Blue Guru is supporting the development of 2 local fishermen to ultimately become PADI divemasters & passionate ambassadors for protection of local coral reefs & marine life.
The 2 fishermen are 18 year old twin boys, Tam & Tum, from Lions village on Koh Phra Thong. Lions village was built in 2005 to replace Pak Chok which was destroyed by the 2004 Tsunami. Fishing is the main livelihood of many Koh Phra Thong & Kuraburi residents. Unfortunately discarded fishing nets, polystyrene fish trap markers & plastic rubbish is negatively impacting the health of the local coral reefs & marine life. Anchor damage from longtail boats has also been observed on local reefs. Blue Guru recognises the need for local ambassadors to spearhead the desired change in behaviours. It would also be good to give local fishermen an alternative career option. Hence our sponsorship of Tam & Tum.
We first introduced Tam & Tum to diving through a PADI Discover Scuba Diving experience. They were both naturals & loved it! We took them on our day trips to Surin National Park for further experience dives and their eyes were well & truly opened to the amazing diversity of marine life that divers come to the area to enjoy.
Blue Guru then conducted a Thai Open Water course. We bought Thai Open Water manuals & exams/quizzes and one of our divemasters who is fluent in Thai assisted with knowledge development & reviews. To aid communication & ensure complete understanding, Blue Guru also invited 2 bi-lingual Thais to join the group training on a pro-bono basis in return for assistance with translation between our English speaking instructors & Thai students. We therefore also trained the Thai resort manager and maintenance manager, which has increased their awareness of the diving environment enjoyed by guests at their resort.
In April 2011, all 4 Thai students gained PADI Open Water Diver qualification. Congratulations to Tam, Tum, Pena & Sak!
It was also a great demonstration of Blue Guru teamwork with all our permanent dive team involved in the training at some stage: Bo, our Thai-speaking Divemaster; Marion, our Divemaster in charge of equipment; and all 3 of our PADI Instructors (Chris, Gannon & Helen) conducting elements of their dive training.
We very much look forward to continuing the Thai twins' education up the PADI ladder & building their enthusiasm for marine conservation when we re-open in November after the monsoon. Next steps are: Advanced Open Water with diving locally & in Surin/Similan National Parks and more involvement in beach & underwater clean ups!