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Secrets by the sea

By David Rowat, 4th April 2013

The Academy by the Sea programme continues this school holiday with students from the first programme joining us again for Level 2. The Level 2 programme will build on students’ knowledge from Level 1 as well as introducing new activities and animals, all aimed at equipping the students with knowledge and skills in marine conservation.

Whale Shark face! Students at the Academy meeting at the Natural History Museum

Whale Shark face! Students at the Academy meeting at the Natural History Museum

However, for 16 students the programme will be ‘the Academy with a difference’, as they will be attending a weeklong camp away from home at an undisclosed secret location! As the MCSS Education Officer, I met with these students and their parents at the Natural History Museum last month. At the meeting, students were told a little about the once in a lifetime adventure and they promised not to harass their parents in telling them where it would be!

As the students went off and began filling out forms for the camp and signed up to refresher snorkelling sessions for the coming weekends, their parents learnt the exciting location their child would be off to. All the parents were thrilled their child would be a part of this adventure and were enthusiastic about keeping the location a secret!

Last Saturday, I met with the first group of students (and questions about the location of the Academy!) at the Dive Seychelles Underwater Centre to attend a refresher snorkel session. Prior to the Academy last year, the majority of the students had never snorkelled before; on Saturday, I was pleased when enquiring when they last snorkelled, many answered ‘last weekend’ and one got a snorkel set for Christmas! The sea conditions weren’t great but the students did fantastically and despite the six month break since the last Academy, the students remembered lots of the fish families they had learnt, and we even saw a turtle!

I hope the snorkel session was a sign for the amazing time we’ll have at the Academy this holiday. We start on the 22nd April so I’m sure next month the blog will be full of the wonderful things we did and saw, but for now, my lips are sealed!

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