Last October, a group of adventure enthusiasts visited Sandals Grenada for a once-in-a-lifetime group excursion into the depths of the sea. These underwater explorers ranged in experience levels from first-time divers to PADI-trained divemasters, with first-timers completing their PADI certifications on-resort with the support and guidance of Sandals’ expert scuba staff -- joining the more than 100,000 who have been PADI certified at a Sandals Resort.
Each diver descended into the Caribbean Sea with a different goal in mind, some to experience something new with their partner, some to expand their understanding of aquatic life, and some to feed a passion for ocean conservation.
Read on to learn a bit more about their experiences 60 feet below the shoreline – and be inspired to slip out of your Sandals and into our fins.
“I wanted to try something radically new. I live in the mountains and love spending time outside, so exploring the Earth's inverse—an underwater wilderness—felt like a wonderful complement to my above-sea-level life. The different types of flora and fauna intrigued me; everything below the surface of the water was new to me.
I loved how easy the Open Water Scuba certification process was. We felt equally challenged and safe as we were led through the lessons by our local dive instructor, Curtis, who – with his fantastic sense of humor – shared his deep knowledge of the sea with us.
I'll never forget my first breaths underwater—it was a leap of faith jumping off the boat for the first time, trusting the scuba process and myself. I felt like my world was turned on its head in the most marvelous of ways. Diving and breathing and existing underwater reminded me of certain depths: the depth of myself and my capacity to learn, the depth of the earth's beauty and her bounty. It was exhilarating in the best way, I felt like I was on the cusp of something new, like I was gazing over a cliff looking down into a canyon, like I was flying in slow motion over the most beautiful planetary scenes.
Experiencing this with my partner made it all the more special. We both felt closer having borne witness to such awe together and having exercised such trust and vulnerability together. I learned that I thrive in new environments when learning fun new things, and that I love learning beside my partner. It was such a treat to witness him learn and process new skills—and to see his wonderful reactions to the flora and fauna underwater.”
“I started diving in 2015 and fell in love with it. I worked up to get my Rescue Diver certification and have dived professionally throughout my career in ocean conservation and outdoor media. I’d heard about the island of Grenada from colleagues who had visited and had great things to say about the diving. And, of course, I was familiar with Sandals Resorts as well — but more for their idyllic honeymooner atmospheres. So, when I got the opportunity to visit Sandals Grenada with my partner, Ben, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the resort’s dive operation.
It became clear after my checkout dive that Sandals puts as much emphasis on providing safe and exciting dive experiences as it does on the fine dining in its restaurants, relaxing treatments in its spas, or the quality of service from its staff. I was blown away by the professionalism of the dive guides and how easy it was to leave your room and be on the dive boat with your gear within minutes.
One thing Sandals really nails is balancing the slow pace of a luxury resort with the action of watersports. You don’t have to make a call between tranquility and adventure — when you’ve had your fill of one, the other is just minutes away. It was like being let in on one of the Caribbean’s best kept secrets!
First, we took the PADI Invasive Lionfish Tracker distinctive specialty course. Our Sandals dive guide, Curtis, was patient, knowledgeable and attentive as he taught us about the invasive species and how to spear them on the reef. We practiced spearing leaves on the sand at the dive shop before Curtis took us to a reef to test out our skills. While spearing a fish is certainly harder than spearing a leaf, we quickly got the hang of it, removing several invasive lionfish from the reef.
The coral restoration dive was another fulfilling experience, during which we helped the Grenada Coral Reef Foundation plant coral fragments in their underwater nursery. It was gratifying to know these corals would grow and be able to enrich the local reefs we had enjoyed all week.
Thanks to these experiences, we left Sandals Grenada feeling like we were able to have a positive impact on the island. Not only did it strengthen our bond with the ocean but being able to log these dives together also gave us memories to look back on for years to come.”
“I came to Sandals Grenada as a diver, knowing it was an all-inclusive resort geared towards couples, but knew little else beyond that. What ensued was easily one of the best vacations I have ever had.
I am a PADI Divemaster by training. I used to be an unhappy lawyer until a dive trip inspired me to quit my job, sell my house, and start anew -- campaigning for the oceans. Since then, I've worked in ocean policy, campaigned for sustainable seafood, and become a scientific diver and coral restoration practitioner. Now, I spend my days shadowing scientists, veterans and others fighting for our blue spaces to tell their stories. As an ocean storyteller, I have the privilege of sharing what they tell me -- how the water and the oceans inspire and motivate them to do more and be better.
All that to say, I am in the water as much as I can be. So, when the chance to dive in Grenada came up, I was immediately intrigued. The amazing week that resulted, I could never have predicted.
The diving in Grenada was amazing. The conditions were similar to my home base in the Florida Keys, except the corals and reefs were much more intact. I saw so much coral cover and so many beautiful colors and structures. The shipwrecks blew my mind! I loved how accessible they were to all levels of divers -- something that most wrecks are not. This made them super fun to dive together with our whole group, which was comprised of mixed-level divers. The coral garden and sculpture park were next level. My safety diver, JD, was a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer who gushed about the coral cover. He actually cried underwater seeing pillar coral, something that is almost extinct in the wild in our parts.
The all-inclusive dive experience at Sandals Grenada rivals that of any great liveaboard. I've done my fair share of great liveaboards, and they are my favorite way to dive – but at Sandals Grenada, I had all the perks of a liveaboard without having to be so remote – and with the added benefit of having an entire resort and Caribbean island at your disposal."
If variety is the spice of life, novelty is served for dessert. The new year is the perfect time to look ahead, flip through the empty calendar, and choose new adventures aligned with new goals and – a new you. Diving at Sandals Resorts, whether you’re new or an expert, is a treat for your soul–and a gift for the ocean.
To learn more about scuba diving and PADI certifications at Sandals Resorts, visit https://www.sandals.com/scuba/.