EVS Project MENPA: Blog (3) – The adventures of 20000 Leagues: Silba

by: Carolina DelaHoz Schilling

 The island of Silba is somewhat of a legend. The fact that we were going to spend two weeks there was causing some serious excitement amongst us and for good reason: Besides enjoying some of the more beautiful and peaceful views in Croatia, we were going to host two groups of students (BIUS) from the University of Zagreb to undertake some research and to go diving. Our preferred combination. Even though proper fall temperatures had finally reached this corner of the world and Bura was causing us some head scratching, we managed to squeeze in our whole program: Daily dives in search for even the most well hidden organisms off the “three reefs”, three tiny islands near Silba that are planned in as future Marine Protected Areas, research dives testing a protocol named “Squid Pop” in order to monitor predatory pressure near the coast of Silba.

Prepreparation for Squid-pop set up (credit: Rita Guić)

In between research we did a one-day beach clean-up and litter monitoring action, which turned out to be a great success thanks to the invaluable help of some mindful local islanders. But not just the daytime brought plenty of fun, also the nights were filled with the amazing smell of garlic bread and freshly caught fish roasting on a barbecue.

After the succesful clean up and beach monitoring in Lojišće Bay

If all of the above didn´t yet feel special enough, we were also able to celebrate the quarter of a century birthday of a very special person within our organization: Barbara! We kicked of the day with a homemade pancake and nutella breakfast and finished it with some tasty layered chocolate cake. Last but not least, we celebrated another huge success: An underwater photo exhibition, which was set up beautifully on trees within a small park in the center of the town and attracted an unexpected amount of curious visitors. Some of the photographs exposed some of the human inflicted threats to marine wildlife, such as plastic pollution and ghost nets, hence we hope that we were able not only to offer an insight into the amazing world that lies beneath the surface of the island, but also to raise some much needed awareness among our guests.

“Light and darkness in the seascape” photo exhibit

All in all, the magic of Silba and its peaceful vibes left us feeling refreshed and motivated to return to the office and get started on some new and exciting projects to keep protecting our beloved sea and all its inhabitants!

About the author : Carolina is a volunteer from Spain who came to the organization under the EVS (European voluntary service) framework to assist with our research and educational activities in 2018. She completed a BSc in Biology in 2015 and has since then focused on gaining experience in the marine biology sector. She has worked with several NGO’s focused on shark research and outreach and became a PADI Divemaster in 2016. She has incorporated an educational project on sharks into our outreach program.

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