I must be the uncoolest Dad in the world. At least that's what my three pre-teen daughters would have me believe when asking to go to the movies with them on a Friday night in our home town. But its amazing how the tide can turn on your cool factor when you tell your kids you are taking them to Kids Sea Camp in
Honduras. Yeah that's right, I am like a rock star now. And not only are they jazzed that you are taking them to one of the coolest places for diving in the Western hemisphere, they actually don't mind you being on the same reef as them, let alone in the same boat!
This is exactly what Kids Sea Camp founder Margo Payton had in mind when she dreamed up Kids Sea Camp. Her ingredients were simple. Choose a great destination for diving, find a top notch dedicated dive resort with great activities and mix in a couple of parents along with their children and you end up with one sweet dive vacation that unites a family on an unparalleled level.
My wife Terry and our three daughters Taylor, Sydney and Addie began our adventure early Saturday morning from our home town of Pensacola, FL, and by midday we arrived at the world famous Anthony's Key Resort on the island of Roatan in the Bay Islands of Honduras. Talk about a kid's cornucopia of amenities. When they were not involved in their scheduled activities, they had the run of the place and were on a first name basis with Roger the water taxi driver. They would go back and forth between the mainland side of the resort which includes the restaurant, gift, snack and dive shops, over to Anthony's Key included our waterfront cabana and brand new Maya-style swimming pool, and then over to the secluded Bailey's Key, home to AKR's famous dolphins.
Our mornings were spent having breakfast as a family. Terry and I would then drop the kids off at the dive shop with their PADI instructor who would later teach them how to master the education and skills of a Jr. open water diver (younger kids would participate in the PADI Bubble makers program). Terry and I would head out on the boat to experience some of Roatan's finest diving at sites like Calvan's Crack, Mary's Place and the wreck of the Odyssey. By late afternoon we would sit pool side sipping on Monkey Lalas (Roatan's famous frozen concoction) and enjoying the other adults who for a moment had escaped their world of responsibility. No sooner did I slurp the last sip of my tropical cocktail, than could I hear the laughter of children piling out of the water taxi following by a series of successive swimming pool cannon balls.
The kids stories would ensue at rapid speed about how this one did this and that one did that, and so an so is so funny and how much fun they had learning that day and couldn't wait to complete their certification so we could dive together as a family...wait, did I hear that right? My kids actually wanted to include me in "their" activities along with their friends. Wow, there really is something to this Kids Sea Camp.
Our week included dolphin encounters, jungle canopy tours and shopping in the town of West End followed by the grand finale open water diving with my wife and kids as one big underwater family. The rest of the week was filled with even portions of fantastic quality adult time followed by exciting evenings with my kids spewing stories of their island shenanigans.
After almost 20 years of diving and sharing my love of the oceans with my friends, there is nothing quite like the experience of seeing your kids diving for the first time and sharing with them first hand all of the wonderful critters.
So the next time you are feeling ostracized by your youngsters, just remember that there is a little thing called Kids Sea Camp that can help you put the cool back in parenthood, not to mention provide a lifetime of lasting memories for you and your family. Trust me, my kids are begging me every year. Dad, which Kids Sea Camp can we go to this year? And with locations like Bonaire, Curacao, Cayman, Honduras and Fiji it's not hard to find new adventure that provides something for everyone in the family. For more information, visit www.kidsseacamp.com or call 800-934-3483.