My Dear Friends,
Today was eventful for our volunteers. We started off early with our first dive. For Kristin this was a drill dive where she practiced emergency maneuvers. The advanced divers this was our underwater navigation dive. Starting in our buddy groups, one diver held the compass while the other counted kicks. After each team successfully completed a 30 meter by 30 meter square and a triangle of equal proportions 6 meter underwater we officially past the navigation section of our course.
Post dive we went straight into preparing our coral reef pods. These pods are made of recycled metal and the whole idea is that we de-rust them and coat them in an epoxy which extends their life time from 30 years in salt water to about 300 by protecting them from further rusting. We then will dive (next week) to anchor them to the sea floor. These pods act as a new habitat for coral, sponges, barnacles, and all the fish that come with them. Diving through the over 100 reef pods we have put down over the past few years you can see steady development of this new ecosystem from new pods to the older ones.
After a few hours working on our pods, we decided to take advantage of the good weather and go for a second dive. For the advanced divers this was our drift dive where we let the current takes us for a ride. For Kristin this was another opportunity to practice the emergency skills she has learned over the past few days of her open-water course.
In the hour we had before lunch we took some time to clean up some of the village. While the culture is slowly changing, locals still have a habit of littering their beautiful island. Part of our work here is to teach encourage the villagers to take care of their environment.