Red Sea May 2018

a deptherapy blog

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19 May2018

Roots Expedition May 2018 • Day #2

by Mark Moore | 19th May 2018

This is Deptherapy’s largest expedition and the best way to describe the activity is ‘buzzing’.  There are four courses being run during the expedition:

  1. A PADI Open Water Course introducing five new programme members to the world of scuba diving.
  2. A PADI Advanced Course for two programme members, followed by a Deep Course
  3. A Coral Conservation and Mapping Course for seven experienced programme members.
  4. The Deptherapy Education Professionals’ Course of which I am a part, attended by five divemasters or instructors.
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Significantly, the coral conservation programme is funded by the Chancellor of The Exchequers’ 2016 Libor Fund and is the build up to a major Expedition to Truk (Chuuk) Lagoon in August when the programme members will map one of the Japanese World War II wrecks. The team will report on the extent and health of the corals, as well as producing a report for the local authorities on the findings of the exercise.

Everything moves at a pace… today, programme members were either in the pool, in the Red Sea just across the road from the dive centre, or in the classroom learning about coral and aquatic life.

The Pros’ Course involves everyone in an exercise which is aimed to make the able bodied aware of how an easy everyday task can become hugely difficult if you have a disability.

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We were split into four groups. The first group were told they were a mix of paraplegics and tetraplegics, whilst the second group were given blacked out masks and told they were blind. The third group were told they had been involved in a chemical incident and could no longer speak, whilst the final group were told they had suffered traumatic head injuries and could no longer act on their own initiative but could complete directions given by others.
We were given 10 minutes to discuss how, in our individual groups, we thought we could complete the simple task of:

  1. Shaking hands with everyone else involved in the exercise
  2. Telling each individual our name
  3. Date of birth &
  4. Diving grade

After our 10 minute discussion we were allowed to discuss as the four groups how we would complete the exercise.  We then had 10 minutes to complete the exercise.

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We failed, but the instructors told us no one had every completed the task. It brought home starkly how as able-bodied people we take simple tasks for granted, yet introduce a level of disability and it becomes a real challenge.

Yet, when you hear that one of the programme members who lost his left arm above the elbow can tie up his necktie and do up his shoelaces unaided, you understand that the level of coping mechanisms is amazing.

After the exercise above, we headed to the classroom and were given an introduction to disability and perceptions of the disabled. This was very powerful and really is the cutting edge of thinking around physical and mental challenges.  

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Sitting in the classroom made me realise how Deptherapy has earned its worldwide reputation for excellence. I am a former soldier and seeing how these guys relate to each other is amazing; they refer to the charity as a family and two days into the week long programme the family nature of the charity just jumps out at you.

The temperature is in the high 30s Celsius and the instructional team ended our classroom work early and we went for a fun dive in the very inviting Red Sea.
Every evening the instructional team meet and discuss the day’s activities and how the programme members have coped, as well as any medical issues that have arisen.  There is then a meeting with all the programme members and a full and open discussion is encouraged.

After dinner there are presentations, some by the instructional team and some by programme members.  This evening we heard how the charity worked and what programme members could expect from the charity.  There was a presentation on the PADI Continuing Education programme, followed by an in depth discussion about mental illness and particularly PTSD.

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