This past summer Kyra Dunnirvine ’23 took the plunge - a deep one at that - and obtained her scuba certification with her Martin Nicholson Scholar stipend. As a child, Dunnirvine always enjoyed visiting aquariums and had an affinity for marine life so she felt the experience of scuba diving would enhance her appreciation.
To achieve her level one certification which allows Dunnirvine to dive to depths of 60 feet, Dunnirvine first attended an online course for ten hours. After completing this initial step, Dunnirvine took a five-hour pool lesson to become acclimated with the gear and reading the time and oxygen levels. “One of the most challenging aspects of the experience was applying the online lesson in a real-life experience. The number one rule of scuba diving is: 'always keep breathing through your mouth.' If you don’t, you can develop lung issues,” she said.
All this prep work led up to the final stage of underwater ocean dives off the coast of Connecticut -- four separate dives of 30 to 45 minutes in length. “My first ocean dive was a little nerve-wracking, but after the first time, I was accustomed to it,” she said. Due to the cloudy conditions in the local waters, Dunnirvine could only see about five feet in front of her and she was able to spy some fish and crabs. But, the feeling of weightlessness underwater was unparalleled.
This winter Dunnirvine plans on a scuba diving trip to Florida where the waters will be clearer for appreciating the marine life. She and her dad have scheduled two dives: one with coral reefs and the other a shark tooth dive where you can locate fossils
Although Dunnirvine does not consider herself a bona fide risk-taker, she embraced this new experience with enthusiasm and went out of her comfort zone. “What was really cool was to put my mind to something and complete it within a certain amount of time. Because I scheduled the pool dives early, I had to complete the online classes quickly. It was a great feeling to get certified and hold the physical card,” she said.
Dunnirvine hasn’t decided fully if she plans on taking the next level of certification which would permit her to dive to 100 feet. Who knows? She may discover a shipwreck in the near future.
Located in West Hartford, CT just steps from Blue Back Square, Kingswood Oxford is a private school inspiring co-ed day students in grades 6-12 with a college preparatory curriculum. Empowered students become clear confident communicators, resourceful problem-solvers, and ethical leaders. KO: where unlimited potential meets endless opportunities.