Traveling with Diventures means that you are giving life-changing support to island families impacted by the travel bans.
With tourism shuddering to a halt last March because of COVID, our family of island-based dive professionals took a brutal hit economically and emotionally. Diventures started the “Divers Supporting Divers” campaign with a huge heart for community service. Diventures customers, supporters, and staff raised $72,000 to distribute directly to 96 dive crew members across seven dive shops.
Months later, these incredible people who share our passion for the water are still bearing the heavy burden of Covid-19’s impact on the travel industry. For example, in Grand Turk, dive boats remained docked, gas hovered at $6 a gallon, and the average government aid was a mere $1200USD for the year.
The burden is great. Paying essential bills to keep a roof overhead and getting food on the table became a day-to-day worry.
Make a positive impact with summer travel
“Lots of peas and rice.” Dale Barker laughs, the owner of Dive Oasis in Grand Turk. She tells me about her experience over the past year and what it’s been like for her crew. “You squeak out everything you can to make a dollar last a bit longer.”
Dale has lived in Grand Turk for over 28 years and began the industry award-winning Oasis Divers in 1996. Oasis Divers is a recognized leader in Grand Turk with a top-notch reputation for safety, phenomenal dives, and personalized attention for their clients.
“When Hurricane Ike raged across the island, it took about everything out. It was a powerful CAT 5. Very destructive. Our community came together afterward, and we rebuilt the island. We were operational within four months.”
Covid was so unexpected.
“Covid never popped up on the radar for warning. And now, over a year later, we are just hanging on. The last paycheck I was able to give our crews was in March of last year.” Dale says.
Island economies are supported by tourism, and the dive industry in Grand Turk relies heavily on cruise ships. Those ships docked in March of 2020 and may not come out of the mothballs until late August of this year.
“It’s been tough. For me… Oasis Divers isn’t just a dive shop operation. The people that work here are family. We’re doing everything we can to do right by them. They have kids who depend on them and us. We do what we can, even if it’s unplugging appliances to save on the electrical bill. We’re trying everything!”
“You would think that our government would be more understanding.” Dale chuckles good-naturedly, tapping into the positive energy and optimism from nearly thirty years of island life. “But there was no PPP or any type of loans to carry us through.”
A positive impact
“Once again, thank you guys for coming down and spreading some sunshine during these hard days. Diventures has single-handedly shown how it can be done and simultaneously helped us out, not just financially but mentally and emotionally too.”
– Ronald P.
Dale explains how the past year also took a hefty toll on the emotional wellbeing of the islanders. Sharing their passion for the ocean with island visitors is their life’s calling. It is also the way they care for their families and loved ones.
“Having Diventures come down was such a huge boost, I can’t even tell you. A week’s worth of wages and the generous tips went a long way.” She pauses to think about how to emphasize the next point. “But the thing is, it was such a huge mental and emotional boost to have you all come down to dive. It was light and hope for us. We are so grateful divers are returning to the island. We need them back!
The light at the end of the tunnel
Justin Okoye, a seasoned divemaster with Oasis Divers, agrees. “You know, I was coming back to shore one day about a week before the pandemic hit. One of our guests turned to me and asked, “Do you think travelers will ever stop coming to Grand Turk? I laughed and looked around, waving my hand at the ocean and shore. I told him that was impossible, look at this!” Okoye paused for a moment. “Such an ironic question now that I look back.”
Justin is one of the many people who had to leave the island searching for work because of the gut punch to the dive industry. “The water is life, ya know?” Justin, a diver since he was a boy, is entirely at home in the water as he is on the shore.
“It’s been tough. Humbling. I thought I was mentally stronger, but as the days wore on, I learned I wasn’t immune to how hard it all was.”
A needed boost
“You guys breathed a little bit of life back into the island this week, and I think I can speak for everyone here when I say it was a pleasure to have you all here again. You guys have taken care of us more than you can even imagine.” – Jamille O.
Justin’s brother Jason, another divemaster at Oasis, helped get him through it. Both brothers turned to prayer and faith during the darkest days.
“When Diventures came down… it was such a boost I can’t even explain it. It was like the light at the end of a long tunnel. The dark heaviness that had been around us for months lifted. Diventures showed us hope again. It was so good to be working. Everyone is just so grateful to be working! Come back to the island and dive with us!”
Your Diventures travel brings critical work to island families in need.
Travel has always been about providing once-in-a-lifetime experiences and adventures to our customers. But it’s also about our values and using our passions for – and the power of – the water to positively impact lives and change the world. As Diventures continues to travel safely to Grand Turk and other bucket list dive destinations worldwide, we encourage and invite you to travel with us.
Together we can use our love for the ocean, seas, and scuba to lift our fellow dive family worldwide. They are the ones that leave the lights on for us as we travel near and far to their shores and welcome us with legendary hospitality and world-class diving that is second to none.
Consider traveling with Diventures this year, have an experience that celebrates this beautiful blue planet while doing so much good getting the dive community back up on their fins. Your travel dollars with Diventures go toward supporting a network of family, friends, and fellow ocean lovers who need you now more than ever.
If you are interested in traveling with Diventures on a global scuba adventure, please check out our upcoming trips or give us a call today!