A team from the scuba diving rehabilitation charity Deptherapy will head to the Caribbean island of Grenade for the first time this month as part of a two-year program funded by the British Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust (AFCFT) Positive Paths Program.
The expedition, which includes several RAID training courses adapted to the different beneficiaries as well as a survey on the reefs, hardly took place due to COVID-19[female[feminine constraints.
The charity’s original plan for a two-week expedition to Egypt had to be re-booked and eventually canceled, but thanks to the flexibility of the AFCFT and their strategic partners, Invictus Games Foundation, authorization has been granted for funding to be allocated by Deptherapy for an expedition to Granada.
The Deptherapy the team will stay at True Blue Bay Boutique Resort and dive with Aquanauts in Granada. Aquanauts have experience working with clients who have mental and physical challenges and provide the accessibility that some Expedition members require.
The 10 day expedition will run from October 13 To 23, 2021 the group having to quarantine in station for two days while awaiting the results of “at the arrival” COVID PCR tests. There will be at least seven days of diving which will include a In-depth RAID course, Three Advanced RAID 35 course and five Nitrox RAID Classes.
Two or more days will be devoted to conducting a reef survey. This will be led by Deptherapy Ambassador and beneficiary Tomato oates, who is in the second year of a bachelor’s degree in marine biology at University of Hull. Expedition members have received Caribbean fish identification slates and are already developing their survey plan.
Over the past 18 months, beneficiaries have studied the identification of fish and corals led by Dr. Deborah McNeill of Open Oceans Project as a member of Positive Pathways Program.
The reef study work leads to the second part of the program which takes place in 2022 on a Red Sea expedition where a comparative study of aquatic life on the SS Turkia in the Gulf of Suez and the iconic SS Thistlegorm will be undertaken.
According to Dr Richard Castle, independent consultant psychologist specializing in trauma and one of the Deptherapy vice-presidents:
“The majority of Deptherapy beneficiaries have mental health issues, primarily post-traumatic stress disorder. In the past 18 months, shipments to Roots to complete the marine biology program have been canceled, re-booked, and canceled again due to COVID. This can be extremely difficult for people with mental health issues. I would like to say a big thank you to the Armed Forces Commitment Fund for being so flexible in allowing us to change our expedition plans in such a short time frame.
“We have a close relationship with the Trust, but I doubt even they realize how important their flexibility is in supporting the mental health of our beneficiaries.”
For more information on Deptherapy work go to deptherapy.co.uk.
(Featured image credit: Aquanauts Grenada)