Isaiah DeLuz and Max Stearman enjoy the ocean and sunshine at Spencer Beach Park during Snorkel Day. (PHOTO COURTESY OF CARMEN VAUGHT)
About 50 people with disabilities, their caregivers, and volunteers spent a few hours snorkeling at Spencer Beach Park’s clear, calm ocean waters in Kawaihae on Aug. 9 at Snorkel Day.
The Snorkel Day at Kawaihae was an extension of the monthly Snorkel Days in Kona that Deep & Beyond, a Kona-based nonprofit organization has been offering during the last five years. An experienced team of community volunteers coordinated by Stephanie Kovatch led the day’s activities. Specialized adaptive and safety equipment such as the mobi mat, hippo-campe and mobi chair was available. Lunch was provided at no cost for participants by Kawaihae’s Kohala Burger & Taco who donated burgers, fresh fruits and salads. Chef Cary Peterson and Sous Chef Chris Wall were on hand to grill burgers made from local grass-fed beef and produce.
“Snorkel Days creates possibilities for people with disabilities to take part in assisted adaptive ocean activities that bring family and friends together in a community,” said Deep & Beyond founder and Executive Director Annamari Dietrichson.
The Snorkel Days initiative is the only program on the Big Island of Hawaii that provides free snorkeling opportunities for individuals with various disabilities. In addition to Snorkel Days, Deep & Beyond also offers adventure camps to engage at-risk youth with hands-on discovery of nature through various outdoor activities. For more information on Deep & Beyond programs for the disabled or disadvantaged visit deepandbeyond.org or call 326-4400, ext.4017.