From Greece to Bahamas – Black Point Cay
The otherwise friendly principal of Black Point Cay in the Bahamas looked at me firmly “…as long as the children don’t go into the ocean.” I was not surprised. Having traveled before in the Caribbean, I was aware that the locals have developed a deep fear of the sea, mainly because of cultural reasons. Knowing that the kids were super excited about the #SharkAware seminar, and the approaching #beachcleanup event, I felt a sudden urge to talk about the matchless beauty of the sea, the benefits of being in the water and the connection you fill with nature as you dive in the calm and safe deep waters… Instead I paused. I knew words would fail me. I had to find a different way. And I did.
I recorded a 45-minute video of my morning snorkeling. The colors of the deep ocean, the quietness, the rays of light as they invade the water, the calmness…as they watched the screen they saw the same person that was harmless in front of them, dive deep into the ocean to recover plastic bottles, trash, even toilet bowls. They looked at me in awe. “You know that I come from Greece, which is a beautiful country far-far away”, I started explaining. “I need to get to three different flights, every year, so that I can come here and make sure that the ocean is clean. But once I am here, I need your help to clean up the trash. I can’t clean the whole ocean by myself!”. I left that day knowing that I planted a seed in their little hearts.
The next day, the children were indeed eager to do the beach clean up with their teacher and Mrs Ida. They got excited every time they discovered a piece of garbage hidden in the sand and even competed over who would collect the greatest amount of trash.
After a while, I went into the water, started freediving and cleaning up underwater. The ocean was filled with trash and every time I came up to the surface to breathe, my net was packed with plastic bags, containers, metallic tubes, etc. The kids were shocked yet intrigued by my “discoveries” and by the time they finished with the beach clean-up, they all gathered on the dock inspecting me, waiting to get my trash to throw to the bucket but also make sure that I was safe and sound. Seeing my smile each time I resurfaced, feeling my pride as I watched them help me, triggered something. After only a couple of minutes, the kids were asking for gloves and started jumping in the sea with me! Suddenly everyone was in the water helping me, screaming with joy how they were no longer afraid!”
“Lead by example”, they say. And that I did. Blessed to have witness magic like that. Watch the video to get a glimpse of our trip and AllForBlue’s footprint at the Bahamas, Black Point Cay.
Many thanks to:
Alex Pantazis for editing our video
Dive Store Spiros Kartelias Free Dive for the gear
Project AWARE Foundation & PADI for the inspiration
and to all of you who support our cause #AllForBlue
#BeKindToSharks #SaveSharks #SayNoToSingleUsePlastic #PlasticOcean #Bahamas #BlackPointBahamas