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Campers find a home in the ocean
Wednesday, 29 July 2015 21:32

5:06 p.m. Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Olivia Hitchcock
Palm Beach Post
BOYNTON BEACH — Thirty-five minnows, flying fish and sharks got their first taste of ocean water Tuesday.
The Boynton Beach children — who were called minnows, flying fish or sharks based on their swimming abilities — spent four hours snorkeling around the Boynton Inlet exploring the Lofthus, a Norwegian ship that sank in 1898, and rocks south of the inlet.
The 10- to 12-year-olds, all campers in Boynton Beach summer programs, had little to no experience in the ocean before the big trip. Ten-year-old Khyia Henderson, a “shark” who’s spending the summer with her cousin in Boynton Beach, had never been in the ocean. Nor had she snorkeled outside of a pool.
“We think the more they realize the fun they can have, the more they’ll want to swim,” Dan Volker, co-founder of Project Seahorse said. He added that he thought too many Palm Beach County youngsters don’t know how to swim.
So this summer Volker’s organization helped 140 Palm Beach County kids become acquainted with the ocean. Tuesday’s snorkelers did so alongside lots of fish, reefs and rocks.
“We have an unbelievable world-class dive and snorkeling destination in your backyard and most people don’t realize it’s here,” Volker said.
Khyia and the other young snorkelers had practiced with the snorkel, mask and fins in a pool before hopping in the salt water Tuesday. They also were given pointers by Jonathan Dickinson, owner of Florida Freedivers in Lake Park, about how to kick, get water out of their snorkels and adjust their masks.
The goal? “To try to get these kids more comfortable in the water,” Dickinson said.
And based on the excitement after their first trip to sea, it seems at least some have sparked an interest in the ocean.

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