Ashley Jenkins explores through the ocean while Scuba Diving


Picture this:

Being 30 feet beneath the surface of the ocean with the sound of silence ringing throughout your ears. Colorful and radiant coral scattered across the floor, and a ghosted shipwreck haunting the blue waters.

For senior student Ashley Jenkins, this picturesque moment is forever imprinted in her memory. While many people may have stayed at home throughout the summer, Ashley spent hers exploring the mystical ocean through scuba diving.

Ashley began her love for scuba diving with her family when they traveled in Key Largo, Florida. They were there for two days, and each day they completed two dives. A typical day began with an hour-long boat drive to a new wreck they would be exploring.

“Usually when I go diving, I am the one who likes to go off and explore the little corners and caves,” Ashley said. “There was this one time where the water was really murky, and I went to go look around. When I turned back around, I couldn’t see the rest of the people I was with.”

On this trip, Ashley was exceptionally lucky with her exploring and ended up seeing a Caribbean Reef Shark.

“Seeing that kind of shark up close is actually pretty rare,” Ashley said. ” It was definitely the highlight of my trip by far.”

Seeing the Caribbean Reef Shark was also a memorable moment for Ashley’s mom, Cheryl Jenkins. She said that she enjoyed having it trail behind them and how it got close enough to touch.

According to Ashley, some other sea life creatures she saw were eels, coral, turtles, and many different types of colored fish.

“The reefs were beautiful and surprisingly very interesting,” said Cheryl. “There is another life underwater that is so different than anything we see in our lives above water.”

While Ashley and her family really enjoyed the exploration part of their trip, another major thing that they enjoyed about diving was the peaceful serenity of being alone under the surface.

“You wouldn’t think that it would be, but it is so peaceful and humbling to just be suspended under the water,” Ashley said. “I love just sitting there and hearing the silence, while also being able to experience and see all the animals just doing their thing.”

In order to get certified to scuba dive, Ashley had to go through a series of steps. First, she had to go to classes and learn about the rules, regulations, and techniques of how to dive. An actual written test had to be completed as well before being able to get into the water. She had to know how to take her goggles on and off and how to equalize, among other things. She also had to practice in a diving well before being allowed to dive in the ocean.

“It’s actually a little embarrassing, but one time, I was jumping off the boat and into the water. I accidentally hit my head on my equipment,” Ashley said. “Some people think that it would be really hard to scuba dive, but as long as you learn about it and practice in the right way then it isn’t at all.”

According to Ashley, her training prepared her and taught her how to dive safely and to dive deep. The farthest she has ever dove was one hundred feet. On this past trip, over the summer, she only dove about thirty.

“We didn’t have to go very far to see this wreck,” Ashley said. “Most of the wildlife that we were hoping to see can only be sustained around forty feet. So in addition to seeing such a cool wreck, we saw most of the creatures we were hoping to see.”

Ashley has been to numerous other places to go diving, including, St. Thomas, the Bahamas, Grand Cayman, San Diego and more. Although those places were really awesome to dive at, she enjoyed diving at Key Largo a lot as well.

“It was an awesome experience and it was all just very cool,” Ashley said. “Of course one of my favorite parts was seeing the animals, but I also liked the calming sensation of being underwater. If anyone has the slightest interest in Scuba Diving, I would recommend doing it because it is so much fun, and I really [enjoy] doing it.”