I AM WATER / MMF Marine Ranger Training in Mozambique
We protect what we love…
I AM WATER Trust teamed up with Marine Megafauna Foundation to train the Bazaruto Archipelago National Park Marine Rangers in Mozambique earlier this month. Dr Andrea Marshall and her team organised an amazing week of educational lectures about the unique habitat and marine life in the Bazaruto Archipelago National Park while I AM WATER got to spend time inspiring their unexplored aquatic abilities and teaching them some freediving and snorkeling. Our goal was that by the end of our week together was for the Rangers to be able to snorkel and see the incredible creatures they work towards protecting.
The Marine Megafauna Foundation brought together
Rangers and the park’s head administrator. All of the rangers grew up within walking
distance of the beach and many grew up on the islands of the Bazaruto
Archipelago themselves, but only half of them had ever worn a mask and snorkel
before and none had ever tried to dive down. The marine life and ecosystems
they were training to protect were familiar to them, but until these training
sessions the rangers have never had access to educational workshops from a
world renowned marine biologist like Dr Marshall or enough in-water training to
safely explore their blue backyard.
In our first training sessions we worked with the rangers to help them feel comfortable in the water and enjoy the ocean, teaching them the basics of breathing and equalization. We snorkeled sandy Dolphin Beach, protected from the wind and swell as the rangers learned how to use their snorkels and masks for the first time.
While the eight rangers who knew the basics of swimming got used to their snorkels and masks, our other four were taught Swimming 101 by the enthusiastic Nemos Pequenos Instructors.
While the process of learning to swim takes more time and training than the week we were allotted, they made substantial headway towards learning to swim – and getting inspired to spend more time in the water. Park Administrator Ricardina Marusse said: ‘I’m so glad I’m finally learning to swim, I’ve wanted to do this all my life. I’m just hoping it all goes well!’ And of course it did! And freediving legend Enzo Molinari look alike Hélder Micas says ‘I feel really good! For the first time with the help of these professionals I can learn things I wasn’t able to before!’
By the end of the week together, Hanli & Peter taught the rangers how to equalize and dive down to ten meters, the importance of never diving alone and how to buddy dive as well as showing them the beauty of the marine landscapes they are protecting. It was a great privilege to be part of this training offered by the Marine Megafauna Foundation and we look forward to more projects together in the future!
Thank you to Pestana Bazaruto Lodge for hosting us and Marine Megafauna Foundation for the great work you do in the region, we can't wait to work with you again!
To see a short clip about Andrea’s work in Bazaruto and the Ranger Training, click here.