The retrospective review/Missing Moalboal/Back in chilly England/Reality!

Our last week in Moalboal was a flurry of activity; completing assessments, training, handing out certificates, Ambassador Day and of course Report writing! I’m quite glad we were kept this busy as it meant I didn’t have time to think about having to leave and to all the “See you Soon’s!” I’d be saying to the fantastic people I’d befriended over these last 6 weeks.

For me the 8 weeks I spent on the project was (trying not to sound too clichéd) a truly amazing experience and the time just flies by far too quickly! We went (as Wai said) from the Magnificent 7 to the Awesome Foursome after 2 weeks.

The Magnificent Seven Leaving Puerta Galera

This time last week plus 3 days, I was circling above Newcastle airport, hoping the pilot couldn’t land in the snow and would fly me back to Manila! Sadly, he kept us up in the air for 30 minutes then landed.  I was suddenly back in reality but facing a whole new world of exciting opportunities and ideas, all of which stemmed from what I learnt from Zoox and being a part of Green Fins, skills I have developed over these 8 weeks and the person I  have transformed into after completing this little journey.

It’s fair to say life on a daily basis in Moalboal was action packed for us Green Fins. We hit the ground running after saying goodbye to the Malapascua girls and got down to business. Meeting the Mayor, local government officials, the Maritime Police and of course the cogs in the machine; the dive centres and their staff!  It has also been  a fantastic opportunity to get to open discussions on local issues and threats to the marine environment and not only inspire those locally to become empowered to  make change but to work together to find and
create solutions.  Together as team Moalboal we have learnt and over-come a lot; from surviving tropical illnesses, bites and stings, to becoming more confident in standing up and delivering Green Fins training, to organising our daily schedules and most importantly running the project smoothly and spreading the ‘Green’ word!.

A proud moment for us all was receiving our Assessor cards!

The Awesome Foursome and shiny new Assessor Cards!

It’s a great feeling to know that we’ve played an integral part in inspiring change within the dive community in Moalboal and it was rewarding to see people’s passion for marine conservation reignited, as well as sparking a healthy competition amongst dive centres to get the best score on assessments! This showed that they were really determined to make small changes in order to secure a future for their coral reef and ultimately their underwater offices!  For me it was all the ‘warm and fuzzy feeling moments’ that truly ‘made’ my time there. A few moments to mention when we were a) so quickly accepted into the community; within a week everyone knew we were “Green Fins!” b) to the rewarding feeling of empowering local dive guides to protect their local reefs, marine life and habitats c) going into the local schools, seeing the excitement of the children at having ‘visitors’ and their thirst for knowledge. And how can I forget my most famous (boy)friend, my lovely quadrat and all the attention he got on those dives! He did work hard! But he was also a great tool for educating people on marine monitoring, something which could be quite interesting to develop further within the diving community. Plus, they’d get to carry around this amazing, shiny, silver square!

The quadrat and I: Fun times 🙂

So now, there will be (hopefully) a lot of exciting times and opportunities ahead! So here’s to the future! And I’m sure the 2013 ZEP’s
will love it all as much as I did! J One last big Thank-You! To Chloe, JJ and Sam for all their hard work in training us, words of wisdom, encouragement and for proving that (to steal another quote) by “choosing a job you love, you will never have to work a day in your life!”

So here’s to me finding that said job, I’ll keep you posted! 🙂

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