The 2018 edition of Dolphin Quest took place last Saturday, September 8, and this year, 36 DB kids were selected to come along and help out.
Organised by Lantau Boat Club (LBC), the aim of Dolphin Quest is to educate the community and increase awareness of the plight of the struggling Chinese White Dolphins and other marine life in Hong Kong.
Saturday’s event saw LBC members join forces with Jonny Haines and Tim Tait of The Lantau Island Paddle for the first time, who decided to use the event as an eco-education and adventure experience for kids to show them how marine life is impacted by our everyday actions.
Each of the children had to earn their spots by entering a contest to win a ‘golden ticket’ for the day, with entrants having to demonstrate in their submissions how much they care about the environment.
The response was phenomenal, with an amazing 62 incredibly high-quality entries being submitted by schoolchildren from DBIS and DC, including posters, letters, raps, songs and videos, with many entrants deciding to organise their own beach cleanups and some even arranging meetings with major corporations to discuss their policies on plastic.
Speaking to Around DB about the selection process, Jonny said: “Narrowing the entries down to the final 36 was excruciatingly difficult, and we could have easily taken everyone. However, we were so pleased with the mix of children from DBIS and DC that eventually joined us for what was an incredible day.”
On the day, two adventure junks, aptly named Team Dolphin and Team Porpoise, left DB just after 8am to make their way to Fan Lau on the far tip of South Lantau. Along the way, the kids were kept busy with activity booklets and talks from local dolphin experts about local marine animals.
When the boats neared Fan Lau, everyone onboard was delighted to spot two Chinese White Dolphins, who came very near to the boats. “The excitement and energy from the children (and adults!) was electrifying as cheers filled the air every time a pink fin or beautiful fluke appeared then disappeared again,” said Jonny.
After enjoying a vegan barbecue, sponsored by Hemingway’s, the participants got to work cleaning the beach, focusing on plastic straws, single-use cups, bottle tops, wrappers and bottles. Nearly 30 bags of rubbish were collected by the kids, as well as parent volunteers. The group even found fishing nets buried in the sand, and hauled a number of construction barriers out of the water.
The children who took part have now been declared youth ambassadors for the Chinese White Dolphin, and were each given a certificate confirming them as founding members of The Lantau Youth Environmental Action Group.
“This was one of the most rewarding events seen in DB,” enthused Jonny. “Not only was this about passing the environmental baton to the children, but it was about giving them memories that will last a lifetime and hopefully experiences that will inspire them to continue being agents for change, encouraging all of us to fight for our environment. This was also the first event to build bridges with other educational providers in DB, and this will be an aim of the Lantau Paddle going forward.”
Images: Gary Stokes and Jonny HainesTags: lantau island paddle, lantau boat club, dolphin quest