Anna Wemyss - Diving & Marine Conservation in Thailand
I arrived at the Conservation project, bewildered, and to be honest, not really knowing what to expect. However, before I knew it I was whisked away, into the nearest town of Ao Nang. It was a scorching day, with different aromas of things such as Pad Thai noodles and the fumes from the tuk tuks buzzing around. People walked past smiling creating a friendly atmosphere. At this point all the other volunteers were out on the boat diving, and as the day was coming to an end I was taken back to the volunteer house to meet them all. Everyone was so friendly, and before I knew it I felt like I had been there for days!
The next day, I was told about everything by the diving instructors and was filled in about everything I need to know! Within two weeks I had done my Open Water and Advanced Open Water qualifications and was ready to go and explore the 'new world' under the depths of the sea. And that I think..is the only way to explain it! It was incredible; there were so many species of all different shapes and all different colours. The dive masters really helped out and they showed me and my buddy amazing creatures such as seahorses to leopard sharks. It was a fantastic experience, and such a great feeling to know that I would be experiencing this three times a week. Whilst diving we picked up salvage including things such as little bits of rubbish to fishing nets which go on for what seems like miles. However, by doing this you don't just experience what's under the water but you also come up with a feeling of satisfaction due to the fact that you are helping both the marine life and the locals within that area.
We also did beach clean ups, and helped the locals in planting mangroves. This involved both finding the mangrove seeds and then planting them. I remember we had to do this in the boiling heat, but everyone's doing the same thing and is always a good laugh. When doing the beach clean up it was always surprising to see how much rubbish was on the beaches. So once again it was always very rewarding to help out, and much of the time the local children would get involved. Beach clean up was always good fun, a day on the beach doing some work but at the same time playing beach games sunbathing and snorkelling.
Thailand was an incredible place in its own right, but for me what made the experience, was volunteering abroad to help the locals, living with a kind family and such fun volunteers. A lot of work always seems to get done..but at the same time a good night out is never missed out in the schedule! The volunteers get very involved in the Thai culture, and the work done is very much appreciated by the locals. It's such an amazing place out there, and to be honest you can read about Thailand but the only way you can really experience it is by visiting the country and get involved in a project such as this conservation one! What an experience!