SEE THE SEA SCHOOL:
SNORKELING WITH NAOMI RUZA
Naomi Ruza loves the water. She should, because Naomi grew up on Bonaire, a small island in the Caribbean Sea near the coast of Venezuela, South America.
"The sea is so interesting and I love sharing it with other kids," says Naomi. She shares the sea by teaching kids how to snorkel, a great way to see and breathe on and near the surface of the water.
"Snorkeling is easy to learn and it's so much fun," says Naomi. Snorkelers breathe air through a plastic tube, called a snorkel, that sticks above the water's surface. You look at underwater life through a face mask, so you can open your eyes and see clearly. Fins on your feet let you move easily around the water so you can see more.
The J-shaped snorkel is easy to use and, with Naomi's help, it just takes a little practice to learn how to breathe through it. She also helps other kids adjust their masks for a watertight seal, so that no water leaks inside the mask. The fins can turn anyone into a fast fish. Many kids also like to wear some sort of suit to protect them from the sun and sharp things in the water.
Once outfitted, Naomi teaches everyone how to enjoy underwater life. There's so much to see and share and Naomi loves to show all of it.
It is illegal to harm any marine life on Bonaire and that means there is lots to see underwater. Naomi and her snorkeling students are surrounded by colorful fish and coral, which are actually living underwater rock formations.
The sea is alive and well on Bonaire and Naomi likes to share all of it with kids. She may point out the plentiful schools of colorful and bright blue tangs or an angelfish. The Queen Angelfish is considered one of the prettiest and most friendly fish in the sea, with it's bright blue and yellow markings and unusual shape.
Snorkelers will encounter many more interesting things underwater. They may see a shiny silver barracuda, a scary-looking fish with sharp teeth that is actually very shy. Naomi often finds a parrotfish, a colorful creature that has a beak like a parrot.
The coral reef is actually a group of living animals. There are many different kinds of corals and they are all fun to find and explore. The brain coral is interesting because its outside looks just like the ridges on the outside of a person's brain.
Naomi's snorkelers leave the water with a new appreciation of underwater life. "Each kid now knows how beautiful and important the sea really is," says Naomi.
Naomi learned to snorkel when she was five and taught snorkeling to other kids for five years. As soon as she turned twelve, she was old enough to try for junior scuba diving certification and she succeeded in becoming an underwater diver.
Like Jacques Cousteau, Naomi and other scuba divers breathe from tanks of air and are able to stay underwater for long periods of time. Along with their air tank, divers wear masks and fins like snorkelers. But they get to see many sea creatures that are deeper underwater.
As you can guess, scuba diving makes Naomi very happy. It probably won't be long before she's teaching kids how to scuba dive, just like she did for snorkeling kids on Bonaire.