Diving & Marine Conservation Volunteering in Thailand - Monthly Updates
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Conservation in Thailand - Monthly Update October 2012
Diving Based Projects:
Reef Check Survey
In October our volunteers did a total of 12 reef check survey dives, this was a great amount as the October weather was fairly kind to us. Out of the 12 surveys they did, results have shown that the species of coral that was spotted most during October was the brain coral. There was also a large amount of Moorish idols that kept our volunteers amused, not to mention 3 moray eels, one of which was a giant moray. There was also a sighting of a black tip reef shark that was also a highlight for our volunteers.
On average for October we found that 0-25% of coral was covered in algae.
Project AWARE - Dive Against Debris Survey
During the month of October we did a total of 9 dives against debris, each time as usual the volunteers covered an area of 700m2. The two main dives that had a lot more debris than the other areas were Chicken Island and Koh Chalam Noi. In those two areas at least 20kg of debris was salvaged.
The more interesting debris that was found during this month were a hat and lots of scuba gear, and as always lots of fishing line.
Endangered Species Work
During October only two sightings of endangered species were spotted. One hawksbill turtle at Maya Nui, and one green turtle at Koh See.
Land Based Projects:
October was a busy month for working at the FORRU. On one of the Mondays the staff team from FORRU came to Dawn of Happiness to help with our own tree nursery, this took place during the green camp, so we had a lot of fun with the children from Baan Unrak. They were extremely helpful and labelled a plant each with their name so that when the plant is ready we could plant it in the Khlong Thom Forrest for them.
Apart for that the volunteers spent a lot of time at the FORRU tree nursery; they were mainly filling up potting bags with a mixture of dirt and rice husk. These bags were to get the tree nursery ready for large amounts of seedlings and we’re hoping for a high success rate on germinating these seeds.
Our volunteers also helped with collecting seeds and also joined FORRU into their reforested area to clear weeds ensuring the trees that were planted are still growing strong.
Beach Clean Ups
In October we had two beach clean-up days, we did however clean three different beaches. On one of the days we did a cleanup at Ao Nang beach, where we collected over 37 kg of rubbish, the highest number of items found were cigarette butts, and unfortunately not many of these items were recyclable.
On the other clean-up day we tackled Nopharathara beach and a beach along the side of it known as Long beach. On Nopharathara Beach the highest amount of debris again seemed to be cigarette butts; however lots of plastic bags and plastic lids were picked up too. As for Long beach, on this much quieter beach we seemed to pick up mostly food wrappers and bottles, this may be because people tend to spend their lunch hours on that beach and leave their trash behind.
Turtle Rehabilitation Work
On our trip up to Phuket (PMBC) this October we were asked to help clean up the tanks that contained the smaller turtles that are on their way to being released. Our volunteers were ecstatic to handle these little sweet turtles. We had to warn some not to stick them in their pockets and take them home .
Our volunteers were also lucky enough to witness the vets at PMBC performing an autopsy on one of the turtle carcasses, it wasn’t the prettiest sight but it definitely was educational. After our work was complete we did the usual where we took the volunteers for a walk through the aquarium.
Community Outreach Day
Our Community Outreach day for October was not technically a day but rather a week, where we hosted children from an orphanage at our base. The community team had their educational mornings and in the afternoons the conservation team took over for the conservation related activities and lots of fun stuff. This included a tree nursery workshop and visiting tiger temple. On Wednesday the children even got to go out on the boat where they tried out scuba diving for the very first time, this was a huge hit with the children. On the Thursday afternoon the conservation team hosted a game of bingo where prizes were given out to the children, and after we hosted a football match on our beach which again was a great success.
On the Friday, which is out usual main outreach day, we took the children out to the mangroves for an educational nature walk, after that we took them out to the cave in the twin rocks.
Later that evening we had our monthly diner (one of the most epic ones of the year), we had the certificate ceremony for the children followed by thanking the different teams and organisations that made that week possible. Then we had a big feast that Dawn of Happiness provided. Finishing off the night we had one of the children from Baan Unrak put on a fire show followed by a massive fireworks display. All the volunteers and children were extremely happy; it was very satisfying to see this.
Social activities that took place this month were kayaking through the mangroves at Tha-Lane bay and a day out in Phuket at Phuket Wake Park and Phuket Bungee.
The mangrove day we started off fairly early in the morning where the volunteers kayaked from the pier through the mangroves and ended up coming out the other end of the river and kayaked upstream to the finishing point. It was a truly relaxing experience and nice to be that close to nature. We then stopped off at a stream on the way home where we had our lunch.
The Phuket day out started us off at the Wake Boarding park where our volunteers were zipping around on their boards, some were a natural, however, some did take a bit more time to get use to the fast pulling cables. After that we had 9 volunteers taking the 60 meter plunge at the Phuket Bungee Park. All around it was a great month for social activities.
Conservation Project Manager, Thailand