Some five or six years ago Eco Koh Tao’s IDCS Nathan Cook was dreaming about an underwater theme park near one of our local sites designed to reduce the pressure off our natural sites. It would be fun and entertaining and take newer divers away from the natural reefs while they develop the requisite skills to protect the reef.
A few years later, the Save Koh Tao group requested proposals for a major community environmental project and Nathan recalled the idea that was Buoyancy World. It was voted on, unanimously supported and Buoyancy World became a reality in September 2009. It was deployed in February 2010 beside our local site, Twins and has been helping to remove divers from that busy site ever since.
Due to the success Buoyancy World had proven it was decided that this year we would expand that artificial reef and Buoyancy World 2.0 became this year’s major community project.
So since September 23 a merry band of volunteer divers and non-divers have been busy creating new artificial structures. Crystal Dive and Eco Koh Tao have decided to build a shipwreck. Years of experience have been brought to the table with our design trying to maximise habitat and space for both animals and people alike.
We have been aiming to consolidate our environmental projects building a ship that will receive many of the coral fragments already growing very well in our coral nurseries at Twins. The bottom half of the ship will be home to corals and hopefully mauch more life as it develops and grows.
The top half of the ship is more open allowing divers to get close and practice their buoyancy whilst staying well clear of the fragile corals. Over time we hope that encrusting organisms will build up on the structure insulating the steel from rust and corrosion so it can become a permanent fixture at one of Koh Tao’s busiest dive sites.
It has been a massive 10 days and construction is not complete but an end is in sight. An end to Phase 1 that is.
Phase two, deployment, will take place later this month.
Phase 3 will involve arranging and setting up the structure underwater.
Phase 4 will involve transplanting corals and populating the wreck with the start of a new ecosystem.
This whole project would not be possible without the tireless and hard working help of volunteers and over the week there have been many so I would like to thank them here…
PLATINUM VOLUNTEERS (More than 8 days work)
James Wickham (UK)
Simon Dowling (UK)
Jenny Dowling (UK)
Kailash Cook (India)
Nathan Cook (Aus)
Sylvain Pigeon (Fra)
Bernadette Cook (Aus), Oliver Dines (UK), YoramFalkenburg (Dutch), Francis Downing (UK), Brian Connor (US), Adam Packer (UK), Bruce (Xian Lei) Li, Ivan Karadzic (Danish), Lily Rough (UK), Cassie Bishop (UK), Petra Bauer (Swe), Jane Spalding (UK), Kim Wilson (Aus)
Marine Conservation Koh Tao www.marineconservationkohtao.com
Crystal Dive www.crystaldive.com
Eco Koh Tao www.ecokohtao.com