Summer Adventures: Elizabeth Bodolay Gets Deep With Scuba Diving


Elizabeth Bodolay practices scuba diving at the YMCA.

Sara Michel, Reporter

This past summer, Elizabeth Bodolay (‘20) learned to scuba diving in the Rappahannock Quarry, and through that experience she also learned about herself.

Bodolay went through the depths of the Rappahannock Quarry. She saw different types of animals in the water and saw where each of those animals lived.

“I saw the different aquatic creatures at the Rappahannock Quarry. The eels would mostly hide away under large objects and rocks in a more shaded area, under some trees that shadowed the water from above,” Bodolay said. “The bass typically swam a little deeper in the water, around a depth of about 20 feet.”

Through scuba diving, Bodolay learned about the physical aspect of the activity, which affected her surroundings and her energy .

“Body movement is also something that you must be actively aware of. Even just attempting to swim with your hands instead of your legs may overexert you and wear you out,” Bodolay said. “Paying attention to where you kick your legs is also important, because you could possibly be causing algae and other settled materials to stir up in the water, reducing visibility for you and others. Kicking too hard may also create a current, disturbing animals in their habitat and possibly move around their nests.”

Bodolay enjoyed her time scuba diving because she had seen the ocean in a different way.

“I enjoy scuba diving because it gives you experiences that you don’t typically learn anywhere else, such as being able to stay underwater for long periods of time, or being able to see life through a new perspective,” Bodolay said. “Some examples include how you’re impacting the environment, not just on land but aquatically and in the air; how you treat animals and their habitats; and what you can do to help it.”

All of Bodolay’s scuba diving training came from Scuba Shack, a training facility in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Through Scuba Shack, she purchased all of her equipment and lessons, which took place in a classroom, a pool, and at the quarry

“An average day included learning about important skills, techniques, and knowledge,” Bodolay said. “Some examples of this are: reading tables and charts, being able to calculate time you’re able to spend in the water, and basic first aid.”                                                                                                 

After she did her training at the Scuba Shack. Bodolay went to Ron Rosner YMCA and the Rappahannock Quarry. Bodolay’s favorite memories were diving at the YMCA and the quarry.

“My favorite part of diving at the YMCA was being able to train closely to the other students, observing what they were doing, and then proceeding to do the same skills on my own. It was nice being able to learn and practice skills gathered in a circle underwater, because everyone could see what the other people were doing, and could help each other out as needed,” Bodolay said. “My favorite part of diving at the quarry was being able to observe all of the creatures in the water, as well as the ‘shipwrecks,’ which are boats and other large vehicles purposefully sunken in the water for shipwreck training.

Throughout her summer activities she learned more about herself.

“My summer activities helped me learn about myself in that it’s okay to go outside of your comfort zone to try new things, but also okay to have your own boundaries and limits that you can work inside of,” Bodolay said. “I had also learned about being self-reliant and keeping my own safety and comfortability as my highest priorities.”

All of the fun experiences and memories she made this summer has made her wanted to dive  plan to dive at Lake Phoenix, Florida, and other locations in the future.

“These fun activities helped me decide that I wanted to dive at Phoenix Lake, VA and in Florida. My main dive instructor had encouraged us all to go to Lake Phoenix for a kids’ event that had taken place there, but it was too late to register for the event after I had gotten my scuba license,” Bodolay said. “Florida also looks to be a possibility for me because of the beautiful waters there, and because the staff of the Scuba Shack has said that it is a popular place to dive during the winter time, since the water is still very warm there during winter, unlike the freezing cold water here in Virginia.”