World Oceans Day is an opportunity every year to honour the world's ocean, celebrate the products the ocean provides such as seafood as well as marine life itself for aquariums, pets, and also a time to appreciate its own intrinsic value.
Here on Koh Tao we are surrounded by beautiful coral reefs that are intrinsic to all the activities that take place on this small island. We at Eco Koh Tao and Crystal Dive took this opportunity to remind people about this important symbiosis by organizing an afternoon of eco activities.
Led by IDCS Nathan Cook & MSDT Instructors Simon & Jenny Dowling more than 20 people got on board to dive at one of our popular local dive sites, Twins. Twins also happens to be our own Adopt-a-Reef site, one of two around the island which we maintain by conducting regular clean ups, setting up coral nurseries and manage buoy line maintenance.
As part of the days activities divers were split up into groups. Some conducted a clean up around the site collecting garbage, mostly fishing nets, & other debris. Some helped Nathan, Simon & Jenny to transplant some of the healthy coral fragments from our coral nursery onto a nearby artificial reef. Some conducted Coralwatch Coral Health surveys to be uploaded to the worldwide database maintained by Coralwatch in conjunction with the University of Queensland and Project Aware. While others helped with the collection of the predatory drupella snail (drupella cornus sp) which has skyrocketed in numbers in the past year and is threatening the survival of many parts of the reef.
Some lucky divers even had a chance encounter with a Hawksbill turtle and were able to report that site to the Marine Conservation Koh Tao’s sighting database
Many participants were divemaster trainees but some were newly certified open water divers who were thrilled to get involved in the eco activities. For the more experienced divers it was s chance to do something different and give something back to the ocean environment which we often take for granted.
All in all it was a great day out. We all did two dives and many people learnt something new about the reef and how the protect it. The most common response from participants was, “we should do this more often” Maybe we will!
Crystal Dive www.crystaldive.com
Project Aware www.projectaware.org
Marine Conservation Koh Tao www.marineconservationkohtao.com
Department of Marine & Coastal Resources Thailand
Prince of Songkhla University, Haad Yai