|Marine Conservation in Thailand|
[Last updated: 27-Jul-2021]
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Shortly after losing my job in Apr-2016, I joined The Renewal Project (a local outdoor volunteer group), for a few hours per week, that carries out work along the River Lambourn (a local chalk river). I learned new skills and facts about river behaviour; all very interesting and enjoyable!
But, a few hours per week wasn't enough; I quickly got bored doing nothing during the rest of the week! I enjoy travelling, so I made a few Internet searches for "international volunteering". After looking at a couple of sites (Global Vision International (GVI) and Projects Abroad (PA)), the PA site gave me that Eureka! moment. There are so many different possibilities, in so many countries!
Wishing to concentrate on conservation and environmental projects, I narrowed my choice down to spending two weeks in one of five locations: Cambodia, Fiji, Mexico, Peru and Thailand. Having visited Thailand a few times in the past, I had never thought about diving there; or anywhere else for that matter! As I was already a PADI Open Water Diver (gained when visiting Cairns, and the Great Barrier Reef, in 1993), the thought of diving again, especially when linked to marine conservation, gave the diving projects a 'slight advantage'! Following a very useful visit to the PA offices (thank you Sarah and Richard for your time), Thailand came out as the eventual winner. If the truth be known, it was my favourite destination from the start! I just needed to justify eliminating the other projects and destinations!
When going for a two-week diving project, the first week is usually used to learn how to dive and the second week is when the real work starts. Then it is time to leave! With that in mind (and with logical comments from Sarah), I decided to go for four weeks, so that I would be able to really get into the work.
Sarah suggested that, if I was to go for four weeks, I would benefit by getting my own equipment; for example, a mask and fins. Good idea! Armed with that information, I visited my local dive shop (Ocean Turtle Diving) in Basingstoke, purely to obtain more advice and see what was available equipment-wise. In addition to a mask and fins, I also purchased a 'shortie' wet suit (as I was going to warm seas), a snorkel, and a pair of boots. Why boots? It turned out to be a good bit of advice, particularly to prevent the fins from rubbing against one's bare feet, and for when walking across rough terrain, such as gravel and stony beaches, etc. Was that sales talk? No, it actually turned out to be a very good piece of advice!
With support from family and friends, I submitted my application to PA on 01-Jun-2016 for a period of four weeks in Thailand, starting 02-Jul-2016. Some might think it was quite a short ‘notice’ period, but hey, I did it before, when I made my plans to travel around the world! Besides, anything is possible! I am very much looking forward to this adventure!
Note: Even though this is an electronic record of my time spent on a marine conservation project in Thailand, there are not as many photos and videos having a diving theme as I had hoped. Also, I wasn't fully prepared to keep a diary, so the text entries are unfortunately quite sparse in places, with a lot taken from digging into my memory cells!
Rather than get up very early tomorrow morning, in order to arrive at
Heathrow Airport in time for my flight, I was taken, this evening, to the
airport. After checking-in, and to my utter surprise, I was through security
and air-side in less than 10 minutes! Very efficient! I just had to wait
a few hours until boarding time tomorrow morning.
Saturday, 02-Jul-2016 - 39,000 Feet to Thailand
My Emirates flight plan (leaving at 09:05) took me first to Dubai (arriving at 19:05), then (at 22:30)...
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