Day 22 in the Big Zoox household

Take 2. My fault entirely.

I should remember where I am and that brown outs are of second nature here. For this reason this blog is definitely not going to be as good as the one I had just written, just take my word for it. **SAVE**

Lizzie and I have spent the better half of today crammed into the back of a dark, slightly smelly internet café in white beach, thank goodness it’s a very rainy day today. We’ve had quite a few delirious laughs so far. One of the highlights for me this morning included a child of about 8-9 years old jumping onto my lap to reach the power button of the computer next to me without as much as an hello! That was quite a shock and didn’t half make me laugh.  Unfortunately I have managed to fry the power supply to my laptop and Lizzie has somehow, unbeknown to any of us as to how, broken the desktop given to us from the family we’re renting from and thus our situation.

Anyway to the task at hand! So my last blog should have left you on the edge of your seats, waiting desperately for the next snippet of information, right?? If not, I shall try my best on this go.

Ok. Down to the nitty gritty: Green Fins assessments and personal assignments. So this is just a brief description of what we now get up to on a daily basis. All of us have now done one assessment of a dive shop with a fellow volunteer assisting us. The assessment involves following a guided dive and observing general role model behavior under the water. At the same time, on land we’ve planted a sneaky second volunteer to assess how the dive shop runs, finding out everything from how the rubbish is disposed of to how they clean their equipment. The skill here is to have a good ‘chiss miss’ (gossip) with the staff about life, and somehow sneak in little questions about the operation without them knowing. This task, I love. I’ve had some wonderful laughs and chats about life with the boat men and compressor boys here and after having gained all the info I needed for GF, I got tips on the language and which are the best Karaoke shops around! This is process is definitely going to take a few goes to become second nature, as I’m sure I’m not very subtle at all!

 So after the dive, the volunteers get together and collate the information they have found to rate each of the different aspects of the operation against the GF guidelines. We then sit down with the manager and have another good chat about how they have done on the assessment, what three aspects we would like them to work on before their next annual assessment, as well as if they have any suggestions as to any local threats that need attention or for example any new educational materials need to be made. As a follow up from this, one of the green fins dive shops here asked us to undertake a workshop with 4 of their local dive guides to help them with their environmental awareness in their pre-dive briefings. It was a brilliant morning, spent chatting and throwing ideas around with some great dive guides in the area. It was wonderful to see how much information they had picked up from the training presentation Sam had given a couple of days before and that they were proudly wearing their GF tops they had been given for helping us out during the presentation. RESULT! One of the boat boys at this dive center made a comment of thanking us for caring about his home and the Philippines, which melted our hearts slightly to say the least! Two of the guides then took us on a dive on the house reef to allow me to document the anchor damage and to photograph their environmentally designed mooring buoys. In between all of the damage there was still so much life! We saw an octopus, a sea horse, several nudibranchs, mantis shrimp, porcupine fish, snowflake moray, banded sea snake and the list goes on!  With all assessments we then follow this up with our report to GF and a follow up email to the dive shop.

In our ‘spare time’ we work on our own personal assignments. I will only briefly go into detail about mine. I have been given the task of putting two mooring buoys (hence the dive documenting it, mentioned above) at the end of an illegal structure that was built a few years ago, and hopefully in the future there may be the potential to finish it off to become a working pier. This means that I get to work with the local dive shops and resorts to make sure that the moorings will be used by everyone and that they will reduce their anchoring on the house reef. Currently, all of the dive shops and resorts have to anchor their bancas on the house reef when they come back to their shop. Some have been using this unfinished structure as a pier, but are still anchoring out from it, which means that the damage has shifted even further back onto the reef creating a much larger area of damage as about 50 anchorings a day occur in this area. In order for these moorings to be placed, I will meet with the Barangay Captain for Sabang and the Fisheries Officer to make sure they are put in the correct place and that I have followed the correct protocol for implementation. What’s even better about all of this is that I have to write a proposal for the buoys placement and then if granted I will get to help out and hopefully mix the cement for the buoys as well as help put them in place!!

Overall, the weather has been quite wet to say the least over the last week. The town of White Beach which is on our commute currently has 3 streams running through it. By the way, normally there are none! It’s amazing the tricyles can traverse quite a large depth of water; the skill here is being able to lift your bags above the water entering the buggy! Every little aspect of life out here is exciting, and just goes to show that nothing is ever the same. On any days off, I spend my time over in Sabang finishing off my Dive Masters with a shop out there. Unfortunately I had an ear infection during this internship before the start of the Zoox experience and so I have to fit in the last few days wherever I can. But we’re planning to try and find a one bed place over in Sabang so that one or a few of us can crash there instead of traveling back to Aninuan in the evenings.

This is on the list of many things for us to do tomorrow…. till next time.


This entry was posted in Puerto Galera, Stef, The Zoox Experience Programme, Volunteer Coordinator, ZEP #3 and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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