The slow creek of the door swinging open as my cabin gently rocked awoke me. I rub the sleep from my eyes, climbing out of bed I peek from the window to see the first rays of sunlight breaking the horizon. Another perfect day. I walk down the corridor and onto the main diving deck. I greet my fellow divers as I don my gear and stride into the water for a dive before breakfast. It doesn't get much better than this.
I'm aboard the MV Scuba Cat, a live aboard dive vessel, moored just off the coast of Koh Racha Yai Island, Thailand. With me on board are eleven young students from Concordia International School Shanghai. They are partaking in an intensive training course to become certified Reef Check Eco Divers. Prior to this, most of the children had never dived, so not only are they taking the primary Reef Check course, they are also gaining their PADI Open water and Advanced Open Water diver certifications. It's an intensive ten days, but with the four accompanying teachers and the hosts from Scuba Cat, a dive operation based in Patong Beach, Thailand, the kids are in great hands.
I'm aboard to help with the Eco Diver Reef Check program. I am presenting a lecture on coral disease and helping with diving logistics. I am also filming and photographing some of my daily activities. Most days comprise of two or three training dives, interspersed with lectures from the Reef Check instructors on indicator species and Reef Check protocols. The evenings are spent editing the day's video and photographs while admiring the squid boats as they light up the horizon.
This experience catered to my passion for diving, marine conservation, and education of the younger generation. Coming to an end all too quickly I was sad to say goodbye to everyone onboard. Generous individuals and rewarding educational experiences are what have defined my days as an Our-World Underwater Scholar. Before I knew it I was jetting off from Thailand to Indonesia, from there Guam and Saipan!
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