By Stephen Foster ’22
This past week, Friar Divers Scuba Club had their first open water scuba certification of the year, finally returning from their two-year hiatus caused by COVID-19. Eight members of the club endured the open water of Bigelow Hollow Pond in Union, CT for two half-day sessions. Each participant had to be in the water for approximately two hours, with about 30 minutes dedicated to being under water.
Alex Lanna ’22 described the thrilling challenge in detail, saying, “The visibility was so low, it was insane. It was quite the ‘mind over matter’ experience. The mud from the bottom kicked up and you couldn’t see anything. It just made it even cooler to do. When we got there, it was 27 degrees with ice on the pavement. We had to put on our wetsuits, hoods, and gloves to make it better. Then two days there and we are all certified!”
Friar Divers is a Providence College club sport offering open water scuba certifications each semester, with the next course starting in March. The club was founded in 2013 by Danny Hentz ’17 and has certified over 100 students, with many going on to become Advanced and Rescue Divers. Instruction and dive gear is provided by Enfield Scuba and Watersports, a dive shop in Connecticut. Membership is open to any student interested in oceans, marine life, and scuba. Although the club offers on-campus PADI Certification each semester, you do not have to be a certified diver to be a member.
In addition to the certification trip, Friar Divers hosts other club adventures throughout the year, including local dives at Jamestown and Beach Pond, Underwater Pumpkin Carving, aquarium trips, and beach clean-ups. However, the token adventure offered by the club is their annual scuba trip. Friar Divers Scuba Club has traveled to Grand Cayman, Roatan, and Key Largo in the past. This year, they are planning a scuba trip to Cozumel in June.
Friar Divers advocates for more than just diving, as the club also promotes ocean and environmental conservation. Two upcoming activities include “Wands for Wildlife,” a mascara recycling event, and fundraising to support Save the Sharks and the Sea Turtle Conservancy. Equipment is provided for all events, and club members receive discounts on dive gear.
Many PC students get involved in Friar Divers Scuba Club for the exciting trips, the strong sense of community, and the reduced price of certification. Normally scuba certification costs more than $1000, but club members get certified at a discounted rate, only having to pay around $700.
Alex Lanna ’22 highlighted the perks of being certified, explaining, “You can use the certification anywhere in the world to scuba dive for the rest of your life, which is really cool. Anywhere you can dive to sixty feet, anywhere in the world, you just have to show your certification card and that is it.”
It is necessary to be certified in order to scuba dive, and the College offers this unique opportunity to do so. Lanna mentioned that her interest in scuba diving was sparked by a trip to Turks and Caicos Islands. She enjoyed snorkeling with exotic fish so much that it made her want to swim deeper and stay underwater for longer. If you have ever wanted to explore deeper into open water at exotic locations around the world, check out Friar Divers Scuba Club. Interested students can reach out to Alex Lanna at email@example.com for more information on how to get involved.