In 2016 George Bevan left NHRCP, the Conservation Diver flagship marine conservation program in Thailand, in order to start the organizations first Caribbean program. Nicaragua was chosen as our location.
When we arrived, Nicaraguan marine conservation efforts were limited to only a few sea turtle protection programs on the mainland as well as some small research initiatives on the Pacific Coast. In the first few months, most of our time was spent exploring the mainland, immersing in the culture and networking with all things, and people involve in, marine protection. George soon joined forces with Sea Turtle Rescue Nicaragua (STRN) , based in the Padre Ramos reserve, where he began to work with the program to expand the hatchery capacity and develop the countries first head-start program. With a strategy in place to move STRN forward, he then made the move to the Corn Islands.
The Corn Islands are, culturally, vastly different from mainland Nicaragua. The next 6 months were spent learning the way of the land, connecting with other like minded individuals and joining a community of people that would eventually form the key driving force behind Azul Conservations efforts.
Whenever you arrive to a new location, a lot of work is needed to analyse the reef and adapt the Conservation Diver program and materials to the local ecosystem. This took a lot of time both above and under the water, photographing and surveying all around the island. Once complete, the program could then be formalised. George then invited fellow Conservation Diver instructor Chloe Wilms to come join him to drive the program forward. A relationship born out of friendship created the perfect partnership to create Azul Conservation. Whilst Chloe took on the role of Lead Instructor, George was able to strategize more and foster vital relationships with academic, governmental and international corporations in the name of marine conservation in Nicaragua, as Program Director of Azul Conservation.
Today the Azul Conservation staff consists of two Conservation Diver instructors. Although George is no longer based full time in the country anymore, he is still on site during periods of the year, not only to affirm business operations, but to get back in the water and teach students about conserving the reef.
Conservation Diver is a close community of friends and fish loving folk. Together and only together did we make Azul Conservation possible. Chad, Rahul, Pau, Kirsty and Spencer, not to mention others, we thank you. Your sweat and hard work is in the foundations of Azul Conservation.