Septembers amazing volunteer
"A year ago, I went to Koh Tao to complete some specialities and saw an ad about the eco internship. I simply thought "Oh, it seems cool." About marine biology, I was like Jon Snow, I knew nothing. But still, I wanted to do it, to somehow broaden my diving horizon.
So I came back on August 2014 as an Eco Intern. I first met Lizzie and it was the beginning of one of the most crazy rewarding stress free awesome heart breaking experiences in my life. No seriously, if you've ever been on Koh Tao and dove with Big Blue, you know what I mean. Basically, most of my day were: diving in the morning (for fun or for eco missions) and enjoying my afternoon on Koh Tao.
Don't believe it was some kind of lazy thing. I had to work! On holidays! I even had an exam! And we did a lot: surveys, nurseries. Coral watch. Oh my Buddha: coral watch. Going diving with a slate with 24 squares of colours, 4 colours, and 6 shade’s for each, from white (bleached) to dark. And you have to pick up random coral, match its lightest and darkest parts with the shades on the slate and it will give you a rough idea of its health. Sounds easy, right? IT IS NOT. Well, at 5m, it's okay. But at 10m, red disappears and all those coloured squares look exactly the same! Even with a torch! "Hmm is it a brownish-brown or a reddish brown... oh no, maybe a greenish brown..." Totally felt like a colour-blind... The Eco dives I loved the most were by far the ones on the nurseries.
I keep talking about the coral growing there, how awesome and rewarding it is to discover to tiny colony of polyps that has simply started growing there on its own, with us tiding, sewing it on the structures. Baby corals. "They are corals, Elena, they can't be cute...” yeah sure, they don't do funny things, like fetching the stick you've just thrown or anything "responding"... But being down there, cleaning the structures to help more corals and baby polyps to grow, fighting algae and sponge with nothing but a toothbrush (YOU SHALL NOT KILL THE CORALS !), putting new structures down in order to create a nurseries, a new place for coral to grow, for fish to live... It feels like you are doing something. Something that will last over an extended period of time. It's nothing compare to the eco stuffs you can be proud of like putting plastic bottles in the recycle bin or turn the light off. No it's more like a relief. Because you stop damaging this world, you help it to heal. And in ten years, twenty, maybe a new reef will have grown, with a lot of fishes around. If I go back down there again, I would think "It's my reeeeeeef !!!!"
I would rather think "it's my world" and I did what I had to do to protect it, because I am a part of it. Even more as I diver, it is my oceans, my playground and if you want to enjoy it and to be amazed by it for the next 50years (at least) I must understand it and protect it. We should not have to do it though. We should not have to clean up beaches or to do underwater clean-up. Because it should come naturally to anyone's mind that they are responsible for this world, of their world. So no, I should not have to do that but I will, as long as it is needed, because I am an Ecowarrior now.
Thank you Lizzie. Thank you Rachel. Thanks Big Blue. Thanks Koh Tao."