Starting our fifth week in Panglao and it is hard to believe that we are now under three weeks away of our programme finishing! We are still extremely busy working with dive centres and putting dates in the diary for both training and assessments so as many centres can become full members before the end of our time here on this occasion.
At first when we arrived, it seemed that time was not an issue but it has flown passed and with our personal projects in full flow, it is work at all hours in order for us all to complete the tasks and challenges we have been set.
Another busy week awaits us with the dive centres and we are now working seven days a week, but it is the work we wanted to do and it feels every day that I am learning something new whether it is on marine conservation or just general knowledge from my fellow ZEP’s.
Yesterday I went on an undercover, local tour shop arranged snorkel trip with a fellow ZEP to assess and get an understanding of how snorkelers are having an environmental impact on coral reefs at a well know snorkel site. Through studying my degree in Marine Ecology back in the UK and through the modules of environmental impacts we studied when starting ZEP, nothing quite prepared me for what I saw. As like many things in life, you can read about them, even be told first-hand about something, but until you actually experience it for yourself you cannot really appreciate the extent of what might be happening.
It is experiences like this that can make me feel upset, given that the marine environment has so much to give to the local people and tourists, were they educated and informed on the benefits of managing and maintaining marine ecosystems and the corals in the shallows.
On the plus side, it reminds me why I’m here in the first place, here to learn about the marine environment, the threats to it and how I can learn and be part of something that works towards change in a positive light, for both the marine ecosystems and the people who depend on it for work and living.
So I’m looking forward to this week and seeing what it brings, looking forward to bringing more members on board and I might even get a dive or two in… all in the name of work, of course!!!