Jane Thompson - Diving & Marine Conservation in Thailand
Having left England on 26th February and flown just over 6000 miles I arrived at Krabi airport, very tired, very hot, jetlagged and nervous about the next six months. I was immediately made to feel very welcome and spent the journey back to the house taking in the countryside of this new and very different country.
Before coming to Thailand I had never dived before and my first couple of weeks was to pass the NAUI open water and advanced courses. I had no idea whether I would like the diving and my first dive in the sea was just overwhelming! The shear panic the first time I had to go under the water, it just seemed so unnatural….and it is! But one of the most fantastic experiences I have ever had. Once I began to feel in control under water I started to love the diving and now……well I can’t get enough of it!
Once you have finished your diving courses the work begins. We have done all sorts of different things from releasing Anemonefish, reef watches, fish ID, salvage and cutting nets away from the coral. Normally we dive from the Nevada but the last couple of days we dived from the long tail boat which gave the added complication of putting your kit on in the water, great fun!
I never imagined that I would find such a different world under the water, it is so beautiful. The diversity of the coral the amount of different fish, I never thought that I would learn the names of things but 3 months in and I’m not that bad! We’ve seen turtles, a leopard shark, this was on my first dive and was a good job I didn’t know until I got out of the water, barracuda, seahorses and loads more. My best buy before I came out here was an underwater casing for my camera and I have some fantastic photos to take home.
Our other days were spent either in the Mangroves or on Beach cleanups. Always guaranteed to be very hot and dirty days! My first day in the mangroves with the others began with a mud fight! Mangrove mud is not nice! At the mangroves we cleared land, planted small saplings into the area we had cleared, collected seeds for the local village, filled bags for seed planting and a day where we cleared rubbish from the mangroves.
We only clean local beaches, not beaches that have hotels on; these beaches are often deserted but are fantastic, once the rubbish is cleared! You could not imagine some of the things we find, tyres, clothes, lots of bottles. It’s hard work but fun, we had one day where we were joined by the local school summer camp. The children were so keen that we finished in a couple of hours where it would have taken us volunteers a whole day.
Three months have flown by and now I’m getting ready to teach after my travel time. The diving here has been brilliant. I had the added extra of being here for Songkran, the Thai New Year. This was amazing. We spent the morning at the temple in Krabi giving offerings to the monk and being blessed and then the biggest water fight you have ever experienced. It took about 4 hours to get through Ao Nang on the bus, it was like the M25 in rush hour, but each bus had barrels of water that you would throw. A very wet day! And great fun! Thailand is an experience not to be missed!