Island Times Blog

How I Fell In Love

March 11th, 2016 by Sydnie Collins |

As a student with SeaTrek BVI, I had amazing opportunities to visit the British Virgin Islands, Belize, and the Bahamas and as of next year, I will be interning with SeaTrek, and I couldn’t be more excited about stepping up to this new role. My first year at SeaTrek I was hesitant, as I had never been on an overnight camp for more than a week; staying for a total of 3 weeks was waaaay out of my comfort zone, but of course I was willing to tackle this challenge because I’m in love with the ocean and all she has to offer!

After that first year at SeaTrek I couldn’t resist going back. I experienced so many opportunities I never thought I’d have the chance to: learning how to scuba dive and sail, participating in marine science projects, forming bonds with staff members, meeting new friends (that I still, to this day, keep in touch with), and SO much more. I will never forget that first summer spent with SeaTrek.

Sydnie with her shark friend :)

Sydnie with her shark friend 🙂

My second year at SeaTrek was a big success because I got my rescue diver certification on main program in the BVI, and I also got to spend 3 weeks in the Bahamas. Prior to that trip I had only been to Nassau when I was way younger and didn’t remember it much so I was that much more excited to go back. When I found out we would be diving with sharks down there I was ecstatic yet fearful at the same time. I knew there wasn’t anything to worry about, but it was the fear of the unknown of how they would react to being around me.

After that first dive with sharks I fell in love. I fell in love with their peaceful beauty as well as admired how powerful they can be. I appreciate how they treat me as if I am welcome in their home and wish I could thank them in a special way. Every single day after, I wanted to go do more dives with those beautiful creatures just so I could sit and watch them in their natural habitat.

I got so attached to the idea of sharks that when I got home, I researched them and why people were so afraid and why they were decreasing in population. I found out that there are roughly 100 million sharks slaughtered each year for this dish called shark fin soup. I also found out that you can’t even taste the shark fins in the soup; you could have so many other substitutes instead of harming our shark populations! Since the 1950’s shark populations have decreased by 90% in places they were most prominent and will continue to do so until we do something to stop the cull.

Shark without a fin :(

Shark without a fin 🙁

Ever since that SeaTrek Explorer trip to the Bahamas my life has switched gears toward the greater good for this species. For example, I just finished writing a whole paper on what our government can do to change the negative effects on the populations of sharks. Along with the paper I created a short film and posted it to my YouTube page, Facebook page, and Twitter to try to spread awareness of the horror and what people can do to help. As a staff member at SeaTrek this summer I look forward to sharing my love of sharks with the students and showing them that they can help the populations as well.

If you would like to contact/follow Sydnie and find out more about her work with shark conservation, check her out on social media:

Sydnie hangin' out waiting for her sharks to arrive

Sydnie hangin’ out waiting for her sharks to arrive




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