Written By Rachel, Latitudes ’19 Thailand
Upon arrival to the island of Koh Tao I was absolutely exhausted. It took about two days to get here, and by the time I got settled in at the New Heaven dorms I laid down and slept for a solid fourteen hours. When I woke, I couldn’t believe this was where I would be for the next two months. The island is so green and lush and the sounds from the birds and various animals are constantly playing.
New Heaven is a great organization. Days at the school are relatively consistent in the sense that I start work every day at 9 AM preparing dive gear for students. We then have a lecture every day on different subjects of Marine ecology. It’s so interesting and I’m learning so much not only about the oceans but about our environment as a whole. After the lecture we go on our dive usually doing restoration work which consists of tying corals onto artificial reef structures to promote growth or taking surveys of reef health which can include studying the fish, invertebrate species and the coral. The dive usually lasts anywhere from 1 to 2 hours, diving is amazing, I’m loving it more and more everyday. Then after work interns (which is me and others) put away the dive gear and go home. We usually eat out for every meal because it’s just as cheap as cooking and the food is so so good.
On weekends I take care of baby turtles with a turtle nursery project linked with our dive shop. We check if they have infections, feed them and monitor their growth. At twenty-three centimeters we will release them into the ocean! We also go to Shark Bay, the bay next to ours, to go snorkeling. We usually find some Black Tip Reef Sharks and green turtles. It’s incredible to see them in their natural habitat.
I love being here, I feel so lucky and deeply appreciate being able to help our oceans while I can.