After my sixth Dive centre assessment, I barely get a glimpse at just how much diving impacts both individuals and the environment in various ways. Volunteering in marine conservation trains my eyes to see the unsustainable and seemingly harmless practices: why would seeds from watermelon being thrown overboard be a “bad thing”? But also the discreet efforts of dive guides choosing a certain path amongst the coral in shallow dive sites, ensuring that the divers see the beauty of the reefs and not kick a nudibranch unknowingly.
As a student in biology ecology, I marvel at the whole ecosystem and the forms life have taken in this fragile environment but also an ancestor to all life on land. The behaviours that seem so enigmatic, the cohabitation that makes me forget the prey and predator dynamic, essential for all species to prosper. Giving access to direct observation of the reefs and its’ inhabitants, diving is an opportunity to share with everyone sights that exist nowhere else, anyone being able to discover the treasures of the marine environment. A beautiful gift, but only for the eyes!
Finally, as a diver the skills humans can develop underwater, an environment we are not adapted to, amaze me! Floating and gliding through the water, graciously or awkwardly… Also seeing fellow divers having the time of their lives, being able to breathe underwater has its’ own magical aspect.
This wonderful tool is a great opportunity for everyone to discover the “underwater world” and learn its’ value, creating the desire to protect it. But it is also a threat to its’ future and safety, trash flying overboard, run-offs pouring chemicals into the sea, anchors ripping coral apart…
Truth is the picture is even bigger and the impacts a lot more diverse, but slowly as I observe and learn I am touched by the relentless effort many individuals have to teach and keep trying to change the tendency of a negative impact. The diving industry has a lot to learn and room for improvement and is also an open door!