Red Sea May 2018

a deptherapy blog

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22 May2018

Roots Expedition May 2018 • Day #5

by Mark Moore | 22nd May 2018

Last night we had an excellent briefing about our Project Aware’s Dive Against Debris. We learnt about the location where all the expedition members and those of us on the Pros’ Course would dive with the intention of clearing fishing line and plastics on an area of reef.

Due to the numbers on the programme we would work as two groups with one group diving first and the other group later.  We travelled to the town of El Quseir just down the road from our base at Roots Red Sea and arrived at a jetty where we were divided into two boats, the first a RIB and the second a small hard bottomed boat. The boats delivered us to the area of reef we were to clear and we rolled backwards in the sea. 

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Watching a bilateral amputee, perfectly buoyant in the sea cutting fishing line from the reef, says everything about Deptherapy and the willingness of these young men to give back. We had been told how to avoid the hooks and how to roll the line onto wooden pegs. The reef was covered in fishing line and we removed a substantial amount. Under the supervision of Roots’ resident marine biologist, the amount of recovered line will be managed on our final day at Roots.

We returned to Roots’ beach restaurant for lunch and then, after kitting up, it was down to the beach for a photoshoot of the whole expedition team with the Deptherapy banner displayed in front of us. Then, we all dived down to a statue at about 20 metres where the photoshoot was repeated.

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During the evening instructors meeting we discussed the funding challenges that Deptherapy faces. A huge part of what makes this charity so successful is the process of continuing education, providing a structure and goal setting for individual programme members. That process comes at a financial cost and as Deptherapy’s reputation grows the number of veterans applying to join the programme is rising exponentially with demand outstripping the ability to supply.

Underpinning the process of continuing education is a requirement for programme members to start purchasing their own scuba equipment and to dive independently of the charity. The charity has stressed that there is a life cycle to the scuba programmes that they can provide to programme members. That cycle is based on a two year programme ending with an expedition such as a week’s diving on a Red Sea Liveaboard.

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The Trustees asked Simon Reed (Associate Director Programme Member Liaison), Ben Lee (soon-to-be Board member), and Chris Middleton, to meet with all expedition members individually to discuss their expectations of the charity and the charity’s expectations of them. The aim was to focus on the realities of what the charity could offer and the abilities of individuals to progress through the system.

As I spend more time with the Deptherapy Team, it is obvious that the charity is committed to learning and development and has policies, procedures, 5 year strategies and annual business plans that are as good, if not better than many successful businesses.

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The full expedition meeting was as enthusiastic as ever. It is still hard to comprehend how the programme members find it so easy to be absolutely honest in front of their colleagues.

After dinner, there were three presentations. The first presentation was by James Wilding who had never given a presentation in his life but who had put together a stunning presentation on Project Aware supported by PowerPoint and videos. This was followed by ‘Aquatic Life on the Roots’ House Reef by Michael Hawley, and finally the dive briefing for the next day, given by Deptherapy Ambassador and PADI Amassadiver Chris Middleton, on the wreck of the Salem Express. 

Chris is a talisman for the charity. It was Chris’ enthusiasm to qualify as a PADI Open Water diver that led to Richard Cullen developing the concept of adaptive teaching, ultimately leading to the creation of the charity Deptherapy & Deptherapy Education.

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