We come to yet another end of a great Marine guide course here at Ulovane Environmental Training and with that, also the end of six months for Therien, Ben and Wesly.
We cannot believe how fast the time is going, there is only one more course for this year, and then we go and buy Christmas presents! Well, time flies when you are having fun, they say.
Wesley, Ben and Therien – we want to thank you guys from the bottom of our hearts that you chose Ulovane as your home for the last six months. It is always such a heart-warming feeling to see how students change and grow into themselves as people. You have all done extremely well and you have made us all very proud. We just know that you will make an absolute success of your future careers as guides.
Remember what you have been taught and always stay ethical and keep your integrity. Keep your chins up and work hard to get where you want to be in life. You have been trained by some of the best in the industry and you have a fantastic foundation to go out and become THE guide that you want to be. Remember that Ulovane will always be a HOME away from home for you!
I would like to thank the three of you for a fantastic course, I have really enjoyed my time with you. From long beach walks to exploring rock pools. From canoe trips down the river to amazing, mind-blowing snorkelling sessions. You guys were always keen to go out and learn and explore more, and that made my job as an instructor so much easier. To go out and share knowledge and experiences with like-minded people is quite rare to find. How lucky are we that we have a community of people like that right here on our doorstep – I would like to make a special mention to our fellow Amakhala Woodbury Lodge clan who joined us for numerous walks, tracking expeditions and snorkelling sessions. You guys were just the right addition to an already perfect bunch of students, and we just loved having you guys with us. Brett and Rob, thank you for sharing your knowledge and enthusiasm with our students and with us!
Back to our students now:
Ben, you have invaded and occupied every single corner of the house, but you know what, it is OK, because you made us laugh and your enthusiasm for the ocean is infectious. You were always the first to get into the water and the last one to get out. Thank you for all your hard work and the effort that you made. You will go far in this industry. You have a special gift, the gift of sharing… always remember that.
Wesley, Wesley, Wesley – thanks for letting me sleep in some mornings! Your drive and dedication are from another world, maybe a Star Wars world? You have pushed yourself beyond limits and I am so proud of you. Everything you do is to the 100% maximum. Keep it up, and you will definitely rise to the top.
Therien… Where to start? Maybe a quick lesson in how to change a toilet roll? Hahaha!! It was an absolute pleasure to get to know you better and I am sure there are lots more supping and snorkelling adventures to come. Please stay the beautiful, lovely, happy soul that you are. This is your future, grab it with both hands. And mom, don’t worry, this girl can look after herself, she is a tough little cookie.
Like I said to you guys during our last snorkelling session – “How lucky are we that we can call this our JOB”!!! To be outside in nature, be it amongst elephants and rhinos or sea stars and octopus, it is an absolute BLESSING! I am mind-blown by it every single day, and I appreciate every single second of it. And I would not change a thing!
For me, moving to the Eastern Cape has certainly been the best decision I have ever made. I am truly blessed to get to call Ulovane my home as well. These people – Candice and Schalk, you guys are an inspiration every single day and I cannot thank you enough that I can be part of the team. Piet, Justin and Melissa – I look up to you all and look forward to many more years of teaching together. You guys rock! You work hard and face any challenge with a smile on your face. I am truly grateful to be part of a team that does not say no to a challenge, together with these guys, we can take on the world!
Jacques, Mama Thabs, Mama Joyce and of course the camp mascots Bruno and Cornflakes – what would we do without you guys? You make us laugh, feed us and keep us clean and content. Thank you all!!
A very special thank you goes out to Oom Ben, who makes this all possible! Thank you!!
So, folks, there’s a lot of amazing people to thank as you can see, but there would not be any thank you’s if it wasn’t for YOU, OUR STUDENTS! We need you so that we can keep on carrying our messages across and teach people how to be the best they can be. How to be ambassadors for our country, wildlife and the oceans!
Folks, if you have not realised it by now, our oceans are in a dire state! And we must act NOW to save it! Without the blue lung of the planet, there will be nothing. You can start with PLASTIC – STOP buying single-use plastic. I urge all of you who are actually taking the time to read this to go and do a bit of research on marine conservation, or even better, come and join us for a Marine guide course here at Ulovane and learn and experience it all for yourself.
