The area around Cozumel grabbed Kelly’s heart during her first visit. Flying over the turquoise waters of the Caribbean left a significant imprint on her heart. She returned to the Riviera Maya to work for a summer and once she went diving in the area’s underwater playgrounds, she was hooked.
Later when Hurricane Gilbert smashed into Cozumel, Kelley returned to San Antonio, Texas to finish her Psychology and Business Administration degree, even though she knew it wouldn’t be relevant to her life’s calling. Her passion now revolved around scuba diving. After returning to Cozumel, she became a divemaster and a scuba guide for tourist trips. She and her partner bought a boat, built a dream and had a baby.
Currently, Kelley still scuba dives but a portion of her time also includes finding homes for visitors. She says most people make several visits a year and they want to feel like they have returned home when they arrive. She works with vacation rentals, property management and real estate.
Since her arrival in Cozumel, the island has protected its waters by establishing a marine park. Kelley says this, along with the community of small dive shop members, has helped save the reef. Her dive company, Manta Raya Divers, along with other dive companies work together to take care of Cozumel and the planet.
To this day, Kelley’s favorite photograph is one of her and her daughter snorkeling with the gentle whale sharks on Isla Holbox.