Communication is easier on land (for humans)
The hand signals we Marine Educators use to communicate with each other underwater, and even ‘snorkel talk’ (talking through your snorkel with you face in the water – try it!) are easy for us to understand, but for others this is an entirely unknown language. Luckily WiseOceans Marine Educators spend some of their time on land, otherwise keeping Resort staff up to date could prove very difficult! Through a variety of communication methods we keep the staff at Four Seasons Resort Seychelles informed of our role, work and all the fun we have down at the beach.
Whilst the WiseOceans team is a relatively small part of the Resort in terms of size, we are very much part of the Four Seasons Resort Seychelles family, and it is important that all the staff here understand what we do and the wide range of activities that we offer, how our presence impacts positively on guests at the Resort, and how we are helping the marine and coastal environment.
Resort employees are introduced to WiseOceans almost on day one. All new members of staff undergo an introductory training programme and as part of this WiseOceans delivers a session to introduce ourselves, explain what we do at the Resort and test their knowledge with a marine-themed quiz. Actually we don’t expect them to know anything – if they listen carefully we provide all the answers, they just have to be the loudest and shout it out! This friendly team competition includes information on reefs, corals, fish, marine invertebrates, turtles and other megafauna, providing Resort employees with the basic information required to answer some of the questions guests may have, and igniting a personal interest in the ocean. In addition, the training scheme we developed for Resort staff, called ‘Be Wise Think Blue’, allows staff to join us on a guided snorkel and furthers their knowledge and excitement.
Throughout staff areas of the Resort we have eye-catching displays full of information about WiseOceans activities and marine life around Seychelles, plus features such as our Species of the Week, and lots of cool photos of staff enjoying their experience of snorkelling with us. This is all to encourage more Resort employees to take the plunge and get involved, ask questions and learn about what can be seen in Petite Anse beneath the waves.
Sometimes we WiseOceans Marine Educators also do things the conventional way – with meetings and emails. There are regular meetings across the Resort ranging from daily team briefings to large-scale meetings open to all staff, and our slides on turtle hatchlings, inquisitive fish and underwater videos offer a lively addition to all. We also send out the emails after a special marine-focussed event such as World Oceans Day, showcasing the success of these events so that they grow, reach more people and increase awareness.
Communication with the Resort staff is incredibly rewarding for us. We have seen some take their very first glimpse into the ocean, try snorkelling for the first time, remember fishy facts and even inspired some to learn to SCUBA dive. It is a privilege to see their knowledge of marine life improve as well as their curiosity, respect and passion for the oceans.