Beautiful Bonaire!

Sunday- After flying out of Boston, changing planes in Houston, suffering through layovers that seemed to last forever (mostly because of all my excitment), I finally landed in Bonaire! Pat and Dave Morton picked me up at the airport at about 5am and gave me a

Captain Don's Habitat

mini tour of the island on our way to Captain Don’s Habitat in Kralendijk. I had seen pictures of Captain Don’s online or from other interns, but nothing can compare to the real thing. Unlike other dive resorts, Captain Don’s believes in “Diving Freedom.” While other resorts can inhibit a guest from diving because they say when a guest can/cannot go out, Captain Don’s lets you dive as much as you want, when you want! 24-hour access to the incredible reefs below!

The resort overlooks crystal-clear water with a beautiful reef right below the surface and equipped with everything a diver needs from gear rentals and boat dives to rinse stations. I went on two shore dives today and burned through my air so quick. The reef and all of the tropical fish are all so beautiful! This was my first time scuba diving in the Caribbean, so it was super exciting. I was pretty scared seeing my first spotted moray eel, but I couldn’t wait to see more of the reefs on my first boat dive tomorrow!

Papa Dock and Baby Dock

Monday- Today, Pat, Dave, and I went on the 8:30 and 11 o’ clock boat dives. The dives were at Mi Dushi and Knife, which are both on Kline, Bonaire. Kline mean “Little Bonaire.” It is a small uninhabitated island off the west coast of Bonaire. Everything in Bonaire is just so beautiful, especially under the water’s surface. After diving, I took my Nitrox course with Leo Hoogenboom. I learned all about how to dive Nitrox and Leo also showed me how I would analyze my tanks for the dives tomorrow. At night, we stayed at Captain Don’s for the “Meet the Captain Party.” At the party I got to meet the general manager of Capt’n Don’s, Jack Chalk, who not only is sponsoring my accommodations and diving in Bonaire, but he practically runs the whole resort! I was also able to meet his wife Karen and his daughter Joi Jenkins. I would be working with Joi later in the week because she’s a STINAPA Marine Park Ranger! I was really interested in all of the work STINAPA was doing with the lionfish problem, so I’m excited to get out in the

With Captain Don (taken by Jack Chalk)

field with her. Last but not least, I met Captain Don who signed his book for me entitled Reef Windows: Opening Bonaire’s Dive Sites. I have heard so much about the Captain and all of the good things he has done for the island, so i cannot wait to read his book!

Tuesday- Today we went on the morning dives and then at dusk, I was ready for my very first night dive! Diving at night was a little scary, but amazing. As soon as the sun set, thousands of brittle sea stars emerged. They were everywhere and it was so cool to see. I was also proud of myself for finding a spotted moray! Smile

Wednesday- I got up early for breakfast & got my gear ready. On the way to the dive site, we saw dolphins! There were about six of them. It was a great way to start off the morning and they were definitely a good luck charm because our dive was amazing!  We kicked off the day diving at Salt City. This was a really unique dive. It was a drift dive in which we

Dolphins! A great way to start off the morning!

saw three sites in one (the north side, the salt pier, and the south side).

Diving around the columns of the pier was unbelievable. There was so much life and so much to see! I saw barracuda and a dozen squid all swimming together! The boat met up with us at the other end of the pier so we didn’t have to back-track. This was probably my favorite dive so far!

In the morning, I was a guest. In the afternoon, I was an employee! I learned how to fill tanks, and also how to be a dive master. I shadowed dive master Maximi St. Jago (Max) to find out what it takes. The main things to remember are to (1) keep the guests safe and (2) keep the guests happy. It was interesting to dive from another perspective. Throughout the dive you must be aware of yourself, but also the guests. They were definitely all safe, and Max and I kept them happy too! He found a lobster hiding under a coral formation, and I found a spotted drum!

With Jack Chalk

Thursday- I did more diving in the morning today, and worked around Capt’n Don’s in the afternoon. I’

m definitely getting used to waking up in paradise everyday! After diving in the morning, I worked with Joi in the afternoon. Today, she was working with a class of students from

the ages of about 7 to 12. The class was learning how to snorkel, and Joi was there from STINAPA to help out. In addition to learning to snorkel, the kids are also educated about the different fish and organisms. Education is very important because many of these kids don’t know what is in their own backyard! It was a fun way to spend the afternoon!  In the evening we met up with Jack, who was all dressed up in his Harley atire for his club meeting.Bonaire is truly a Diver’s Paradise and I don’t want to leave!

