KARACHI: The social impact organization Dignosco collaborated with certified professional divers, Indus Scuba for a weeklong scuba diving and reef cleaning activity in Karachi last week as part of its experiential learning program.
The course began with a full day classroom session in which all participants were required to watch 5 tutorial videos that detailed the basics of scuba diving. The students gained knowledge about the essential gear, its purpose, its usage and proper maintenance.
They further learnt about the effects of pressure on the human body and how to cope with the marine environment. The theory sessions also included instructions on how to calculate dive time based on remaining air, as well as other safety precautions, such as not ascending too fast lest lungs expand and burst.
The intensive theoretical sessions were followed by grueling pool sessions over two days. In small groups of 5 with Mustafa Hassan of Indus Scuba leading, the students got acquainted with their gear and the basics of diving.
A two-day open water diving program followed the practice, taking place from 21st – 22nd November, at Churna Island, off the Karachi coast. All aspiring divers were tested for skills they learnt in the pool sessions, including free descents, emergency ascents and neutral buoyancy.
Furthermore, the students cleared the reefs around Churna Island bearing the coordinates N 24.899444 and E 66.605278 cutting fishing nets left over from previous expeditions and collecting boat anchors, glass bottles, fishing hooks, long lines and other debris that litters the seabed.
The weeklong activity concluded with an exam and a shore dive on a private hut on the French Beach on 22nd November. The exam tested the divers on all the theoretical and practical skills they learnt over the course of the previous week. All participants successfully passed the tests and were granted with international diving certification, which will allow them to dive in open waters anywhere in the world; students can also receive college credit hours for this entire activity.
Director Dignosco Abrar Rahman says, “The purpose behind such activities is to inculcate civic duty in our students in ways that encourage them to step outside their comfort zones and challenge themselves. We aim to continue such experiential learning programs to incorporate such diverse experiences with unique community projects.”
Student, Altish Yousaf of Lahore says, “I have always enjoyed being in the water as I’m an avid swimmer, however, this was a surreal experience beyond anything I’ve had before. I’m never going to forget the first time I faced an angelfish.”