Tell us about yourself, Katlynd.
Originally in Carriacou on a temporary basis to work with nesting sea turtles, I fell in love with this beautiful island and it's pristine marine environment and decided to stay for good.
As a Wildlife Biologist and Dive Instructor, I strive to share my deep-seated love for the marine environment with Caribbean Reef Buddy volunteers by delivering high-quality dive training and internationally-recognized marine conservation programs.
What is your favorite travel memory?
My favorite travel memory is taking the SVG flight to Carriacou for the first time. As this is a small island, there is no tract of flat land large enough for an airbus runway, so we have a positively teeny 9-seater airplane. You are weighed with your baggage and listen to the pilot's briefing directly as he turns around to greet you from his seat. It's an adventure every time!
How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?
When I came to work for Caribbean Reef Buddy I was a new dive professional with little real-world experience. I have since taught hundreds of courses and led thousands of dives.
I am continuously learning new things in preparation for our ecology-based training programs, and can't wait to share them with volunteers. Since working for Caribbean Reef Buddy, I have also become the equipment technician, and am now responsible for maintaining our safe and reliable dive equipment.
What is the best story you've heard from a return student?
Generally, volunteers appreciate the program and move on to dive as well-trained and knowledgeable divers, however not uncommonly, there are those that are so smitten with this place that they do what they can to return as soon as they can.
One of these individuals had joined our 4-week program to try something different over her summer but loved the island and our team so much that she quit her job and returned to do her dive professional training with us. She is now a dive instructor who is dedicating her life to dive training and marine conservation.
If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?
As a dive professional, my personal favorite is our 4-week program.
During this time, participants achieve a wide range of important and generally useful dive training, as well as a refreshing variety of marine conservation-related diving specialties. They also complete survey training in Reef Check, and collect incredibly important data regarding the health of our beautiful reefs.
Not only do participants gather a wealth of information and skills throughout this program, but they actually utilize each component of their training to better themselves as divers, and aid in monitoring the delicate reef systems surrounding Carriacou.
What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?
Our company is unique in that we are based at a 5-star PADI Dive Resort, and our team consists of quality PADI dive professionals. None of our training is outsourced, and we are capable of tailoring programs to individuals with the very large range of additional PADI training programs we have the capacity to deliver.
The programs are inherently flexible and there is always time to complete more training, or relax and enjoy the beauty of the island. Want to skip the CoralWatch specialty and sit on the beach instead? No problem! Want to be trained to dive with Nitrox as well? We can do that for you!
What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?
I think the biggest factor for success is having a great, high-functioning team that can work together, but do their parts as individuals. Everyone in this organization has a specific set of responsibilities and training abilities, and together we form a single, effective entity.