I am new to this forum but wanted to share with you the most intensely amazing experience I have ever had with diving. I just got back to the UK after joining the Thresher Shark Research and Conservation Project for 6 weeks in the Philippines. What these guys do is just awe inspiring! Check out www.threshersharkproject.org for details. The project changed everything about how I see diving and gave me a whole new respect for conservation, shark science and the people who put their necks on the line to put a little bit back into the environment. I seriously recommend the experience to all!
I learned to dive for science under GUE (Global Underwater Explorers) standards - the most skilled and conscientious dive organisation I have come across in my 15 years dive experience. I studied thresher shark behaviour and their interactions with cleaner wrasses. I surveyed the reef and shark cleaning stations using high resolution photo transects. I learned underwater photography and videography from professionals. I taught marine biology to local high school kids. I dove 3 times a day with threshers, mantas and devil rays - I even got to see a grey reef which has apparently never been seen in the area except by remote video! The staff were incredibly friendly and professional. The food and lodging was excellent (except for those damned roosters!), and the overall organisation is just incredibly honest and well put together. AND I got to do something very real to protect the environment while helping to educate the local community about it.
Thank you TSRCP for giving me the most meaningful time I have ever spent with the sea! I can't wait to go back.