BEINGA10-YEAROLD SHARKDIVER ISPRETTYCOOL!
By Sophie Purdon, age 18 I was born in the Cayman Islands.As my dad works in the scuba-diving industry, I have had a mask and snorkel strapped to my face most of my life. In the summer of 2008, I was given the opportunity by my parents to join Kids Sea Camp (KSC) on my home island of Grand Cayman.This is where my love and passion for the underwater world began. As my parents dove with other parents, I started my days learning about marine life. The afternoons were spent playing on the beach with new friends. I love that there also is dedicated family time for us to dive together. At age 6, I was snorkeling with my dad
and KSC owner Margo Peyton at Stingray City and was stung by a jellyfish, causing an allergic reaction. Safety is very important to Margo, and she knew just what to do. She responded quickly with her emergency protocol in place. That experience left me with a fear of jellyfish, but Margo helped me overcome that fear.A couple years later at Palau KSC, Dad and I snorkeled Jellyfish Lake with millions of jellyfish that did not sting. I’m so glad that I shook that fear. I became a PADI OW diver in Micronesia. My dad, Fraser Purdon, is aTec instructor, and I knew he’d been waiting for that day my whole life. He was so very proud of me. I was a little scared on that dive because
there were lots of reef sharks in the water. Margo said I would be safe, and my dad said I didn’t have to do the dive, but I plucked up the courage and jumped in right behind my dad. I am so glad that I did; being a10-year- old shark diver was pretty cool. Learning about and diving with sharks eliminated fears, and I learned how important it is to protect them.Traveling with my parents has taught me so much about the world. I learned about diving pressure by cracking eggs underwater. Did you know they stay together and you can even bat them around, unless a fish eats the yolk? I have developed courage, confidence and knowledge as a diver, and I try to inspire
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