The majority of students in our MSc program on marine resource management is a diving fanatic. One of them, for instance, did an internship in Madagascar at Blue Ventures, an NGO that does research on the status and value of marine ecosystems in Madagascar and Belize and that offers volunteer work (i.e. to pay them to do work for them) to do dive surveys. Another student conducted a survey among divers in the Dutch Caribbean to estimate their willingness to pay for diving there. Diving is a major source of income of many marine conservation areas, especially coral reefs. So I figured I should at least know what it's like underwater. Last weekend I did a discovery dive with Jacobs Diving in the Vinkeveense Plassen to experience just that. (OK, to be really honest, I figured it would make a nice birthday present for Monique, who told me before she would like to try diving.)
|Photo taken by Jacob Van Velsen|
I can now understand what attracts my students in diving: in fact, I'm considering taking a PADI course myself. It's a cliche, but there is a whole world down there and the experience is almost extraterrestrial. And this was just the Vinkeveense Plassen!