17 senior students from classes 11-13 and 5 lucky teachers flew to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, off the coast of Myanmar, for what turned out to be one of the best school trips ever.
We landed in Port-Blair, the capital city of the Andamans on Sunday afternoon, and caught our first glimpse of the turquoise-blue sea. The next day, we took the ferry to Havelock, one of the smaller islands where we were to spend 4 days. Havelock is a small paradise of white sandy beaches, palm trees and crystal clear water. Our resort was situated right on the beach and served fresh seafood every day. Needless to say, it wasn't easy when we had to leave!
The purpose of the trip was for students to complete their open water diving course and become independent divers at a maximum depth of 18 meters. This involved learning how to assemble the equipment, coping with emergency situations, keeping neutral buoyancy, and communicating underwater. Students also learnt about underwater life, recognizing different types of fish and corals and understanding why certain species are endangered. They even received a short seminar by a marine biologist on aquatic life and took part in a project which involved counting certain species of fish.
We saw Moorish idols and clown fish, lion fish and scorpion fish, sea slugs and sea cucumbers, whip coral and flower coral, lobsters, shrimps, anchovies, barracudas, moray eels, anemones, blue-spotted stingrays... The list is long. Mr Edward even spotted 3 sharks! Most afternoons were spent animatedly sharing about what we had seen out there!
Our last day was spent back in Port-Blair where we visited the cellular jail and learnt about the Andamans at the time of the British Empire. Port-Blair was used as a maximum security prison and a certain number of Freedom Fighters were imprisoned there.
I think it is safe to say that everybody (and not least the teachers!) had a wonderful time and we are all hoping that other diving opportunities will present themselves in the future so we can take our newly-acquired skills further.