Jean-Michel Cousteau Environmental Center in Maui

Jean-Michel Cousteau Environmental Center in Maui educates participants and then provides guides for an underwater snorkeling adventure.

On the area of Maui, a snorkeling trip turns into a learning experience for kids and adults alike when utilizing Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors from the Environment program.

Before the Snorkeling Adventure

At the Jean-Michel Cousteau Ambassadors of the Environment Center at the Ritz-Carlton in Kapalua, Maui, a unique snorkeling program is provided a few days a week. It starts with fitting participants with snorkel gear and proceeds with an enlightening visual program highlighting what to expect while snorkeling and what can be observed on an underwater adventure.

Included within the presentation are the principles of the Ocean Futures Society, which concentrate on water that is clean, preserving and protecting marine habitats, being cognizant of marine mammals, and sustaining natural resources of the ocean. The slides and video clip remind the soon-to-be snorkelers the ocean is really a living world, and therefore needs to be encountered as the second civilization.

Each snorkeler will get an underwater camera to document their journey and is also reminded to enjoy the beauty of the undersea world, capture it on film, and respect the fragile environment.

Learning while Experiencing with Qualified Instructors

Oceanographers, naturalists, and a well-trained staff of marine biologists lead the snorkeling program along with other opportunities for participation in the Environmental Center. I was lucky enough to have Kevin Highfield, a skilled and well-educated team member, as our guide. Throughout the opening presentation, Kevin described the undersea world from the growth and development of a coral reef towards the fish, turtle and plant population that survives there.

Kevin carefully walked the group through all preparations needed to fully sense the impact of entering the world beneath the surface. His complete explanations gave even novice snorkelers confidence and offered those who had previously enjoyed a snorkeling trip some added information. Due to his instructions, taking a look at life underneath the water was soon to become a heightened experience.

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    Entering the World Underneath the Ocean’s Surface

    The program provided by the Ambassadors of the Environment is entitled “Cities Beneath the Sea,” and when the snorkeler enters water and peers below it, it is evident that there is a different world to view. The images from the video watched in the center now enter into focus and the teachings of marine biologist, Kevin, open a new world of discovery. Colorful reefs, bright hued fish, ocean vegetation, large turtles how big young children and the beauty of everything fill the snorkeler with awe and wonder.

    Possibly most surprising of, after you have seen the video and hearing Kevin’s explanations, was the abundance and variety of coral. For a snorkeler who had previously viewed underwater sites, this experience was truly different. There was now an awareness from the underwater world and particularly a brand new appreciation of coral reefs. Kevin brought to the top some specimens that appeared to be colorful coral, but in actuality were various types of starfish. He allowed each of us to softly touch and inspect these creatures and then he patiently took each back to its undersea home.

    Some of those on the trip could dive towards the bottom and experience sea life at close hand. Their exuberance upon returning to the top was catching. Having been given knowledge before entering water and having some knowledge of what must be done to produce the Cities Beneath the Sea designed for an enriching and intriguing adventure.

    Source: Press Kit Brochures from Ocean Futures Society

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