We see less and less in the rock pools and on the beach. Humans are destroying marine life as we speak. We have over-fished the oceans, we have caused extinction on every single continent and we are exploiting every single natural resource out there! Hundreds and thousands of sea birds and mammals die every year because of US!
I URGE you to stop and think. Make critical decisions guys. Join beach clean-up events, or better yet, organise your own beach clean-up events.
Just fifty years ago people thought that the oceans would never run out of fish stocks, that the coral reefs will forever be magical under-water islands filled with colourful fish and predators. But, sadly, it is not. Fish stocks have gone down by more than fifty per cent, the Great Barrier reef is dying and we have a garbage patch in the ocean that is the size of Texas. And still, we carry on killing the planet…
We look at the ocean and all we see is water. This big blue expanse of water. But what about under the water? There is life! There are thousands of sea creatures and plants yet to be discovered. The oceans cover 75% of our planet, however, only 5% has been explored. Mind-blowing isn’t it?
Just take some time to think about it…
When you are ready, come and join us at Ulovane for a life-changing, mind-blowing experience, both on land and in the water.
“If you have a strong purpose in life, you don’t have to be pushed. Your passion will drive you there.” ―
Feedback from Wesly
A crazy adventure it has been, ups, downs, happy times and not so happy times, but the overall experiences these past 6 months have been amazing. We started off with our Apprentice Field Guide course not knowing what to expect and without knowing anyone at all. Now, time has gone on and we are all great friends – even though from time to time we still get on each other nerves J. Our Apprentice Field Guide course was nerve-wracking at first but over time with the help of my new friends and the Ulovane instructors, it was a blast and I have become one with the family now. You learn a tremendous amount from the Apprentice Field Guide, Apprentice Trails and Marine guide course, gaining experiences you can’t even imagine! I felt it opened all of us up completely and that was just on Field Guides; Trails really opens you up and makes you acutely aware of your surroundings and all the little things that are so well balanced in nature. During Trails I learnt a lot from rifle handing and walking on foot; the knowledge that you gain in indescribable.
And then Marines, where to begin. The 4 weeks that we had on this course, we learnt a lot about the marine environment, experiencing things that you don’t get to see or do every day, all while spending time with people that you now know well and working together to help achieve each other’s goals.
My time with Ulovane draws to a close, but this is not the end, it’s the start of a new journey with additional people to help us on our way.
Being with Ulovane from the start of Apprentice Field Guides has really been a blessing from the start. I have gained so much knowledge about animals, the environment, and everything else in it, as well as having learned so much about myself.
There is a large number of valuable lessons I have taken from my time here, that I don’t even know where to start but the lesson that really stood out for me is to never doubt yourself and to be free to ask whenever you need to. Don’t be afraid or feel alone because there’s a whole group that will walk you through and be by your side supporting and encouraging you every step of the way. These courses were no holiday, but definitely worth it all in every single way.
Well, it starts with an entire overview. Apprentice Field Guides was physically draining, Apprentice Trails was mentally draining and Marine guides is a recovery.
I guess the hardest thing about all of it is saying goodbye to your family piece by piece as you bid farewell to those before you and to those coming after you but there’s always a special piece of Ulovane that stays with you and you become part of a bigger family. Every person in the camp plays a big role, no matter who you are and where you come from. I think this is what makes it more overwhelming when you have to leave. We do, however, learn to cherish the smaller things in our lives and find the historical bond between being human and in tune with our natural environment, instead of being permanently hitched to a technological Wi-Fi connection. Also, the feeling of being one with mother nature truly is mesmerising.
It really is hard to pick a single favourite moment in the environments in which we work, play, study and bond with one another so it’s best to just be grateful for every opportunity that arises and grab them with both hands.
Thank you Ulovane for the experiences and memories.
“In life, finding a voice is speaking and living the truth. Each of you is an original. Each of you has a distinctive voice. When you find it, your story will be told. You will be heard.” ―