By Michael Rothberg
For Bronty O’Leary ’13, everything is quiet, serene and relaxing below the surface. Equipped with a tankful of gas, she slowly descends deeper into the abyss of the ocean, encountering all sorts of marine life along the way.
O’Leary, who was certified when she was 13, has scubadived all around the world in places like Adaman Ocean around Thailand, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.
“It has been so much fun going to places and not only seeing the culture but also everything the ocean has to offer,” O’Leary said. “My favorite part about diving is seeing things that are really rare like huge Manta Rays and belugas, which were incredible.”
In addition to being an open water diver, Keane Muraoka-Robertson ’13 is a certified rescue diver after extensive training in the Caribbean islands.
“[Rescue diving certification] was much more difficult to get than the advanced open water diver certification because it required a lot of memorization of medical procedures and what to do in certain scenarios,” Muraoka-Robertson said. “It was also very physically straining. Although luckily I have never been in a situation where I need to use my training, I think that it’s something that is very good for a diver to have. ”
Since she had a nasal deviated septum, Muraoka-Robertson was unable to equalize pressures when underwater.
To correct the condition, she underwent surgery this past November.
“It was awful not being able to do something that I love,” Muraoka- Robertson said. “Each dive is unique and you never know what you will see. It’s a completely different world down there and a great escape from our chaotic lives.”
Henry Noonan ’13, who was certified as a freshman, said he enjoys scuba diving, but he also warned of the potential danger involved with the sport.
“Once I was diving with my friend and he went up too fast and a blood vessel in his eye popped from the nitrogen bubbles in his bloodstream, which caused his mask to fill with blood,” Noonan said. “It was extremely traumatizing. It is a very dangerous hobby, and people need to understand that this activity could very well kill you.”
Ben Weissenbach ’15 learned to scuba dive in preparation for a marine biology trip with the middle school to Tahiti, Moorea and Rangiroa during spring break.
“I like being able to see animals and underwater life closer than we can from the surface,” Weissenbach said.