This group of excited Marine Explorers started their first snorkel lesson at Pisces Divers pool from the 28th of February 2020. Everyone was excited because this was going to be their first time snorkeling with their masks, snorkels and fins on. We saw smiley faces from the first day of the pool session.
The group looked very comfortable in the water, that was a great sign of things to come. Immediately, we could see that they were enjoying being part of the Save Our Seas Shark Education Centre’s Marine Explorers Club. By the end of the first term, two skill development pool sessions led by Pisces Divers’ instructors had been completed, as well as one open water snorkel.
It was exciting to work with a group of teenagers because previously we worked with primary school kids. On 23 March national lockdown was announced due to the Covid-19 pandemic so, unfortunately, we had stop snorkeling for a while. On the 9th of October, we had those smiley faces back in the water again. As over six months had elapsed, we started them off with two refresher sessions led by Pisces Diving instructors. This was followed by two snorkel sessions at Miller’s Point tidal pool to prepare them for the real thing. Finally, the group was ready for their first open water snorkel at windmill beach. We took them to different diving sites because we wanted to give the kids different diving experiences, as each location has something unique to offer.
The kids saw some amazing sea animals in and around the kelp forests like sea stars, sea anemones, urchins, an octopus and different types of sea snails. Having the opportunity to observe and even touch these animals was an amazing experience for them and, hopefully, this left them with good memories and an appreciation of the beauty of the marine environment.
We all know that 2020 has been a very tough year for everyone, but at least these kids have also had some fun snorkeling and made huge progress from start to finish. Even the kids who lacked water confidence during their first snorkel session are now happy to put their heads underwater and everyone seems to have gotten comfortable using a mask, snorkel, fins and weight belts too.
A big thanks to all involved, especially Pisces Divers, the volunteers from UCT Underwater Club, Eco- active, and to everyone who managed to support this group!