|Milky Way hanging over Paul's head|
One of the strangest things about working and living in Cambodia is the amount of holidays one gets in a year. Had a five day break a month ago and wanted to try diving the Cambodian coast again (dove Sihanoukville once in 2010, a three day/ ten dive adventure). Made several inquiries with dive shops around Sihanoukville and stumbled upon Marine Conservation Cambodia, a site I remember to have passed by frequently when I was new to diving (found it way cool). Sent out an email inquiry about being a volunteer photographer over the long work holiday and after a quick conversation with Paul Ferber, the founder and brainchild of MCC, found myself headed to Kep, which was now his new base of operations. Kep intrigued me since from Paul's description, his new office was teeming with macro marine life. It also had an interesting past as it used to be the coastal town where the affluent Khmer's used to build summer homes, till Pol Pot got to power and grabbed everything... but that my friends is another story...
|interacting with the local kids|
It was time to do my dives and tried to find seahorses, which was documented to be quite prolific off Cambodian coastlines. It was quite unfortunate though I arrived when the Vietnamese trawlers decided to draw their nets causing water visibility to drop to a meter at best. Another interesting fact about waters around Kep is that the coasts are a flat 5 meters deep through and through. Did a 2 hour dive despite the almost zero vis conditions and found the usual muck dive subjects which were Crabs, Sea moths, Dragonets, Flounders but didn't manage to see Seahorses. Because of the turbidity, decided to focus taking images of what happens around Paul's island topside.
|young ocean explorers gearing up at the dive shack|
When I arrived, there were ten female teens from different countries and a young guy from New York, all coming to live the island life and learn more about how to protect and keep our oceans healthy for future generations. Personally, diving took a backseat and it was back to Sea Camp for me which I found highly enjoyable. Below is a photo essay of what its like to be an ocean volunteer for Marine Conservation Cambodia.
|Volunteer Camilla takes a breather after an island to island swim|
within the jungle, Paul's daughter left, Sinead right
|sunset beach volleyball keep the guys and gals sexy|
|a program designed for future ocean heroes|
|The kitchen, serving a fusion of Khmer and French cuisine|
|back to school|
pleasantly genuine island style accommodations
fakers, stay away or Mr T will get you
|see the milky way at midnight|
Left: Meet Paul, founder of Marine Conservation Cambodia
(and yes, that shooting star..photo to the right... was real)
contact Paul Ferber +855-1671-5444