Our dream is a CoralGarden full of flowers. On Sunday, May 28th, the moment is there. The second flower will be planted underwater! It is still an exciting exercise. Is everything ready? Is it possible to put the flower under water in an hour? Does nobody get hurt? We have some sharp parts with us! A healthy coral reef is important, but the most important thing during such an operation is that everyone gets safely back to shore and we feel responsible for this.
EcoDay starts with a number of presentations in the morning. Frank gives a presentation about the importance of coral reefs and what you can do to protect these. The audience reacts enthusiastically to the presentation. After the presentation, a large group of people are inspired to participate in the planting of the flower in the afternoon.
After Frank, Mathieu, of the organization Blueming, gives a short presentation about reducing the use of single-use plastic. How can you contribute to this? This is often part of our presentation. It is interesting to hear this from someone else sometimes.
The last presentation is by Marcel of Get Involved. He talks about the use of social media in major cultural changes. It is important to have a positive attitude. “Blame and shame” does not work. The effect of blame and shame it creates a negative atmosphere, people will not like you for it and eventually people will not want to work with you anymore. In addition, subsequent messages are often not very constructive. The trick is to focus more on people who already made a positive change. When you put them in the spotlights, social media often gives you many more positive and constructive responses. Plus that people who want to change can see that change is possible. This creates a platform for these people to ask questions to those who have already made positive changes.
The last point is: Walk the Talk! People do not do what you say, they do what you do! Be the change you want to see and inspire others.
In the afternoon we get started with the flower. We have about 20 people to help us to plant the flower. Vera gives a briefing on how to put the flower together. Also the task of who does what is discussed and last who takes what part of the flower under water.
Due to the waves on the west side of the island, we go by taxi to Hin Wong Bay, the east side of the island. The roads are constructed differently here than in Europe. Here are no hairpin bends to steadily climb the hill, the roads go just straight up. A steep and challenging road, a roller coaster is nothing compared to these rides. The car stales a few times before we reach the top of the mountain. Safe at the top we drive down the other side of the island.
On the other side of the island we load all the stuff from the taxi onto the big boat that brings us to the divesite. With the small boat of Davy Jones Locker, the different parts of the flower are brought from the big boat to the Coral Garden. The parts of the flower are sunk 1 by 1 to the bottom. The small parts are simply taken by divers to the bottom. The heavy parts are brought down with liftbags or ropes. For most divers, this is a new and interesting experience. But equally exciting. Most divers are not used to diving with their hands full. Does no one drop a part unintentionally? Or does no one forget that if he/she lets go of a part, that he/she suddenly has a lot more positive buoyant? Fortunately, everyone is well instructed and everything goes well!
The only thing that is less fortunate is the visibility underwater. As the flower is placed on a sandy place, it is difficult to not disturb the soil. The water is getting a little more silted around the flower. This is not a problem for planting the flower, but unfortunately, this is not good for making pictures.
As mentioned in a previous newsletter, the first flower was thrown over by the strong currents and landslides that occurred close by last January. During this dive we will also try to restore this flower again. The flower is firmly nailed to the ground with a number of anchor hooks. In this way she will definitely be ready for the next monsoon season.
The operation goes smooth! We are proud of all our volunteers and want to thank them for their efforts. We also want to thank our donators who have made this wonderful result possible by their donations. Without donations for the materials we could not realize this flower. Check out the video of placing the flower here, and subscribe to our YouTube Channel to receive a notification when we made our next video.