Field Base Manager
Olly started his career by volunteering for a Turtle Research and Conservation project in Guatemala. This inspired him to follow a career in the world of diving and conservation, where he has been active for almost 10 years. During this time he has worked in research projects in the Caribbean, “livaboards” in the Great Barrier Reef, exploration of the shipwrecks in the south of Spain and the Cenote’s of Mexico, and many other projects. He is a PADI Master SCUBA Diver Trainer, a member of the Association of Scuba Service Engineers & Technician (ASSET) and Rebreather Association of International Divers (RAID), and a first aid instructor. He holds a diploma in Marine Biology and is in the final stages of completing a degree in Natural Sciences.
Nelson Espinas (‘Tata’)
Tata began his work with Coral Cay by providing lunch to volunteers visiting his hometown restaurant in Malitbog. Coral Cay loved his cooking so much that he was offered a position full time and has now been with us for over a decade, cooking up a splendour twice a day! He will introduce you to all the Filipino classics like pork adobo, chicken halang halang, tuna kinalaw (caught by local fishermen), fresh squid from the local market, fried aubergine, and many more! He has no problem cooking a grand feast. Look out for his mango floats the richest most indulgent treat you will ever encounter! You can catch him singing Bon Jovi 'Always' and Bryan Adams classics in the kitchen. Tata also loves a good gossip, and will tell you all sorts of fascinating stories about the past adventures of previous volunteers. He is also a great person to talk to about local fiestas, as he loves to join the volunteers when we are invited out to discos. He can whip up spring rolls for 30 people in ten minutes and his pancakes are simply to die for!
Richard Bongot ('Bok Bok')
Boat Captain, Carpenter & Handyman
Bok Bok has been with us since 2003; his nickname means 'termite pulp'. Bok Bok mans our boat Banakun and keeps her shipshape; he is also a carpenter extraordinaire. He worked as a painter in Manila for some years before moving back to Thomas Oppus, Southern Leyte with his wife and children, and began working with Coral Cay. With an absolutely winning smile, and a hilarious personality he keeps the local staff chuckling all the time. If you get involved in the basketball games on site, you'll want him on your team, he is dynamite!
Jesse Lou Tinapay
Compressor Operator, Dive Instructor & Boat Driver
Jesse is our compressor operator and local dive instructor. If you want to see the illusive Mandarin fish then Jesse is your man as he always manages to spot them! Furthermore, if you like nudibranchs then Jesse will find you a 2mm Hypselodoris and will have the full species name written on his slate before you have even realised its not a piece of algae! His fantastic instructing skills, compressor know-how and local dive knowledge means his contribution to the CCC team is absolutely priceless.
Ricky joined us in May 2010 and has quickly made himself invaluable. He is our official deck hand on the boat, but you’ll often find him helping in the kitchen too, as well as being able to replace doors, windows, and sort out electrical problems. He is a PADI Rescue diver and uses his skills regularly to dive off the boat, with flip flops and no mask, to rescue items that people have dropped over the side! He can also fix most things just by looking at them!
Jose Ydel (Dudong)
Compressor Operator and groundsman
Jose "Dudong" Ydel is our compressor operator and general groundsman. He has been a local snorkel guide in the area of Napantao for many years now, and has a keen interest in conservation of the local marine environment. He is currently a PADI Rescue Diver. In his spare time he enjoys artisan coconut wood carving, and is responsible for many of the necklasses and wooden hangings seen on base.
Nick has been a certified SCUBA diver since the age of 12. However, being from Chicago, Illinois does not present a lot of opportunity to do any recreational diving. Because of this, Nick has done most of his diving in the Philippines and Malaysia, and also has dives logged in Mexico and Belize. He also previously lived in the Philippines for five years, which exposed him to the beauty and wonder of one of the most diverse marine ecosystems in the world. Nicks first taste of marine conservation was through an volunteer trip to Glovers Reef in Belize, for shark research and conservation. One year later, he decided to pursue his PADI Divemaster (DM) certification on the small island of Malapascua in the Philippines, where he got to dive with the elusive Thresher Sharks on a near daily basis. On completion he traveled to the even smaller island of Mabul, Malaysia, where he worked as a DM for a small dive shop. All of these adventures and experiences came before Nick even graduated with his bachelor of science in Biology from Indiana University in May of 2014. Nick is about to get his first real taste of a prolonged research and volunteer experience with CCC in the Philippines in January of 2015 as a Science Officer, and he couldn’t be more excited!
Jack is from the UK and grew up in Lancashire where he learnt to dive in a quarry 10 years ago. Since then he has dived in a dozen different countries thankfully most of them much warmer. He has a degree in history from the University of Birmingham. He became a dive master in 2008 and has spent most of his diving career diving around the UK, since becoming an instructor Jack has been working for dive resorts in the Maldives and Fiji. He is excited to work with the staff and volunteers of Coral Cay Conservation in the Philippines.