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Rosie's Story - Life as a Volunteer
At the end of July I flew out from sunny England to an even sunnier Egypt. My first task when I arrived was to learn how to dive! Under Clare and Moudi’s supervision, I got my BSAC Ocean Diver qualification and was ready to volunteer. My first job was a fishing line removal session on the house reef. Being a new diver this was fantastic buoyancy practice, and with Clare, Yannick and Margeaux, we collected a fair bit of fishing line, and I also discovered fire coral (which fishing line seems to love).
Another task we had was to monitor a coral garden on the north side of the House Reef at about 5m. This involved marking out the area with wooden pegs and making a map of the corals. This took several dives to complete, using slates to draw the corals underwater and identifying corals. This project will be ongoing and a good way to see how the garden develops over time. The health of the corals was measured using the Coral Watch coral health chart, and a survey of the fish in the garden, both big and small, was done (we apparently chose a particularly busy day, even the tuna were hanging around).
It is important that we look after our dive sites, this saves marine life, the corals and makes diving more beautiful and fun. Under the influence of Project AWARE’s ‘Dive against Debris’ project, I was inspired to clean up on every dive, always taking a line cutter and a rubbish bag with me. Even if I only picked up one bit of rubbish, it was one less plastic bag that would smother and kill a coral. Cleaning up the beach is also an important task as much rubbish can get blown or washed into the sea. It also improves the general ambiance of the area.
With the assistance of 15 willing Royal Marines from Charlie company, we managed to organise a clean up of the area around Abu Sauatir. The rubbish we collected had to be sorted and logged onto Project AWARE’s website where they track and monitor the debris found.
On one of my dives I visited the dive site at Sug Bohar, and was genuinely distressed at the amount of fishing line I saw. I spoke to some of the guests at the camp and they were all extremely willing to join my team and remove fishing line and rubbish from this beautiful dive site. We managed to remove bags of line and rubbish. Many thanks to Tony, Lucia, Becca, George, Moudi and Clare as without you it would not have been possible!
My month in Egypt as a volunteer was a fantastic experience. I met amazing people, learnt to dive and did my bit for the marine environment. I can’t wait to get back into the sea! I recommend the volunteer package to anyone who wants to dive and make a difference.
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