At Alaska Pacific University, the Pacific Ocean is just one of the classrooms.
Students who enrolled in APU’s Scientific Diving class headed to Prince William Sound for May Block. Following guidelines from the American Academy of Underwater Science, they practiced collecting specimens from the seafloor and working with specialty research equipment. The course also included key skills like navigation and emergency response.
The four-week class started with practice days at the pool in Anchorage. Next, students moved into apartments at Whittier’s famous Begich Towers to practice skills on land and underwater. This year’s class included several marine biologists from the Fish & Wildlife Service. After four weeks, all students earned certifications in scientific, advanced adventure, and rescue diving.
Instructor Ben Wilkins – a current APU grad student – has taught diving and completed researched in tropical waters from Indonesia to Maui, but says Alaska is a great place to learn. The cold waters and challenging conditions help prepare confident, comfortable divers.
“If you can dive up here, you can dive anywhere in the world,” he said.
Want to learn more? The APU Dive Club offers trainings, rentals, and dive trips throughout the year.
Underwater photos courtesy of Paul Schuette.