On Kline, Bonaire

Friday- I worked with Joi again today. We went out to Kline, Bonaire. We were taking the full trash bins off of Kline, replacing them with clean ones, and bringing the trash to the landfill. After that, we went patrolling around part of Bonaire. Since Bonaire’s reefs are protected by STINAPA, a person can get in huge trouble if you don’t follow the rules. For example, in order to dive in Bonaire, you must purchase a STINAPA tag which can go on your BCD. The tag is good for a year, but if you are caught without one by STINAPA, they can confiscate your gear!

Working at STINAPA with Joi Jenkins

In the afternoon I worked with Leo’s wife, Zsuzsanna Pusztai. Zsuzsanna is amazing photographer/videographer who spent her afternoon showing me more about my camera and Gate’s housing, and took me out diving with it! I was itching to use it all week and now it was my chance! As I filmed and took photographs of my own, Zsuzsanna was filming me. I had so much fun and I can’t wait to keep using my Gate’s set-up!

Bonaire underwater! My first time using the Gates housing.

Saturday- It was my last day in diver’s paradise. My last dive before flying home was at Country Garden. We saw dolphins on the way to the dive site, so I was sure I had enough good luck to finally see a sea turtle! This was my second favorite dive, mostly because everyone on the morning dive got to watch our dive master, Max, catch a lionfish! A ten minute swim from the boat and about 85 feet down brought us to this strange fan-like creature. At first I didn’t realize was I was looking at! It was so cool to watch, and I even filmed the whole thing!

Max catching a lionfish.
Lionfish in the bag!

My trip to Bonaire was definitely complete with a lionfish capture. After spending the rest of the day with Pat and Dave and riding around on Jack’s Harley, I’m sad to leave Bonaire, but I know I’ll return…especially to Captain Don’s Habitat!

Horseshoe Crab Surveys & Backscatter East

I woke up early on Tuesday and Thursday and headed to Swifts Beach in Wareham, MA. During the two high tide points in the early morning and night (during the full moon period), Senior Marine Fisheries Biologist Vin Malkoski and I counted the single, mobile, and spawning pairs of horseshoe crabs. After we randomly picked which end and how far down to start on, we set up our transect and moved down the beach. We end up counting a few single crabs (and recording their sex), and several mobile and mating pairs. The surveys were pretty short, especially with teamwork, and it was really cool to do actual field work for the state!

After the morning counts on Thursday, I made my way up to Derry, NH to Backscatter East. Fred Dion spent his afternoon teaching me how to work my Sony HD Videocamera in my Gates housing that John Ellenbrock from Gates Underwater Products donated to the Scalli Internship! He showed me everything I need to know about my Gates housing, told me about his business, and even lent me his camera light to use in Bonaire. Then, Dave Morton met me at Backscatter East to give me even more dive gear. Bill and Lisa O’Malley from WJO Sales donated a 5mm Henderson wetsuit and a rolling gear bag, which was perfect for my upcoming trip! Also, I received Sherwood Kinesis fins to use with my dry suit (which fit over my DUI rock boots!). By the end of the day, I was ready for bed…and Bonaire!

DUI Dog Days

Trying out my new DUI dry suit

With my brand new DUI gear packed up in the Malkoski’s truck, we were off to Gloucester, MA for the weekend for the DUI Dog Days Rally. I was ready to do some diving in my new dry suit!

I first helped out in the morning with checking the volunteers in, and then started diving. My suit took a little getting used to, but I was so comfortable in it underwater. After two dives that day I was exhausted, but nice and dry!

DUI Dog Days

I stayed warm in my Polartec dive jammies, and I was kind of sad I never got to try out DUI’s new electric jammies prototype! After my dives, I met up with Pat and Dave Morton to discuss my upcoming trip to Bonaire in 2 weeks!! After packing up the gear at the end of the day, we went to the volunteer’s dinner. Faith presented her slideshow about her recent trip to Antarctica and it blew my mind! The pictures of the icebergs were so amazing. It made me want to go back to Antarctica with her in 2016!

The DUI Dog Days weekend was so much fun and I hope I’ll be able to go back next year to help out and go diving again!

