MACOMB, IL – – Western Illinois University scuba diving students are getting out of Illinois to test out their diving skills in the Pacific Ocean and Honduras.
Last October, 15 WIU students traveled to San Pedro, CA to spend three days living, eating and sleeping on the Pacific Star dive boat. Each student dived up to 14 times, which included deep dives, wall and reef dives, night dives and two oil rig dives.
"These are all things that cannot be done anywhere in Illinois," said Dan Walter, kinesiology senior instructor. "The other main attraction for travelling to the Pacific in October is lobster diving. Every fall, the new lobster season starts, and attempting to catch lobsters is an excellent way to put a very fine point on the training we offer our students."
Western students brought home 142 lobsters. As part of an effort to replenish the lobster population for next season, they let 14 large female lobsters go, as well as issued a challenge, the WIU and Pacific Star Lobster Challenge, which included a video posted on Youtube (https://youtu.be/lDlNfXTvaAI) of the class challenging other lobster divers in southern California to do the same.
This semester, students will have a new opportunity to travel to Roatan Island, Honduras over spring break for a diving trip. This trip will also allow students the opportunity to give back and spend time volunteering with the indigenous population. Students will be assisting in the efforts to bring clean drinking water to a remote village, stabilize home foundations and bring much needed supplies to villages.
"Roatan is one of the most awesome diving venues in the Northern Hemisphere," Walter said. "Unfortunately, it also has some of the poorest people anywhere. Our students are going to have a great opportunity to help out and give back while we are there. We have been twice before, and spending money as tourists helps the local economy, but this time we will be able to go much further and directly help individuals. Diving off Roatan will help make our students better divers, while volunteering on Roatan will help make our students better people."