I have mentioned the invitation from the JCI’s Manila for me and Ellie to come as guest speaker to the Sea of Life Project in Davao, now is the time to actually start putting the Artificial Reef Domes in the water.
We left the Vicente Hotel at 8.15 an, should have been 7.30am but things got a bit delayed for a change and we drove to SASA Wharf where we would catch the boat to the Domes Deployment site.
I was a bit surprised to see all of the 51 domes sitting on the wharf and not on a boat where they should have been by this time. Our boat was ready and waiting but most of the people in the party had not yet arrived! As it turned out we had 3 x 100 person capacity boats at our disposal for the trip for around 60 people and domes which was a bit much but no problem for me!
Two boats set sail for the deployment site while the other stayed behind to get the domes loaded along with the divers, once loaded, they followed.
As we were well ahead, we had a bit of a tour of the Samal Island Waters and once the Domes arrived we all met up in one place where we had a short program prior to deploying the domes!
I, along with a few other people were asked to say a few words about the project and once the formalities were finished we headed of to deploy the domes but unfortunately instead of 51, only 10 arrived on site as the ships captain was afraid of over loading his boat, anyway, 10 is better than none.
The site was marked with GPS and was supposed to have marker buoys marking the position where the domes would be deployed but this was not the case, To make matters worse, we were not allowed to drop the anchor as the area was in a Marine Protected Area so we had to reposition the boat after each time a dome was deployed!
With this being the first time that domes have been deployed in the area nobody really had any idea of what was happening and it took a little time to get the first domes in the water but after the first few the rest went in easy!
Once the 10 domes were deployed we left the area to a place where we would have lunch, this created a problem as it was a very low tide and we had to wade into shore getting wet to the waist but I will admit that the lunch was well worth it!
After the lunch meal we took an east boat ride back into SASA Wharf and got off the boat at a local village. The number of children in this village was huge, I thought it was a special day or something but the local guys told us that this was normal!
I asked about the rest of the domes and who would deploy them and I was assured that the local JCI’s would make sure that they will be deployed in the very near future, I really hope that happens as the Coral Reefs really need assistance and domes are a good way to do that!
Back at the hotel we got cleaned up and prepared to leave. We said our goodbyes and thanked the JCI’s for the invitation and then were picked up by a relation in a car and headed back home to Gen San. We had a very good and interesting weekend and are looking forward to assisting the JCI’s again on their next Artificial Reef Deployment as a part of their Sea of Life Project!
Chris Dearne, aka "GenSan Chris" is a long term resident of the Philippines. Chris has been living in General Santos City since 1992! Chris owns a hotel in General Santos called Cambridge Farm Hotel, and also the Cambridge Dive Center, formerly Tuna City Scuba Center. Chris' interests include Scuba Diving, Instructing, and Formula 1 Racing.