Christmas Tree Worms!- Weronika K.


At the bahamas we saw a lot of wonderful and beautiful fish, crystal clear water, an amazing star filled night sky… But did anyone ever tell you about the absolutely fascinating Spirobranchus giganteus? More commonly known as Christmas tree worms! These little guys come in a variety of colors with a distinct “pine tree” type look, (hence the name Christmas tree worms) but there’s a lot more than what meets the eyes, If you can see one that is. These little guys average at about 1.5 inches in length and when disturbed they retract into their little burrows. According to their frills, which are attached to the base of the worm are actually called radiols and are used for respiration and catching food (plankton, and other microorganisms). They also reproduce sexually and send out eggs into the water to reproduce. Christmas tree worms are most often found in brain coral but some others too. But did I tell you they were absolutely fascinating??

Look at them!



The Stress Test by Jackson R.

Ahhh, the infamous stress test. It makes you very stressed out (if you haven’t already figured). Everyone’s worst nightmare. Be it individual, or be it as a group, Lenny and Zoë always find a way for it to be a pain. If you’re a sophomore you have probably only had to do the challenge with your gear removed, but wait, there’s more. Recently the junior class had to do it with no mask, fins, or gear. For the people who have not had the chance to attempt it, the stress test is essentially our mentors placing everyone’s gear in a jumbled up ball underwater, all taken apart. You are timed on your ability to get it done quick, but also your entire group has to be ready in order to ascend. Our group ran into quite a few issues, involving BC’s floating immediately to the surface, or regulators falling out of certain tall male students mouths. But thats all in the past. Let’s talk about what you can do to be successful:

  • Make a strategy before going down.

    -You’ll want to conference with your group and make sure everyone is ready and sure of a plan. We usually send a few down before in order to get some air ready for the rest of the group.

  • Go for air first.

    -It’s obvious but a lot of people are only thinking about the time they will get. If you want to be successful you will want to be alive and breathing.

  • Have fun.

    -The test isn’t only about your ability. It’s about working as a team and experiencing what what task loading underwater feels like. So go at it with the right mindset and you’ll do a-ok.


Getting Advanced Open Water Certified By Diego S.

Becoming an advanced open water diver was great. It didn’t just teach me the different ways you can dive but how much fun diving actually is when your not worrying about buoyancy, trim, air, navigation,etc. You get to see so much and get to relax once you get the first months of hard work and studying (knowledge reviews), which I thought were terrible but were super important, out the way. There are so many things to look at if you don’t focus on any of these skills because you know you’ve mastered them. At the end of ninth grade, at one of the town hall meetings /grade meetings, Lenny came up to the microphone and said ”Look, I’m not gonna lie. Diving is a lot of work and you have to be willing to put those extra hours from your weekends and free time in for diving or else you won’t get anywhere in the program.” I told myself I was ready to put in those extra hours because I knew diving wasn’t just hard work – it was fun.  You get to breathe underwater! To me and many others in the diving program – that is awesome and important. Like at first, you don’t think about it but when you do think about it, it just blows your mind. After ninth grade, when I had gotten into the program I was pumped, ready to start my new Professional Diving class, and from there on I tried my best to stay on top of all the work we had to do. (Except for that one Dutch Springs dive, but it’s fine because I made it up) And now that I kept pushing myself through the Dutch Springs dives and the pool dives and all of the dives we did in the Bahamas because I told myself there would be a pot of gold (a new certification) every time I worked hard and just pushed through everything.  I am now Advanced Open Water certified.



The Successful Rescue Dive- Hannah Ferenczy

My junior class had finished almost all of the training needed to become Rescue Divers. All that was left was the final scenario and exam. We had gathered at Bush Terminal Park to test the skills we had recently learned. Our class was split into two large groups, which made things a lot less stressful. There were so many minds working together to make sure not a single thing was forgotten. For the first of the two scenarios, we had a diver come to the surface and say that she had lost her buddy. After some time we found the missing diver (okay maybe it took a little bit more than just some time but we found the missing diver) and provided rescue breaths while taking him to the shore. It was so interesting getting to put all the skills we have been practicing together. The second scenario we had tried to pre-plan everything but when scenario had started, we had forgotten all of our plans and reacted with instinct from training instead. While I had stressed about the final rescue dive, in the moment doing the skills ended up being incredibly easy.IMG_2764

Finishing the last two dives that I needed in order to get my Rescue Diver certification was such an accomplishment in my mind. I am always looking for what certification I can get next and won’t stop working for it until I am certified. The time it took us to get our Rescue Diver certifications was the longest, due to summer break taking up most of our diving time. Finally getting to say that I was a Rescue Diver made me feel important because I knew that if someone gets hurt, I’ll know what to do to help.


