Learning to swim is empowering – especially for women who want to work in the ocean community! Having the confidence to explore the water, feeling safe when in a boat, or simply having access to swimming as a recreational activity are things that many take for granted.
A number of the incredible women at the Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation took the step of learning to swim with Swimmable – taking their first steps into this new way of exploring the world. Here’s what this experience has meant to them:
“Some activities are generally accepted and considered as being normal in early childhood development in preparation for adulthood. Things like skipping or riding a bike or climbing trees. Well another one of those seemingly normal activities which precluded me for my entire childhood and most of my adult life is knowing how to swim. Much of my phobia of wanting to learn stems from an unfortunate incident during my younger years when an irresponsible person pushed me into a pool even though I didn’t know how to swim,” says Jacinta Subjee.
“But recently, me and a few of my colleagues decided that we needed to overcome our fears and get proper training and learn how to swim. And so we took up the challenge and enrolled for swimming classes. Very soon, amidst the confusion of big splashing and gasping for air, was the intermingled bellows of laughter and excitement as our progress in managing the pool began to unfold. It’s great to attempt things and have fun with friends but an even greater sense of achievement when you suddenly realise you are able to glide and propel yourself through the water. I won’t call us mermaids just yet but I really feel proud to say I am able to swim. Now for the next challenge!” – Jacinta
“The experience at Swimmable was absolutely amazing. The staff was very kind and made everyone feel comfortable. They were very patient and lovely personality which made the lessons very fun. I would recommend them to anyone who would love to learn to swim. Especially beginners.” – Siphokazi Matolengwe
“When I started my lessons the intention was to learn new skills while trying to get over my aquaphobia. I had no expectations when I attended the first lesson. All I can say is that the experience was meaningful, exciting, and also beautifully challenging. I truly enjoyed everything about it, except looking for the right swim cap for my hair. That was a journey by itself.” – Wandiswa Jonga
“I’m grateful for the opportunity, because I would not have been able to do it on my own. It has helped me overcome my fear, the nerves when I’m around water In general.” – Robyn Erasmus
“I’m so proud of myself to be a swimmer now. I learned a lot, how to stand, how to hold my breath under the water. It wasn’t easy but I tried my best. I feel confident now and I would like to see myself swimming in one of the exhibits. Many thanks to the Foundation for giving me that opportunity as the mother of two boy’s, I am really proud of myself.” – Liziwe Mbana
Congratulations Liziwe, Robyn, Wandiswa, Siphokazi and Jacinta!
On 14 July 2021, a loggerhead turtle entangled in ghost-netting was in dire need of intervention and was rescued on the beach in Gansbaai. Through the Turtle Network, this adult, stranded, cold-stunned sea turtle arrived at the Two Oceans Aquarium & was received by the turtle rehab team. This turtle was surprisingly strong during admittance into hospital; lifting her head, resisting restraint & also presented with no external injuries needing immediate intervention.
Hoodwinker sunfish were only recently discovered in 2017, after hiding in plain sight amongst the more commonly known 𝘔𝘰𝘭𝘢 𝘮𝘰𝘭𝘢. So, when one of these rare animals was found washed up near Gansbaai, scientists from Dyer Island Conservation Trust and the Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation were alerted and eager to work together to learn more about one of our ocean’s most unusual creatures.
The Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation runs several holiday enrichment courses (known as ‘The Marine Science Academy courses’) for young natural historians with a particular interest in marine topics.
As they progress through the courses and climb the grades, many of them express an interest in pursuing a marine related career. This generally starts off as wanting to be a ‘Marine Biologist’, but further research and guidance through our courses makes them aware of the huge variety of careers on offer. Our courses for Grades 6 to 9 provide a general insight into marine sciences, building up to our Grade Ten ‘Young Biologist’ Course, which provides a good combination of experiential learning as well as the opportunity to volunteer in the aquarium, if they want to.
The Marine Science Academy courses culminate in two five-day academic courses offered to Grade Elevens and Twelves (the latter on special request) who are considering studying Marine Sciences at a tertiary level, one on aspects of Biology and the second on Oceanography.