Beneath the Sea

With Jeff Hannigan and Faith Ortins of DUI.

The dive show was bigger than I expected! There were so many people and tons of booths. I was able to meet the North America Our World Underwater Scholar Josh Stewart, and everyone at the Diving Unlimited International booth. Faith Ortins (Vice President/Sales) of DUI fitted me for my new suit. I had never tried on a dry suit before, so I was really excited to get measured for my very own custom-fit TLS350! I am so thankful to DUI, Faith Ortins, Susan Long (President and CEO), and Dick Long (Founder and Chairman of the Board) for providing me a suit for my internship. I can’t believe how much support and generousity the sponsors give to the Frank Scalli Internship!

The day was busy, but I made sure I went to Jim and Pat Stayer’s presentation about the Maldives. After watching all their video footage, I wanted to go back to the Maldives with them! I’m pretty excited to be able to stay with them this summer like all of the other interns have. I want to learn more about underwater videography from them.

Beneath the Sea was so much more than I expected, but it just makes me even more excited to see the Sea Rover’s Clinic next year at their new venue!


Today was the Sea Rover’s Career Opportunities in Marine Sciences hosted by George Buckley. I carpooled with Vin and Kim Malkoski to the Boston Public Library where we set up and handed out programs. The speakers included George Buckley, Dr. Skomal, Jim Clark, Sarah Taylor, and the 2004 and 2008 Scalli Interns Kate Douglas and Kim Malkoski.

At Undersea Divers in Beverly, MA.

Unfortunately, the 2009 Scalli Intern Dan Turner was in Costa Rica for COMS and couldn’t make his presentation. However, Kate and Kim described what they did while they were interning, and the job opportunities they had after their internships. Not only am I excited to be the new Scalli Intern, but I’m also excited about the doors that are opening for me.

After COMS, we grabbed a quick lunch and Kim, Vin, and I headed to Beverley, MA to Undersea Divers. Unfortunately, Bob Boyle of Undersea Divers who donated my gear wasn’t there, so Shaun Maguire outfitted me with my gear. It was Christmas all over again as I received my Aqualung Pearl BCD, Suunto D4 dive computer,  scuba tank, 8mm Aqualung SolAfx Wetsuit, and Aqualung Titan regulator and octopus with Sherwood depth, air, and compass gages. I couldn’t wait to go diving and use my new gear!

From the dive shop, we headed back to Boston. Kim and I had dinner with some of the other interns (Kate Douglas, Rick Simon, and Sea Rover Mike Zappala). It’s really nice that everyone is so close with one another, and I feel so welcome as the new intern!

Sea Rover’s Film Festival

Tonight was the night I had been waiting for! I was so excited to be named the Boston Sea Rovers 2010 Frank Scalli Annual Summer Intern!

With Dr. Silvia Earle

I was nervous the whole hour car ride up to Boston. After I met up with Pat and Dave Morton, we headed out to the Board of Directors dinner. The food was amazing and so were the people! As the first intern, Kate Douglas, helped me network the room along with Pat Morton, I was able to meet people I’ve only read about: Dr. Silvia Earle (the emcee for the evening), shark biologist Dr. Greg Skomal, cinematographer Peter Scoones, speaker and the Sea Rover’s 2010 Diver of the Year Wes Skiles (who wanted MY autograph), and cinematographer DJ Roller to name a few. I met everyone from deep-sea explorers and cave divers to the volunteers that help make these functions possible. This internship has already introduced me to a world I’ve only dreamed about!

The Frank Scalli Interns.

After dinner, I headed over the the New England Aquarium IMAX Theatre where the Film Festival would take place. I was so excited to see everyone’s presentations. At one point, Dave Morton asked me to stand so he could introduce me as the new intern. I was lucky I didn’t have to walk down any stairs or get up on a stage like the other interns, so I had it pretty easy! Everyone’s presentations were so interesting. I only hope that one day, I will be presenting my life’s work at the Sea Rover’s Film Festival too!

After the Film Festival, everyone headed to the docks for the Reception on the Water. There, I was able to see some familiar faces like Patrick Scalli, and also talk and take pictures with the speakers and interns. I met many more sponsors and Sea Rovers.

The night was a success, and I think everyone (especially me) had a great night! I was even more excited to get my summer started!