Being a sponge

Shortly before my departure, a friend from my Belgian diving glub gave me an interesting advice: “act like a sponge!”

As a response to my sceptic face, she added: “… you know… just absorb everything you will see, learn and discover… exactly like a sponge! … and enjoy this amazing adventure you are going to start!”

For those who are not familiar with this marine buddy, here is one picture:




Branching tube sponge (Aiolochroia crassa) – Source: Flower Garden Bank/NOAA


One week later, I was flying to the Philippines in order to start a 2 month experience, taking part of the “Zoox Experience Programme” (ZEP).

Being a diver interested in nature conservation and having conducted my master thesis in marine biology, it appeared quite logical to develop my professional career in the marine sector.


My sister (on the left) and I diving at Ouvée in New Caledonia

I had spotted Zoox and its training programmes quite a long time ago and I quickly realised the added-value of ZEP for my professional expectations.

However, I took my time for applying as I was, at that period, building my first professional experience by working at EU level on nature conservation dossiers. Although those 3.5 years of work on terrestrial issues provided me with relevant experience, the idea of coming back to the marine issues has remained stuck in my head. Unfortunately, considering the competition and my lack of practical experience in that sector, finding a job was still challenging.

Around 1.5 year after my first visit on Zoox Website, the timing seemed perfect for me to apply for the ZEP… and so did I!

It has been now almost two weeks that I have joined the Zoox team and the other volunteers in the Philippines, and I don’t regret my decision of taking part of this adventure.

Furthermore … I do act like a sponge!

Indeed, I absorb all the interesting and relevant information provided, from the various issues related to marine conservation, to the necessary skills for becoming a Green Fins assessor.

However, marine sponges do not only absorb! They also filter, “digest” and reject what has been absorbed.

Let’s then hope that I continue being a sponge, digesting correctly the information and rejecting it in the form of practical actions during the next steps of the ZEP.




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