I came to the project having never dived in my life. I grew up in Kansas, USA, and moved to California less than a year ago. I joined this project because of my passion for marine life and environmental health. I knew Indonesia had one of the most endangered reefs in the world, and I wanted to do something to help it. I began my open water course the first week I arrived, and fell in love. I finished my course right in time for the weekend, so on my two days off, I decided to do my advanced course as well. In just my first week of diving, I had completed 14 dives at 9 different dive sites. I had also seen my first sea turtles, octopuses, rays, moray eels, and sharks. I think I’ve spent more time in the water than on land, but that’s how it should be!
Like I said, the shark team is very popular on the island, and rightfully so. This team works very hard to educate and promote conservation on the island to everyone they can reach. The team runs a beach clean up every Saturday at different dive centers to make sure everyone is included, as well as attend other clean ups. Every work day the team goes on two survey dives and records sharks, turtles, rays, and indicator species. They drop a GoPro with bait and record that data as well. Taking the boat out with other divers, everyone is interested in our research. This is a perfect opportunity to further educate visitors on the status of the area’s sharks and reefs. During my time here, I have recognized the shark team as the environmental leaders of the island.
Villa Nangka is a wonderful place to stay! The people that live here have become my family, and I am convinced I could write a book about the various characters. I am incredibly sad that my visit has come to an end, but I am so very grateful for the people I’ve met and the experience I’ve gained diving and collecting data. I am confident if it weren’t for school, I would be staying here as long as I can.