Students at York Askham Bryan College should definitely take advantage of overseas study trips and in particular studying Marine Conservation in Thailand.
Whilst on Koh Tao island we learnt in a relaxing outdoor classroom about the artificial reef systems, what a coral really is, plastic pollutants that are affecting biodiversity and the longevity it takes for coral to form and grow back from bleaching; all whilst on a paradise island taught by extremely intelligent and enthusiastic biologists.
They really did a great job – sea slugs are just slugs in the sea right? Well, after a lecture from Rahul Mehrotra he makes you want to know more, who knew there was a sea slug named after Pikachu? Their passion and enthusiasm really makes you feel the efforts they’ve gone through to get where they are now.
Some have discovered species yet to be explained by science and others have published books and articles that can be bought and read by anyone. Everything in sea water is way more exotic looking and I’ll never look at another nudibranch the same again. They were all so inspiring!
This opportunity has made me so grateful for so many things. If it wasn’t for Askham Bryan I wouldn’t have:
- Been involved in collecting valuable data for the New Heaven Reef Conservation Program
- Swam with elephants
- Got a tattoo
- Learnt about the Hellfire Pass or visited the river Kwai
- Eaten a scorpion
- Acquired my open water and advanced PADI diving qualifications
- Got into meditation and yoga
- Had an in-depth conversation with some Thai monks
- Got a Thai massage
- Made friends with every cat in the whole of Thailand
- Seen some amazing Temples
- Or seen how versatile and beautiful the coral reef systems were in Koh Tao
However, none of this would have been possible without Flooglebinder.
I highly recommended them as an organisation. Travel plans were arranged with organised, comfortable transport.
A huge thank you the Brad Frankle who made the experience much more memorable. He did such an amazing job of touring us around Thailand. His knowledge and experience of the Thai culture was incredible and made us more excited for everyday. Introducing us to food we never thought of even trying, such as sheep stomach… which actually tasted actually somewhat pleasant (minus the texture). Learning Thai phrases and using them to locals was subtlety rewarding when they acknowledged your efforts to speak their language.
I’m so glad I got to experience the pleasure of diving and what a special sport it is. This can open up so many opportunities for the future, I can’t wait to go diving again. I never thought I would enjoy it on my first day as it was extremely overwhelming and thought it’d never be ‘my thing’. With some extra help in the pool and 1 on 1 support, I achieved everything I came for and more. The instructors were so patient and proud of all their students it was so nice learning with them! I gained more and more excitement with every dive, seeing a blue spotted sting ray and then an octopus, a giant grouper to a black tip reef shark. I just couldn’t wait and see what I would see next.
We all had such a laugh and all got through some personal struggles which I’m very proud of everyone for. If someone was having a particularly challenging day, everyone would be so supportive and encouraging. It was such a joy getting to know this small group of people. I’d do it all again!