Pippa Hayter, WCA Intern
28/10/2016: Spreading The Word
The last few weeks have been busy with our usual boat trips continuing to take people out on our Wildlife cruises; what I have learnt about our cruises is that no two cruises are the same and I think that’s why you could certainly never get bored onboard a Raggy charters cruise. Over the past few weeks the cruises have continued to provide spectacular dolphin encounters each different to the one before; whether that be due to the behaviour of the animal, location of the encounter or the weather on the trip, each experience is as exciting as the first.
As well as running tours Raggy charters has a heavy focus on outreach and education and the past two weeks have been focused on doing just that. The first opportunity for this was Marine week, this was from the 18th – 21st of October. Marine week was held at SAMREC, which is a marine rehabilitation and education centre dedicated to the rescue, recovery and release of injured and or stranded sea birds with a particular focus on African penguins. Marine weeks’ focus was to educate local children about the marine environment. There were eight stations which each gave a 15-minute talk about a certain topic relating to a different aspect of the marine environment. At the end of the talk the children would get a stamp in their activity booklets and if they all got the stamps they got a prize. The stations ranged from scuba companies to ladies that teach children to make up-cycled products from recycled material. We were also fortunate enough to have a stool in conjunction with South African National Parks.
Our 15 minute presentation spent the first ten minutes talking about the unique marine life in Algoa Bay and why it needs to be protected, which left the second five minutes to talk to the learners about marine litter, particular ghost gear. I used a small piece of ghost gear I found washed up on the beach to demonstrate to the learners how uncomfortable being entangled was and then we showed them the story of Netty the net. Netty is a cartoon that shows what happens to a net when it is thrown or lost overboard (which can be watched on the WCA website). The children reacted well to Netty with one asking if the voice in the video was Emma Watson! The fact that they had learned about the creatures and other marine litter that was involved in Netty also helped to bring the point home. The #neteffect message and Netty reached around 250 children that week and for me that was a huge success.
The following week we also took part in Transport week which involved children learning about different methods of transport, one of which was our boat. So last week involved taking out children and adults that had never been on a boat before and I must say the reaction was priceless. Watching the nervousness turn to excitement on the children’s faces was a wonderful thing and then when the dolphins arrived the excitement reached a whole other level. So although the net effect is reaching a global audience with our tours of only 20 often having people from over five different countries; it felt equally important to educate the local community about our seas and oceans and why taking care of them is so important.