It’s been a busy day, and we’re all a little tired. So far there has not been a day without something new and interesting for us interns, and today was no different. After several days of studying in the classroom, we finally had a chance to experience the underwater environment. Today we visited Monkey Island, just outside Labuan Bajo, to begin our PADI Advanced Open Water training dives and take another step on our journey to become scientific divers.
During our first dive we practised Peak Performance Buoyancy with our instructor Sofia. This was a shallow dive, only 2-3 meters, but we had lots to think about. We practised adjusting out equipment to find neutral buoyancy and trim, and experienced how breathing can change our buoyancy. We will need to have good buoyancy control when we become underwater researchers, to avoid damaging the fragile coral reef ecosystem.
Our next dive focussed on underwater navigation, an important skill to help us avoid long surface swims back to the boat, avoid buddy separation, and ensure we can carry out our dive plans effectively. Today we completed two of the five training dives necessary for the PADI’s Advanced Open Water certification. We have more studying tonight, and we will continue with our dive training tomorrow.
As well as our first diving experience in Labuan Bajo today, today we were happy to join a beach cleaning event with the local community. We joined Trash Hero, an organisation that promotes awareness and action to reduce pollution, and 30 children from the local elementary schools. Marine trash can be a hazard to marine wildlife such as manta rays, and so it is important to keep our oceans clean and healthy. Working together with the local children was a great way to educate them from an early age to love and protect the environment.
Today we found two different activities that provide an important message for our life. As divers, we have a passion and a responsibility to care not only for the ocean but also for the land. Our activities on land can have a big effect on the health of our oceans.