This past weekend on 4 to 5 March 2023, the Two Oceans Aquarium Dive School hosted the UCT Underwater Club for their annual Diver24 dive-athon fundraiser. This year their fundraising efforts were in aid of two organisations focused on marine conservation, the Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation and #SeaTheBiggerPicture.
This fun event had teams of divers on rotation in the water for a full 24 hours. To raise funds, each diver pays for their dive slot, while a raffle and merchandise were available for purchase by the public visiting the Two Oceans Aquarium throughout the event.
Having set themselves a fundraising target of R25 000, the weekend diving event got the fundraiser well on its way with the target nearly being met. However, if you would like to further help the UCT Underwater Club reach their target, donations can be made to the Back-A-Buddy account on the link here: https://www.backabuddy.co.za/diver24 .
Vega Luppnow, UCT Underwater Club Committee member – Marketing and Outreach Portfolio was thrilled at the outcome. “Hosting Diver24 this weekend is an experience that my team and I will treasure for a long time. Being able to raise funds for two fantastic organisations, the Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation and #SeaTheBiggerPicture has been an honour. In addition to our divers having a blast, we hope that this event will put diving in the public eye and inspire people around us to protect our oceans. Thank you to the Two Oceans Aquarium for hosting us this year, and to everyone involved for making this possible”.
The UCT divers arrived on Saturday morning, in preparation for their 24 hours at the Two Oceans Aquarium. The first of a total of 84 divers entered the I&J Ocean Exhibit at 12h00 on Saturday, excited to explore the Exhibit during their one-hour time slot. On the hour they marked the occasion by holding up a “Hour One” sign to their fellow club members and interested onlookers from the public visiting the Aquarium that day. This continued for every hour milestone in the Exhibit, with a celebration of “Hour 24” at 12h00 on Sunday.
The UCT Underwater Club members were in for a long night, as the dive-athon continued through the night. While the divers were in the water, the rest of the Underwater Club members, either waiting for their turn to dive or supporting the divers, were treated to informative presentations by representatives of the Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation and #SeaTheBiggerPicture.
Carla de Cerff, a volunteer for the Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation Turtle Conservation Centre gave a presentation on the work the Turtle Conservation Centre is doing on the rescue, rehabilitation and release of green, loggerhead, leatherback and hawksbill turtles – all endangered species. And Calley Chateau-Cyster, a Director of #SeaTheBiggerPicture, shared the amazing work this organisation is doing for education and marine conservation.
Visitors to the Two Oceans Aquarium were treated to some added entertainment as the UCT Divers participating in Diver24 had some innovative ways to pass the time. Some did underwater yoga in synchronisation with their club members in the I&J Ocean Exhibit gallery, while others were engaged in an intense game of chess.
The interaction between visitors and the Diver24 divers illustrated exactly what this event was all about. Fundraising was a top priority, but in addition introducing the public to the wonders of scuba diving and the importance of marine conservation were of great importance. Representatives of the Two Oceans Aquarium and UCT Underwater Club were enthusiastic in answering the visitors’ questions and informing them of the opportunities to take part in diving experiences or learn the skill of scuba diving at the Two Oceans Aquarium Dive School. https://www.aquarium.co.za/experiences/dive-school
“The Diver24 event was a huge success – it was well organised by the UCT Underwater Club and ran smoothly with the help of the Two Oceans Aquarium Dive School. Most of us are unaware of the effects our actions have on our sea life, and the Two Oceans Aquarium is the perfect platform to create this awareness. I am extremely grateful that the Dive School was able to partner in this great effort to raise funds for marine wildlife conservation”, said Two Oceans Aquarium Dive Centre Scuba Instructor Tersia Greenstone.