Start of the programme

It’s probably safe to say that this hasn’t been my most successful trip overseas, with my camera housing flooding and getting ill on the 3rd day in El Nido, but hopefully that means the worst has already past, touch wood!

Following a successful 2 weeks of training, involving a useful recap of marine ecology and some highly useful information about the world of marine conservation and how to get a job, we have now arrived in El Nido.  This involved a pretty tedious 7 hour bus journey, but nothing that a few episodes of 24 couldn’t make bearable.

I now have a pretty good idea of what are aims and objectives are out here, although right now it seems to be a mammoth task, following partaking on one of the snorkel tours I think we have all realised that trying to change their mindsets, but I’m trying to stay focused and not overwhelmed.  Task 1 is to register and assess the dive centres in the area so they are affiliated with Green Fins, during my ill patch the guys did a great job of the registering.  Task 2 involves my personal assignment, developing the Snorkel Industry Management Strategy (SIMS) through looking at environmental impacts and identifying areas of high risk.  Following highly useful meetings with the Tourism Office and the Coastal Resource Management Officers we have already learnt a great deal about the area and the main issues to be addressed.  It also looks like SIMS has the potential to become the Eco-Tourism Ordinance, local law, this is hugely exciting, and an amazing project to be involved in.   It would also be a fantastic achievement for marine conservation in this area and can hopefully pave the way for increased conservation work in El Nido in the future.

I will put photos in further posts once I download them from my phone, following death of the camera.

That’s it for now!

Joe

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