On this particular trip, lasting from November 16-19, LMRT is focusing on practicing marine survey and substrate identification ability assessment. As usual, on the way to Koh Seh island, we review what we’ve learned and read our books. There, all our dive were focused on transect survey practice. For the first dive, we had to do everything by ourselves to practice our transect survey. Laying the transect line was one of our main problems. I could feel myself floating on the surface all the time when holding on to the safety marker buoy (SMB) while laying the transect line. After that dive, my dive instructors figure that I need more weight to help me descend into the water. They also learned that they need to teach us one skill at a time, then teach us to combine the skills together to learn a more difficult skill like marine surveying. For the next dives, we only need to swim with neutral buoyancy and record everything we see there. Though things we had to do were reduced I still had a lot of troubles. I felt very uncomfortable swimming with my new weight; which made it hard for me to control my buoyancy. I felt the need to move my legs all the time to keep my neutral buoyancy, which made me swim very fast; it was too fast for the survey. I couldn’t write everything I saw when I finished the survey. I continued to have the similar problem every day while trying to adjust to my new weight until my last dive of this trip, where I got used it.
Beside the dives, I took the substrate identification test and got involved in projects with people at MCC (Marine Conservation Cambodia). MCC is an organization that is working protecting the marine life. With MCC’s people, I did a beach cleanup around the island with my dive team, consisting of three other students. In less than an hour, we collected about 28 kilograms of trash, which later was used by the other dive team to stuff into plastic bottles that had been collected in order to make eco blocks. I was also involved in a dolphin survey where I had to use a binocular to search across the sea in a zig-zag pattern, standing up high on the hill. Unfortunately, we did not spot a single dolphin that day, in fact, MCC had not seen any dolphin in two weeks. Even though my expectation was to see a dolphin, I felt very happy to search for them.
Overall, the whole trip was a very good experience. I felt like I was already a part of protecting the ocean through picking up the trash and learning to do an underwater survey.
On the 26th of October, LMRT (Liger Marine Research Team) went back to Koh Seh to practice our SCUBA diving skills as well as taking a test to see how well we identify fish species and learning more about marine surveying. On the second day of being there, our dive instructor planned us a dive where we had to practice our navigation skills underwater. Unfortunately, the visibility was very bad, so we weren’t able to do much.Later that morning, we reviewed for our fish identification test and took it in the afternoon. I felt very nervous when the test started. At first, I did very bad, so the mentor gives me more tips to identify the species which look very similar. For, I second try, I score much better, this time I passed the test. It felt like the most rewarding thing ever especially when we got to dive with the bioluminescence after the test. I swam in the water and release all my tension from the test there while moving my limb around to see the beautiful glitter of the night. The experience made me feel like I had seen underwater firework celebrating the success of passing the test.
Later this trip, we attempt to practice our navigation skills again.We had two dive buddies team dive together, one team lead first and take down the note of the direction they are traveling in, then they would the note our team and the next team had to lead back to the starting point. When my team got the dive slate, we couldn’t understand the writing, so we just use our instinct and the nature around us to find our way back. It turned out that we didn’t get to the starting point, the boat, but we were very close. We just had to swim around 50 meters to get to the boat. On this trip, we also practice surveying with transect line, but on land. We had to practice walking on land with the speed of about 1.5 meter per minute, which is the speed at which we should do the survey underwater. At that point I felt like doing a survey isn’t that hard until I practice a real one underwater on the next trip.
On the 20th of October, I and nine other students attend the Khmer Literature Festival. It was a new event, hosting for the time in Siem Reap province. On the first day of attending the event in Wat Damnak Pagoda, I was very impressed and inspired. I got to meet Cambodian expatriates who write a story everywhere they go. I also got to know many young Cambodians authors. For years, many Cambodians including me thoughts that Cambodians are losing interest in their own literature, but now people had proven me wrong. Throughout the event, there were always more and more talks that inspired me. I learned a lot about the development of Cambodian poetry, famous Cambodian authors, and people’s opinion about the development of Khmer Literature. There were also books on sale and really caught my attention; I can’t stop myself buying them. Buying them to support the authors. Buying because I love to read books. Besides all the impression, I felt disappointed and confused, I was hoping to find some Khmer adventure book, but there weren’t any while there are many in English. Though I couldn’t find what I was looking for, the experience was really good. I enjoy seeing people coming together and combat a national problem. I am looking forward to seeing Cambodians getting more interested in their national literature.
Kampot Writers and Readers festival is an unusual event in Kampot province, Cambodia every November. This festival brings the writers and readers together and share their experience also seeing and learning about the global issue, literacy, culture, history, and education. As a writer and also a reader I attend this event for my second time. The last I participated, I was the listener, but this year I’m a listener and also a presenter. I was presenting about the Wildlife Animal Guide Book that I’ve been working on. The event went really well, I enjoyed listening to different presentations a lot. My favorite fart was going a boat cruise with the author of the book “Holiday in Cambodia”. She read part of the book to us while riding on the boat. We got to see a really nice view of the river, with “firefly fill the night sky.” I also enjoy doing street art, it was fantastic.
I and my partner, Mengthong was selected to join the insect conference at the royal university Phnom penh school. This conference is made to encourage Cambodia to research more about insect, because not a lot of people research about for one main reason is it is hard to research.
The conference last for three days but we only join for two days because it is almost time for holiday. On the first day of the conference we learn about insect, and we focus mainly on the order hymenoptera with bees and wasps. We also learn about taking picture of insect, and learn how to catch insect and also practice to catch insect. On the second day we and the university students went to Kampong spue to catch insect in the wild. It was so fun catching the insect especially I found a wasp potter’s nest. We also see a waterfall.
I had learned a lot from this conference, I even learn about how to distinguish between bees and wasps. I remembered three easiest way to distinguish between bees and wasps. One way that we can distinguish by looking at their legs bee had bigger and hairy legs which waps don’t. The other way is looking at their eyes, they both have eyes with shape of oval, but wasp have kind of a bend of v shape in the middle. Last but not least is their prothorax, wasps has kind of triangular shape on their prothorax which bees don’t.
On October, 22, 2015 five students (Seyha, David, Souyeth, Sopor and Sythong) and two teachers (Karen and Phearun) went to the STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) for the final round. In the final round there are nine groups. For the first game the five members from were split up, to the student get to know each other with the hand-on game of human knot. For the second game the student return to their team to compete with the other team about the ‘‘ One Minute to Win It’’ game. There are five games. The games are use your body to bounce the balloon using your body except feets and hands, blowing balls into a box, balance cuts and plate over each other, knox the cup on the table ball using air from balloon and flip the spoon into many different container with different point.
The last part was about creativity. The challenge was to design the marble mover using plastic tub, paper, tape, cardboard tube, flat sticks and plastic cups but we can also use the tray that all the material came in it. The only rule is you can not touch the marble once the let it go and you have 25 minute. Almost all the team make their marble mover horizontally with the marble run through the tupe and came in plastic cup or tray and finish it in ten minutes. But Liger had not started building we were still disgusting what is our design. Then we all agree on building it like a maze. As we started building the staff, student and judges came around to watch us, because we were the only one who build it vertically. To this creativity we got bonus point and so Liger got the first place, the prize for the winner was $100 for Monument book.