I have now been here in Panglao for about a month and so much has happened. I’ve taken part in the assessment and training of 5 dive shops and just recently led my first feedback session, qualifying me as a fully trained Green Fins assessor!
The first week is a little slow as it mainly consists of walking around the beach to get a feel for the place and to meet the staff and managers of the different dive shops. It’s pretty cool how much variability there is between me and the other assessors in terms of our relationships with the dive shops. There are some where I’ve been multiple times and know members of the staff by name because I was the one to set appointments/meeting times, deliver the training presentation, conduct the assessment or lead the feedback discussion. There are other dive shops where I’ve literally never set foot and the entire process was conducted by a combination of everybody but me. The work is evenly spread out and we help each other when necessary, so having a cooperative and reliable team is essential.Part of the assessment involves going on dives with the shop to see how they operate when dealing with tourists. Getting to go on dives is great but we also have to pay very close attention to the actions of the guests and guides so we don’t always get to see all the small little critters. I actually missed a seahorse once and I’ve been wanting to see one so badly, despite having nearly 100 dives logged. For this reason, we the assessors try to go on fun dives once per week to keep our sanity.
Along with our day to day Green Fins work, which is the assessing of dive shops, we each have a personal project to accomplish. My project is to plan a multi-stakeholder beach clean-up. At the time I am writing this, the event is only 5 days away and it’s stressing me out. I’ve spoken with many people from dive shop managers to local government officials and there seems to be a lot of interest in participating, but my biggest fear is that very few people will actually come out to help. My next blog post will be all about this event. To find out information needed for the clean-up I visited the municipal dump site which was a jarring and humbling experience. Seeing these mountains of trash really made me think about just how much goes to waste and ends up in a dump, even back home. Since arriving in Panglao, we’ve gotten into the habit of refusing single use drinking straws since they just end up in a land fill and are really unnecessary. I will definitely be taking this habit back with me to Canada, and I doubt I’ll ever throw away trash the same way again. I imagine it being comparable to visiting a slaughterhouse and then seeing how much of a taste for meat you would still have. I now think that everybody should go to their local dump site at least once and talk to the people who work there. We in western society are too far removed from our own trash and don’t tend to think about where it all goes. This visit really opened my eyes and will stay with me for the rest of my life.