The Island Explorer Program (October 2018)

At the start of the season, about 14 students from an international school in Mumbai visited Chidiyatapu for the Island Explorer program that is jointly run by Lacadives and Reefwatch Marine Conservation. This included a diving segment, which was conducted by Lacadives  

Einstein talked about reading fairy tales to kids:  For indirect moral lessons. For improving their imaginations. To create a sense of wonder by making them step into a realm entirely different from their own reality. 

Taking these students diving was a similar attempt at creating that wonder and imparting those lessons. 
One needs to hold a certain degree of appreciation for and curiosity of the natural world, which in turn generates love. And we protect what we love! Love generates compassion, which, single handedly, can be a motivator for creating change in the world. It was refreshing to see the students' excitement and eagerness to dive. Fear (of the wild, of the sea, of the unknown) is a learned response, and is not as strong in children as it is in adults. 

And so, the students were taken at the start, as civilization vanished with one deflation. Parrotfish, triggerfish, wrasses, stingrays, snappers and more, much more caught their imagination. SCUBA diving is extraordinary. We are fortunate to be able to help others see and appreciate the ocean, and to help them get out of their comfort zones and feel that sense of wonder that we feel on every dive. 

It was so gratifying to know that, to the students, the ocean is now far more colorful and complex than the occasional "Nemo" (Clownfish) and "Dory" (Blue Tang). It's a system, one that is inextricably linked to the land, and to us, and is just as fragile, flawed, and mercurial as any human. 

-Shaurya Tarni, PADI MSDT