Five new PADI Open Water Divers, three new PADI Advanced Open Water and Deep Divers, seven new Coral Conservation Divers and four new Deptherapy Education Professionals… that’s the tally of success from Team Deptherapy’s latest Red Sea expedition.
At the end of May 2018, UK scuba diving rehabilitation charity Deptherapy held it’s largest ever expedition to the Egyptian Red Sea. A team of 25, including 17 wounded in service veterans, all suffering from life changing physical and / or mental injuries, travelled to Roots Dive Camp in El Quseir as part of Team Deptherapy.
The expedition also marked the beginning of Deptherapy’s ‘Protecting Our Oceans’ project – an ongoing campaign to raise awareness of the fragility of the world’s oceans, ensuring that each Deptherapy Programme Member ‘gives back’ to the marine environment that has so helped in their rehabilitation.
During the expedition, all Programme Members took part in a ‘Dive Against Debris’ underwater and beach clean up, successfully removing over 1 kilometre of entangled fishing line.
Seven of the Programme Members also undertook a coral reef surveying and conservation course, led by Tom Dallison, Head of Science at Coral Cay Conservation. The aim of the five-day course was to develop skills in underwater environmental survey techniques and species identification, in order to prepare the divers for an expedition to Truk Lagoon this August.
Tom Dallison said:
“Deptherapy’s Protecting Our Oceans project now has seven passionate and knowledgeable ambassadors. In times where the future of our coral reefs and Oceans can look bleak, the efforts taken by environmental stewards, and the wider public, to actively protect these systems is critical. With an increased affinity to the marine world and a new perspective on the complexity and beauty of coral reefs, those heading to Truk are in good hands. I am truly grateful for the week spent with the Deptherapy team. I wish them all the best for the future and have no doubt that they will triumph in Truk Lagoon.”
Team Deptherapy was led by Deptherapy Ambassador and newly appointed Trustee, former Royal Engineer Ben Lee. Double-amputee Ben is currently training to be a Divemaster and recently won the Royal Foundation’s Endeavour Fund ‘Recognising Achievement’ Award.
The charity is now focusing on the build up to the Truk Lagoon expedition, which will take place from 3 to 17 August 2018. This major expedition is funded by the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s 2016 Libor Fund.
Ben Lee is already working with other expedition members to formulate the plan for mapping the wreck of the former Naval Tanker, the Shinkoku Maru, in what will be a key environmental exercise and the next stage in the Protecting Our Oceans project.
With applications for places on the Deptherapy Programme at an unprecedented high, the charity also intends to undertake a further expedition to the Red Sea in October 2018.