Shark Week 2017

This years shark week was more successful than we ever could have dreamed of. Not only did we have some incredible community involvement, but there were some fascinating presentations and some good old fashioned fun fund raising!

The week started with a bang – as you will know from our previous blog. We headed into the Komodo National Park with a boat full of youngsters who were excited to jump in the water for a snorkel.

As the week went on we found ourselves concentrating on beach cleans. Compared to other dive destinations, we have very little rubbish. But what we did find showed that if we do not make a dramatic change – now- then this could change. We did one clean on a small area of beach. It was not the amount of rubbish we found that was so heart-breaking, but what we found. Plastic, plastic and more plastic. What was so enraging was what so much of this plastic did not have to be used in the first place. We found a staggering 633 single use plastic cups. These sealed cups are used by airplane companies, hotels and given away at official offices. You may not see it, but if these are not then disposed of properly they are ending up in our oceans and can cause harm to the marine life we love so dearly.

Not only did we do English lessons throughout the week, we also visited the school in the local village of Warloka. This was certainly one of the highlights of the week and we hope it is the start of a great relationship. We had several members of our dive crew and interns visit the school. They headed over and began the day with a clean up around the school grounds. After that, they gathered together and Dimas gave a presentation in Bahasa on Sharks, their biology and the threats they face. He began the presentation asking who was scared of sharks – they all raised their hands. By the end of the day we had managed to address this incorrect perception of sharks as aggressive man-eaters and none raised their hands when the same question was asked again. This is exactly what we are aiming to achieve – to get people to see sharks as the graceful and wonderful creatures that they are, rather than fearing them.

What was difficult for many staff was to see the condition of the school. They had few materials – no computers, no white boards and very few books. The work of the teachers is admirable and they try their hardest to educate with limited resources. They have a proposal and a plan for how they wish to improve the school, and Scuba Junkie will be looking into ways that they can support it.

After the shark presentation they headed to the beach in the village. They divided up into teams and collected trash from the waters edge. They collected a phenomenal amount of rubbish – over 300kg!! This was later then separated into recycling (58kg) and trash (244kg).

In the evenings we were lucky to have some great speakers who gave some fascinating and varied presentations. Rohan Perkins, one of the Directors of Scuba Junkie Komodo, gave an in depth presentation on the biology of sharks and the tragic threats that they face. More and more people are aware of the devastation that Shark Fin soup causes to the marine world, but there is still work to be done. Of course, we couldn’t have sharks in the lime light for the whole week. We had the lovely Lisa from the Marine Megafauna Foundation staying with us for the week, and she gave a great presentation on ‘The Secret Life of Manta Rays’. We also watched ‘BBC Sharks’ and ‘Racing Extinction’.

There is no doubt about it, awareness is increasing about sharks. As more people enter the world of diving, more people are understanding that these creatures are not man-eaters – just predators in their own world. This years shark week brought together a huge number of people in the community, and as mentioned we hope that these relationships will grow. We want to say a huge thank you to everyone that took part, and to the community of Warloka for welcoming us into their school and allowing us to work with them.


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