Marine Explorers: A Great Sinking Feeling

7th July 2014

Everyone knows that small increments of growth or change are hard to notice – it’s often only when we compare baseline data with current information that we can appreciate how much (or little) has happened. Every educator needs a regular reminder-to-self in this regard:

From our first nervous dips into the tidal pools of False Bay, our Marine Explorers have grown into confident yet responsible snorkelers. The initial fear of all things fishy and slimy has gradually been replaced by a curiosity that is feeding a growing thirst for marine knowledge. I can only make these comments now though, as I compare the group’s ability in the last few sessions to our very first meeting.

The main priorities during our first couple of sessions were getting over our fear of the water and staying afloat. It’s only when I recall these early sessions, that our last session brings the Explorer’s growth into focus – because while we started off ensuring that they could float, our final session with this group was all about trying to sink! The kids were understandably cautious when we showed them our new collection of weight belts – although they thought that the bright colours were cool, the idea of attaching heavy objects to themselves before going in the water was rightly met with scepticism.

With growing swells and plummeting temperatures being a feature of this year’s early winter, we were grateful to Pisces Divers for offering us the use of their pool for our weight belt introduction. Although nippy, it was significantly warmer than the prevailing 11◦C in the sea, and the calm clear pool water was just what was needed to practice diving down to fetch our little plastic goldfish in safety.

The weight belts went down well (as they should!), and so did the hot chocolate and snack we shared as we warmed up back at the Shark Centre and reflected on our various explorations. It will be a while until we see this group again, but they’ve made it clear that they are ready for more – preferably when the water warms up though. Thanks again to Pisces Divers, Reef Wetsuits, PADI and U.C.T Underwater Club for their support throughout.