My journey to Palau in February was my third expedition with The Hydrous!
Every expedition is unique, but the energy and inspiration that drives these incredible teams is surely a common factor. Not to mention the connections with the local communities.
This time I took part in the making of a ground-breaking underwater 360º VR film, which will be presented at various film festivals and used for Hydrous educational programs. By offering a fully immersive experience, everyone will be able to really feel what it's like to be underwater, surrounded by fish, corals, and all sorts of ocean wonders.
The mission of The Hydrous is to create "open access oceans" so that all people may explore, understand, and engage with marine environments, which are severely threatened by climate change and human impacts.
But it’s more than that. On every expedition there is also a huge focus on community. In Palau we had the opportunity to meet the Heirs To Our Oceans, a group of high school kids involved in ocean conservation and activism. We also sponsored two kids’ diving certifications, visited a school to present our work with coral reefs, organized a snorkeling trip for Palauan youth, and participated in a screening of Chasing Coral at Palau High School.
It’s amazing to see what the new generations are doing and how motivated they are to make the world a better place. The enthusiasm of these kids is so inspiring and it’s so great to be able to help support their work. It really takes so little to do so much.
Personally, I feel particularly enriched by this expedition. I witnessed ocean spectacles that I had never seen, and was able to do so with a fantastic team of people, all driven by the same cause: to “enhance awareness of ocean science, and expand the understanding of beautiful and threatened marine ecosystems”.
I started with The Hydrous in 2015 in Bali, there we built an underwater robot, learned photogrammetry and connected with the Indonesian community. That was my first volunteering expedition and it changed my life, I discovered an entirely new way of traveling and diving, and there was no going back.
In 2016 I joined up with The Hydrous in the Maldives. There we focused on science, biology and photogrammetry. We also experimented new technologies, using 360º VR underwater cameras and drones to do aerial photogrammetry of the islands.
I am a scuba diver instructor, and the reason why I decided to become an instructor was to be able to show family and friends what a wonderful world there is underwater. The core of The Hydrous is ‘open access oceans’ – with this organization I can fulfil my dream, going beyond just teaching how to “be” underwater, but also explaining what is happening to our oceans and hopefully finding ways to make a change. This has been an incredible journey with The Hydrous, and a journey I intend to continue.