Destination: Paradise - Oceana USA
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May 24, 2007

Destination: Paradise

“I know I don’t get there often enough
But God knows I surely try
It’s a magic kind of medicine
That no doctor could prescribe”
        -Jimmy Buffet
         One Particular Harbour

Ahh, this is the life.  Palm trees, sandy beaches, warm sunny afternoons, the occasional cerveza…and lots of diving.  It could be anywhere in the Caribbean, but this week, my particular harbor is Cozumel, where I’ve come to get some much-needed bottom time, earn my Nitrox certification and generally unwind after a travel-filled season of dive shows.  With me are two fellow Oceana folks–Eric, our attorney, and Elizabeth, our marine wildlife scientist–and Elizabeth’s friend Allison.  Currently non-divers, they’re going to be introduced to the magic that is scuba diving by completing their Open Water Certification.

This trip is part of a larger project with Oceana.  As Dive Program Coordinator, I’ve been working to get the diving community more involved in ocean conservation.  It has been a rewarding year, as more divers become ocean advocates and create a stronger, louder voice for the oceans.  As I spend time talking with divers, shop owners, industry leaders and others, I’ve realized that I should, and can, give back to the dive community, by bringing conservationists to diving.  And what better way to start than with fellow ocean-lovers in the office who are interested in scuba, but have yet to give it a try?

So the plan is to spend sun-filled days on the beach or underwater, and evenings watching the sunset before heading out for dinner.  We’ll enjoy the local fare: conch and spiny lobster, lime soup, guacamole, a margarita or two.  We’ll make time to watch a Mayan fire dance in the town square, or visit ancient ruins on the mainland.  And of course, we’ll spend time with our old friend Thierry from Oceana’s Ranger and make new friends, Antonio, Luis and the rest of the Eagle Ray Divers crew.  And of course, relax.

After all, this is vacation.