An Interview with WiseOceans… Carmen Toanchina from Manta Watch Camp
From PR Manager to setting up a manta conservation organisation, how did Carmen do it? Find out from Carmen herself in this great interview. Carmen shows that enthusiasm and never giving up on your goals will lead to great things.
Name: Carmen Toanchina
Job Title: Project Leader & Co-founder Manta Watch Camp
Organisation: Manta Watch Camp (MWC)
- What inspired you to pursue a career in marine conservation?
After falling in love with diving and learning more and more about the challenges that face the ocean, I began to develop a deep interest in conservation. My curiosity towards helping aquatic life grew and grew and I wanted to dedicate my working life towards helping a habitat that had become my new home.
- What steps did you take/are you taking to achieve your career goals?
Furthering my training to Dive Instructor level and starting working with conservation organisations around the world made me realise that there is no better way to continue my career but by starting up my own conservation project where I can work towards protecting the aquatic life and teaching people on how to interact responsibly with the environment.
- How did you land your current job/position?
It has been a natural progression in my career, starting as a Dive Instructor moving on to Conservation projects and combining these two… which lead up to my long desired dream project of starting my own conservation research project in one of the most beautiful diving places in the world.
- Which part of your job do you enjoy the most?
Getting in the water to dive with manta rays, of course! I also love taking divers out for their first time to meet the manta rays. I love that moment when they come out from the dive and explain in detail the emotions they felt seeing these majestic creatures.
- Are there aspects of your position which make you feel that you are really ‘making a difference’?
Absolutely, everything we do in respect to teaching, promoting and sharing the love for the ocean is making a difference. Either it is on a small or large scale, either it is to one person or to a group of persons… every little effort counts!
- What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were starting out?
I wish I knew more about the aquatic life and the threats that the ocean faces in order to have started working earlier on marine conservation projects.
- Are there any skills you never thought you would need but did?
Back in the day I used to work as a PR Manager in an advertising company. I never thought that my PR skills will come in handy now when I have to promote not only the project Manta Watch Camp but the manta rays to the world!
- What advice would you give to budding marine conservationists?
Always be enthusiastic on what you are doing and never give up on your goals. Promoting the passion for the ocean is one of the greatest achievements you could possibly dream of.
- What is your favourite marine creature and why?
There are lots of marine creatures that I love… and almost after every dive I will say ‘that is one of my favourites”… still, if I had to choose only one I will always say Manta Rays. I could spend hours and hours with them and never get bored of watching them.
- What is your most unforgettable moment in the sea?
The first time I tried out diving and experienced the underwater world. It is a moment I will never forget and I knew I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but beneath the surface.
Thanks Carmen! And the wonderful thing is Manta Watch Camp are currently looking for a Manta Ray Marine Biologist in Gonubalabala, Papua New Guinea. Apply now and you could be taking big steps towards making your marine conservation dream job aspirations come true.
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