 2010, my family and I had followed KSC around most of the Caribbean, fueling my parent’s love for scuba diving and keeping my brother and I curious about different destinations and cultures. At this point I was certain I wanted to be a dentist, doctor or veterinarian, I had very little interest in scuba diving as a career. Dominica, Cayman Islands, Roatan, Bonaire, St.Vincent, back again to Palau, it was in meeting so many inspiring dive professionals that my mind-set began to change. I now had an idea of what I wanted to do when I grew up. 2017 was the year I developed a stronger bond with my KSC family, Margo andTom Peyton (owners of KSC).
I was a 15-year-old, Master Scuba diver with 300+ dives. My family had our yearly KSC trip planned to the Galápagos, where we dove on a liveaboard with some of the world’s most amazing creatures. One night at dinner my parents asked me if I was interested in doing any other KSC trips that year, and I responded as any kid would and said yes, I would love to! At the time I hadn’t gathered that they meant I would be going by myself.As a shy kid, sheltered by my extroverted brother, this concept of traveling without my family was a total reach for me. I’m glad I took that opportunity for what I thought would be a lonely KSC week. Arriving in St. Lucia in 2018, I was full of fear, worst case scenarios going
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