My experience with YDWP by Jared L.


Over the summer I went on a trip with 3 of my fellow school members and several other divers, from different places all over the USA, to Florida for Youth Diving with a Purpose or YDWP. Everyday we would take a boat out to Key Largo and dive as a group. On the first couple of days we had to do dry runs of what we would be doing in the water. The dry run consisted on finding artifacts from shipwreck and managing or navigation skills before we went into the water , placing a flag next to it, and measuring the distance from it and the baseline then trilating. It was easy and I felt as if  I could accomplish this in the water with no problem. But our first dive trying to locate artifacts, placing pin flags, trilaterations, and Insitu drawings was a lot harder than I expected. Then, on the last dive we did, the whole group had finally been accustomed to the process and completed our work. The last thing to do was to draw out our findings on a site map with our groups. The experience of YDWP was great and improved my skills as a diver.YDWP072017-374

Struggling With Proper Buoyancy and Knots! by Deanna S.

Being a sophomore in the Professional Diving program means learning the ins and the outs of being a great diver. It is the start of your career as a diver which means you learn the most important basics that you need to succeed. You are always going to struggle with something, it’s human nature. Nobody is perfect.

Personally, my struggles were Peak Performance Buoyancy and Knots. Finding neutral buoyancy is the key to being a successful diver. Without neutral buoyancy, you will be stirring up the bottom which ruins the visibility and/or disturbing the beautiful aquatic life, risking their lives, thus ruining the dive. Buoyancy as you can tell is crucial. My struggles with buoyancy were mainly caused by my inability to find the weight I needed to be able to be perfectly buoyant. It was a constant back and forth between Lenny, our teacher, Joe and I trying to figure out what the weight I needed both in the pool and in Dutch Springs. On my second Dutch Springs dive, I was able to finally figure out my perfect weight thus equaling an amazing dive with amazing buoyancy. A few pool dives later I was able to find perfect buoyancy and was caught in the action by a fellow sophomore diver.

My second struggle was knots. Knots are basically the bane of my existence. I have never struggled with something so much other than my buoyancy and my sinus issues. The funny thing about my struggles with knots were that it wasn’t really all knots in general. It was one singular knot. My arch nemesis the Bowline. See it may seem easy as pie by that diagram I am supplying you with because it is only three steps. But it was pure torture. It took me an entire week to figure out how to master it. I went around the school asking people how they did it and not once did I get it until I went underwater with senior Melanie Longo. Funny I guess I work better underwater. Melanie knew of my struggle with the bowline as she was one of the people I asked. She made sure I did not give up and I sure appreciate it. What is even more amazing was that I was able to do it with no mask on more than 10 times!



Professional Diving by Steven St. P

My life as a diver has been great so far. Being in Professional Diving has a lot of “highs” and “lows” that turn people away but also draw people in. Even though I’m only a sophomore, I feel like Professional Diving has shaped my life in a humongous way. For starters, I had to wake up every Saturday and do something. In Freshman year I was basically a couch cat, I stayed at home and did nothing on the weekends (except storing body fat). But now that we have mandatory pool sessions on Saturday’s I’ve been up and active which feels better than doing nothing, especially if it’s having fun in the water. Professional Diving has also made me see New York City in a different way. Before the harbor school, I barely knew any water bodies in NYC, I didn’t even know what oysters were! But now a couple months into the year we have dived in Jamaica Bay which was great to watch because I didn’t know this area existed before! Also the oysters, I didn’t know what they were or what they did but now I can’t wait to help plant oysters all over NYC. In conclusion, Professional Diving has changed a lot of what I think and see in NYC, and especially what I do on the weekends…

Class of 2020