Annual Concordia School trip for 10 days 9 nights to Phi Phi Islands.
While all her sisters are sleeping off the low season in dry dock and getting well deserved rest and servicing Manta Queen 3 is off to the south for the annual Concordia International School of Shanghai’s Marine Ecology Research Program. Every year for the last 5 years these awesome guys have been coming out to Thailand and taking measurements and data from Viking Bay in Koh Phi Phi and sending back these vital statistics to Reef Check.
The first few days of our 10 day trip are spent completing PADI Open Water courses and straight onto PADI Advanced Open Water for all the ‘newbies’ aboard, while the experienced kids have fun, reacquaint themselves with the reef and also do some specialty courses; including Drift, Night, Nitrox, Navigation and Peak Performance Buoyancy- which will really help when it comes to those long slow Reef Check dives. During the fun dives some reef sharks are spotted and turtles too, definitely a good sign! We manage to make it down to Bida Nok and Bida Nai too for some fun too, where the reef is much healthier and we are treated with schools of fusiliers, snappers, giant pufferfish, morays and 7 or so sharks spotted by some!
When everyone has finished their respective courses it’s time to get down to the reason why we’re all here, Reef Check. We spend a few hours in classroom sessions learning about the various Substrates, Invertebrates and Fish species so that they know exactly what we’re looking for and can give the most thorough data to Reef Check. Each classroom session is followed by a dive to point out Fish, Inverts or Subs (as we call it!) to really drive home each of the topics and make sure everyone knows the difference in all the species of each area.
The next two days are completely crazy busy- we had 4 teams of 3 buddy pairs each, doing 8 dive runs from Manta Queen 3 to the Reef Check site and most of the dives were over 60 minutes long, some people even knocking into the 90+min mark; now that is thorough!
All the data was then compiled and sent off to Reef Check who use it to measure growth and death in the reefs and hopefully take preventative measures for the future- in Viking Bay itself a new line has been put around to minimise boat traffic and hopefully protect the reef; so you can really see that what Concordia International School Shanghai are doing does make a real difference.
Without these kids we would have no information here about what is happening on the reef- you are doing a stellar job guys, keep up the good work!
See you next year, until then dive safe and happy bubbles!
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