Written By Katie, Latitudes ’19 Thailand

When I first arrived on Koh Tao I couldn’t believe how beautiful it was. The water was a beautiful light blue, I couldn’t believe I would be spending the next 3 months here. For the first week I got my diving courses done, going to a max of 30 meters and looking at the giant old war ship they have, and even getting to go on a night dive. After that week I got to join the rest of the crew in conservation.

Everyday in conservation we get to do something new, from EMP serves to restorations, to drupella collections. We set off our mornings packing everyones gear to get them ready for the day then we listen to new and exciting lectures on all the amazing things that can be found in Thai waters. From clams, to corals to algae and the best of it all, sea slugs. We then head out on the boat for our daily dive. My favorite dive projects are drupella and restoration. Drupella is a invasive snail that has a high abundance on the island of Koh Tao and they feed on coral, mostly auropora. We go out with our bottles and try to weave our hands through the weaving coral to collect as many drupella as we can. Unfortunately, we do have to bring them back to the shore and kill them, it’s sad to kill the snails but it feels good to know you are helping the coral. In restoration our goal is to restore some of the coral and hope that they will have a better chance of survival. We collect small coral fragments that we find along the sea floor and we hitch them to either artificial reef structures or large dead coral. This gave the new coral a solid place to try to start growing again.

Everyday I learn more and more about the conservation of our oceans and especially our coral reefs. Im so glad to be able to work with such amazing and intelligent people and I’ve loved every minute of being here.