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  Nr. 49 - June 2002
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Sea Exploration Programmes

Are you looking for something different for you or your visitors (and their children - over 8 years) to do this summer? If so, keep Octopus Sea Trips' sea exploration programmes in mind.

Operating out of what was previously the "No Name Bar" at Golden Beach, Kerstin Lingk is a German primary school teacher specialised in swimming, snorkelling, environmental studies and arts. She is qualified to teach children with special needs and is a registered nurse. Kerstin taught at the Centre for School Biology and Environmental Education in Hamburg and is a keen scuba diver. Peter Nicolaides is an Oceanographer-Biologist, Offshore Engineer and PADI / CMAS 3* Diving Instructor.

Starting from only 10 Euros per person, they offer field programmes lasting from just a few hours up to week-long adventure trips for anybody interested in the Aegean Sea, its history, culture and marine environment. You can join one of their sea discovery and archaeology programmes and find out about Aegean nature and past civilisations. Their adventure holidays and educational activity programmes are suitable for families, groups and individual guests. Unaccompanied children and teenagers can also participate.

The "Sea Discovery" programmes give you the opportunity to meet interesting sea creatures and find out how they eat, crawl and hide. "Touch tanks" (where you can handle marine life) give you hands-on experience with harmless marine animals and you can observe a variety of invertebrates like starfish, anemones, urchins and sea cucumbers. Watch them move and camouflage on or under sand and rocks after a short introductory video shot by their team. Organisms which you probably knew only by their dried remains on the beach come alive as fascinating animals.

Exploring rock pools and shorelines, you will discover animals and plants with special survival abilities in these easily accessible pockets of marine life. Equipped with an investigation kit, you can have a closer look at animals, plants and their relationships.

Once you are snorkelling comfortably on the surface, you may well find that you develop an interest in diving deeper. Expert instructors will introduce you to the secrets of free-diving or you can learn the basics of theory and practice of scuba diving. This can be a life-changing experience. CMAS and PADI courses are also available, offered by Octopus Sea Trips' affiliate the Aegean Diving College. Certified divers are introduced to the Aegean Sea ecosystems by experienced marine scientists and naturalists. Visit wrecks, caves and areas of ecological importance. A video preview on Aegean marine life and dive sites precedes all dives.

You might also like to take a "Sea Arts & Crafts" programme and develop your artistic abilities in the steps of the Ancient Greeks of the Aegean. Have a go at creating mosaics and paintings inspired by sea life forms. A variety of art mediums and exciting techniques are introduced to enhance your knowledge of the marine environment through art and craft projects.

The "Archaeology Programme" is for anyone over eight years old and is available either as a two-day or a six-day course and is inspired by the rich historical heritage of the Aegean. This vast archaeological garden is the legacy of civilisations that have laid the foundations of Western culture. Travel back in time and find out about the everyday life of the ancient Greeks! The journey through the past makes stops at local sites on land and in the sea. Snorkel in the shallows over settlement foundations thousands of years old after a trip to an uninhabited island. See pottery from wrecks of Classical and Roman times in an idyllic cove, still a favourite with today's local fishermen. Visit the Paros Museum, home of some very important treasures of the Aegean and discover what you can learn from ancient pottery. Get the feel of the work of an archaeologist during a simulated excavation and interpret your findings. Try your hand at creating pottery in a workshop, using traditional techniques. Paint Minoan-style frescoes and construct simple toys used by children of the past.

Octopus Sea Trips also run educational field programmes for pupils of primary and secondary schools focusing on seashore life, marine ecology, ancient history and archaeology. Through a variety of hands-on, interactive activities and field trips, programmes become a unique educational experience. Marine adventure programmes teach pupils about the special ecosystems of the sea.

Basic principles of marine biology and ecology are introduced through a range of first-hand experiences and field-trips. Custom-built courses can be arranged on request.

Weekend diving adventures in the small islands of Iraklia, Schinoussa and Koufonissi south of Naxos provide some unique diving sites of historical and ecological importance including a WW II German airplane wreck off Iraklia, a classical wreck-site off Kato Koufonissi and a Roman wreck-site off the Naxos coast.

For further information, drop in at the Octopus Sea Trips base at Golden Beach (Chrissi Akti), call 02840-43347, 093-2757123, email octopuseatrips@aegeandive.gr or see www.octopuseatrips.com.
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