Marine biologist, Alison Towner visits the U.K

November 15, 2011 by dyertrust

During the last two weeks of October, I was lucky enough to visit the UK, courtesy of Marine Dynamics and The Dyer Island Conservation Trust. My aim, as with previous years, was to promote shark diving and South Africa as a destination to the British diving community at the Dive show in Birmingham.

The weather in Britain was surprisingly mild this year, with only the occasional bit of rain. It gave me the opportunity to appreciate the quaint country landscapes we have in the Lancashire area, such contrasting scenery to the dramatic South African views I am now so well accustomed to!

The DIVE SHOW was held the first weekend of my visit 21st-23rd of October, and I have to say the turnout this year was great. I teamed up with my colleagues Mark Giles and James Parker and together we operated the African Space stand. I really like working together with African Space as I feel the British divers booking with them really do get a valuable experience for their money. Due to Jamies relationship with various South African shark diving operators, and extensive diving experience with sharks, there is a level of confidence you can rely upon with the dive trips African Space offer. For a UK diver its really nice to know your transport, dive locations and accommodation are all organised for you on arrival in Cape Town.

I gave two presentations during the 11am-12pm exhibitors talk slot, with wonderful turnouts. It is always nice to talk to the British public about great white sharks; I particularly enjoyed revealing some of the latest research results from our tagging programme. Being such charismatic animals white sharks do strike a chord with most people, whether it is fear, fascination, or both! Additionally in both my DIVE show audiences, I was delighted to see some of our past volunteers and interns who came along to support my work. Interested people could directly ask them about the Dyer Island Conservation Trust and the work we do from their own personal experience of interning with us.

We also managed to fund raise a little more for the African Space Trust, which are currently funding the construction of a medical centre in a remote village located in central Tanzania. The work has been underway for a couple of years now, so it was excellent to hear that the final stages of the centre will be finished at the end of this year.

After a long weekend on my feet from 9-6pm the Dive show, I had a couple of days rest and recuperation with the family.

The UK trip was a good success, albeit over too quickly. I feel I managed to reach many people and inform them of the fantastic work we are busy with here at the Dyer Island Conservation Trust.

Now its back to reality in Kleinbaai and a case of getting back out on to the ocean to tag and track some more sharks!