Day Seventeen-I Am Water written by Eric Zhou

Last day in South Africa, we woke up in the early morning and ready to snorkel in the cape point bay. After a light breakfast and one hour drive, we arrived the beach, which is protected area because penguins nest on the beach nearby. The activity is hosted by an organization called I AM WATER, consisted by a free diving champion in South Africa, few marine biology scientists, and some free diving lovers. Before we go into the water, the trainer lead us to do some yoga moves to stretch our body and lung. I am impressed that she has bigger lung than a big rugby player in national team. She told us a skill that breathing in 8 seconds and breathing out 10 seconds can keep the heart rate down when diving or in panic. We did some breathing skills to expand our lung in order to get ready to snorkel. After warming up, we are divided into two groups. One group go snorkeling in the sea first, and my group go the near shore to observe some marine animals and watch penguins. We saw a starfish, some sea snails and sea urchins. Then we walked on our bear foot to watch penguins. There are lots of small rocks and sticks, we felt like did a painful foot message, and it felt so great step on soft sand afterward. The penguins are adorable and we saw a penguin sitting on the egg in a brush. Couple minutes later, it is our turn to go into the water. We put on the diving suit, and it is a real challenge to do that cause it is tight. After putting on masks and snorkels, we are assigned to different coaches. My coach is called Ben (maybe), he taught briefly about how to snorkel and led us into the water. We saw some fishes with protective coloration similar to rocks, sea snails, starfishes, sea weed (forest in the sea), and luckily an octopus. The water is super cold, I felt panic at first putting my face into the water. However, using the skill of breathing out longer, I felt better and enjoyed the view under water. At last, we sit in a circle and- discussed the challenge we encountered and the things we learned. The challenges are mostly the cold water, keeping clam under water,and putting on the suit. We learned that the world in the ocean is beautiful and it is our duty to protect the ocean with even small actions like stop eating fishes in danger and polluting waste into the ocean.

We arrived our hotel at 3pm. Having a good rest, we met in the ‘lobby’ and presented about the township projects we did yesterday. Every group gave a wonderful presentation. For dinner, we had a group dinner in a traditional South Africa restaurant and tried 14 local dishes.  We ended our trip with good food and great memory.