Time to 'sea the bigger picture'

2020-02-11 06:00
Exploring the deep

Exploring the deep

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Despite only starting at the age of 33, Shamier Magmoet was able to launch #SeaTheBiggerPicture Ocean Initiative aimed at ocean conservation and is now committed to educating others too. 

Growing up in the Cape Flats, Magmoet wasn’t exposed to many things but, four years ago, he was given the opportunity to experience what many others never will.

“We have this mindset that diving isn’t for us – that it’s for a particular race and the privileged. One of our biggest problems is access,” said Magmoet.

Pointing to a spot in Simon’s Town, he said: “Before I started the #SeaTheBiggerPicture Ocean Initiative about four years ago, I came here for my first dive. Junaid Petersen, who is now one of my directors, invited me. That’s when I slapped on a mask for the first time and saw the beauty of the ocean.” 

He said he was very scared. “I just kept on hearing the theme song of Jaws playing. Once I relaxed, I started opening my eyes and noticing the beauty of the ocean.”

Under the waves, #SeaTheBiggerPicture volunteers a

On one of his first few dives, he met Sharon Lee Martin from Trail Freedivers. She taught him about the ocean and its creatures. Once he was able to appreciate the wonders of the ocean, he decided to get others interested.

“I brought my nieces and their school friends to the ocean every weekend and taught them how to snorkel in the tidal pools. Seeing the look on their faces was priceless,” he said.

During two years of connecting with like-minded people, Magmoet met John and Daniela Daines of Cape Town Freediving who put him through their freediving courses for free.

He also completed courses on snorkelling safety and piqued the interests of other organisations and was able to launch the initiative in collaboration with Chris Krauss.

With the help of a number of organisations and other initiatives, they were able to launch three key programmes.

The team hosts corporate engagements and school talks to educate the public. 

Exploring the deep

Marine biologist Mike Barron from Cape Research and Diver Development (RADD) often joins the educational talks. 

Beach clean-up events are one of their biggest programmes. 

“We have live puppet shows, a jellyfish talk and a recycling run by False Bay Trading’s Yolanda Valentine. She talks to the kids about recycling. We have sorting stations to teach kids what can be recycled and what can’t,” he explained.

“Then we have volunteers who go through the trash meticulously to find all the little animals and put them back in the water. They clean harbours too, collect data on the top 12 trash items found, and also check off their brand tally sheet. 

“It’s a sheet which says, ‘Come on guys, take responsibility for your items. Look at how much of your trash is out there.’ ”

Defenders of the Blue, a full-year programme, takes on 24 kids. The carefully planned curriculum was written by Argonaut Science.

The learners will be chosen from Rylands High School and Fairmount High School, 12 from each.

The community comes together regularly for beach c

Magmoet encourages all to get involved with the beach clean-ups or other programmes to #SeaTheBiggerPicture.

  •   Visit https://seathebiggerpicture.org/ or @STBPOceanInitiative on Facebook for more information
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