Lightning struck. Thunder crackled. A voice boomed, “Who Goes There!”. Six confused CIEE students entered what was once known as the classroom and now displayed the throne room of Poseidon, God of the Sea. Thus began the ceremony during which the students received their AAUS Scientific Diver Certifications. Since the end of August, the divers have been receiving extensive training in how to be precise, efficient, and conscious underwater researchers. They have been trained in Benthic, Coral, and Fish AGRRA surveys, REEF surveys, fish behavior analysis, and video transect capturing. The students have also trained extensively in how to streamline their research equipment so that a stray camera or transect bar does not damage the reef or startle reef creatures. The new inductees now exhibit some of the best buoyancy control of divers found throughout the island and their new certifications are well earned.
As the students walked forward to the throne of Poseidon to receive their merits, staff looked on dressed as a variety of sea creatures. Professors had shed their human form and were now a decorator crab, shark, and doctorfish. One intern had morphed into a sea urchin using pizza boxes and rolled paper, and another had transformed into a ctenophore with colorful pieces of neon marking tape as bioluminescent comb plates. A third intern hid behind her jellyfish tentacles made of bubble wrap strips, and a fourth took the role Poseidon himself in a diver flag toga. The messenger of Poseidon, more commonly known as the CIEE Dive Safety Officer, announced the AAUS Scientific Diver Oath and the new inductees repeated it back to her with fervor. Once the formalities came to a close, buckets of celebratory ice cream were eaten throughout the throne room by sea creatures and divers alike.
By: Leah Wessler, CIEE Intern Fall 2017