In 2017 I was hired to work at the Save Our Seas (SOS) Shark Education Centre, Kalk Bay, South Africa. What a dream come true!! For me South Africa is one of the most beautiful places on the Planet and to make it even more special, it’s one of the best places to see the magnificent great white shark, I was so excited to go there.
The Save Our Seas Shark Education Centre is a place of wonder for kids and anyone with an interest in sharks. It boasts a collection of state of the art exhibits that ensure adults and children learn about sharks in an immersive environment, stimulating all senses through play and exploration. Every day we had an influx of school visits and visiting tourists all eager to learn about the sharks found in the area, each one left the centre feeling inspired to care about sharks and their ocean habitats.
The centre also organised outreach events, holiday clubs, marine awareness camps and the Marine Explorers club. The Marine Explores club was extremely special to me and so were the kids that were involved in the club. Each year the Shark Centre works with children from informal settlements close to Cape Town’s False Bay coastline. The aim of the program is to introduce students to the wonders of the ocean through snorkelling and surfing activities. For those children that don’t understand the importance of the ocean, by teaching them to surf, which is something that every kid wants to learn in South Africa, we first we began to foster a love and respect for the ocean and to expose them to fun experiences where they were able to learn about the fascinating marine life they encounter. The next step was to learn how to skin dive in the kelp forests.
I remember the first day we took them, all squealing and petrified of what was down there in the dark. It wasn’t long before they were duck diving, eager to find small catsharks and octopi. This course and these kids have been my inspiration to start my own marine education program, they surprised me so much and I was so proud of them and their achievements. From a group of 10 year olds with very little interest in the ocean they turned into a group of 10 year olds full of wonder and excitement every time they put on their masks and snorkels. For me this was one of the most rewarding and emotional experiences of my life.
I was part of a team that helps disadvantaged children experience the wonders of the ocean and it is so important that more children are provided with these opportunities. It is part of my vision to offer these experiences to local children here in Mexico so they will grow up with an understanding of the importance of the marine world and perhaps one day be marine biologists. If you would like to know how you can help to sponsor a local child please get in touch with us at ……