First, I thought about the varying levels of divers this would commingle – a couple who used to dive a lot, but haven’t lately, my husband and I who try to dive as often as possible, my son who has a solid number of dives under his belt but took a year off and my friend’s children who just got certified last year. What does a dive itinerary look like with this diverse crew?
When my friend brought up going on a dive trip together with our kids, at first blush, I pictured the typical “herding of cats” that a group of kids brings to mind. I was motivated to figure it out, as I really wanted to go diving with my friend. As I thought further, I considered what it would take to make a trip like this successful for everyone.
I thought about what could work best, and Bimini came to mind. Bimini has a lot of very close, interesting dive sites that are shallow, including a wreck that can even be seen snorkeling! Warm water, great natural light for pictures, less worry by the mom about her newly certified kids, long dives…there are plenty of benefits to these shallow dive sites.
Another advantage of Bimini as our multi-family destination is the additional option of big animal dives. Once the kids showed their excellent diving skills to us on the healthy and beautiful reefs, we confidently spent the last two days diving with reef, nurse, black nose, hammerhead sharks and even a surprise bull shark visit. For the kids (and us), this kept the trip building at an exciting pace.
Logistically, we were fortunate to be able to have a dive boat for the 8 of us, exclusively. There were no other divers that, understandably, might not have wanted to deal with some of the consequences of having a group of kids on board. As we teach them to be respectful divers and the etiquette of dive boats, constantly reminding them to corral their gear, it was a relief for us parents to not have to also manage apologies to anyone else on the boat.
A young, enthusiastic dive guide who engaged the kids on dives, ensuring they all saw the sights, was a huge bonus on this trip. Those who wanted, were outfitted with go pros, so they could capture the memories they prioritized. Our guide earned his tips, and we were grateful for what he added to the experience.
Having an activity to do together helped keep everyone busy and made for evenings of fantastic reminiscing of the day’s dives. Additionally, the kids had each other for evening socializing, allowing the adults to enjoy conversation and a couple of drinks without having to entertain anyone. While I wasn’t sure of this idea at the onset, with the right considerations, we cannot wait to plan our next multi-family dive trip.