Reef Conservation Program Internship

Day 3

Today was day 3 of the internship with New Heaven Reef Conservation Program. Each day I am learning and seeing more than I could have hoped for. This morning we visited the Save Koh Tao “office” which is essentially a piece of land that people utilize in a number of ways that help the island’s ecosystems or communities.

Just next to us was a small group of veterinarians and volunteers who were conducting a TNR (trap-neuter-release) program for cats and dogs around the island. I was THRILLED to see this work and was sure to speak with the staff members and thank them for their incredible dedication.

Our team worked on structuring some artificial reefs. We cut metal rods, adjusted the placement of metal rods so as to give better support to the structure. I even got to have a try at welding. I can’t say that will be my next job — I am not a power tools girl — but it was certainly fun! By the end of our work, the structures were looking a lot more sound.

In the afternoon we went to Ao Leuk dive site in the south east corner of the island. The amount and size of the artificial reefs there was incredible! I had never seen anything like it, and will never forget it. Everything from long corridors of stacked concrete blocks to small spiraling structures looking similar to Christmas trees. It was truly inspiring to see the extensive work that has been done on this tiny island to save our coral reefs. After taking a tour through the artificial reefs, I even got to attach some corals. It was an intricate process that was quite difficult to do underwater, but with some much appreciated help — and a lot of patience — I was able to successfully attach a few small corals! I hope they make it! :)

Some fish highlights: Multiple groupers, emerald wrasse, rose-breasted wrasse, long-finned angel fish.

Dive details: Salt Water, ~30 feet, Vis ~20+m (great). Wore a skin, 16 lbs

Welding the artificial reef structure
The team working hard to move this structure over a bit.
Successful corals growing on the cement structures. — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — Rose Breasted Wrasse in the Christmas-tree like structure
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — -Mini-coup making a great reef structure
Frog kicking out way through the concrete corridor
Even the mooring line was teeming with life!