Volunteer in the spotlight: Emiel

About 7 months ago I bumped into Frank and Vera on Koh Tao. They were giving a presentation as part of a monthly Eco Day. At this very point I was a divemaster and although you would think you would have some knowledge about coral and what coral means for the ocean and the world as a dive professional, the opposite was true, I was clueless.


In the afternoon I joined them at a flower building workshop. I was feeling kid again for a few hours. Bending metal, sculpting with chicken wire and “paper mache’ing” with concrete and cloths.

Frank explains Emiel how we make a leaf.
Frank explains me how to make a leaf.

After the workshop Frank an I started chatting. I wanted to know more about coral and artificial reefs. I just had no clue yet what I could offer the project. Time passed by. Frank and Vera went back to Holland to raise money for the project. I started doing my instructor course and we kind of lost touch. Till in early February Frank and Vera came back to the island and I bumped into them again during another Eco Day. I joined another workshop and I guess I had some smart ideas how to improve the project. That’s when things started to roll.

Seccond flower of CoralGarden build.
Seccond flower of CoralGarden build.

Since then I started to become more and more part of CoralGardening. I have a background in Engineering and Frank and Vera on regular basis throw constructional problems at me what is fun for me to solve. We have hours long brainstorm sessions about how we can improve the project and what we can change. At the same time Frank and Vera educate me more about coral and building artificial reefs.

Emiel and Frank are dsicussing how to build a foot for a flower.
Me and Frank are dsicussing how to build a foot for a flower.

But not just that. Frank and Vera inspired people to think further. Building an artificial reef is cool and fun to do, but it is very small scale. In my opinion this is not the only solution to solve bigger issues like coral bleaching and climate change. Inspired by the flower building project, I started thinking about what I can do to improve our ocean. Personally I think that awareness, educating people about what is happening to our ocean and our world is important. Based on that thought I’m now working on setting up a presentation for Thai school kids to educate them what is happening with our ocean. And hopefully soon I will be giving this presentation throughout different cities in Thailand!

What inspires you? What can you do to improve our ocean? Think about it for 5 min. Talk about it with your friends. It doesn’t have to be big, every little bit helps!!

Thanks Frank and Vera for all the fun and inspiration so far. Hopefully much more to come!!