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.
Shannon's passion for marine conservation was first sparked when carrying out her undergraduate project on anenomefish in Indonesia. Since then her studies have focused on tropical ecosystems, both terrestrial and marine. Shannon has previously undertaken field work in Loch Lomond, Equador, the Maldives and most recently Malaysia, where she conducted the research for her MSc dissertation entitled: 'Developing a Guide to Natural Resource-based Livelihoods in the Setiu Wetlands of Terengganu, Malaysia’. Shannon is looking forward to getting back to the expedition way of life, and putting her wealth of expedition and management experience to good use by joining CCC as its Project Scientist. Shannon is a Reef Check-Indonesia trainer, Rescue Diver, and (unsurprisingly hailing from Scotland!) holds the PADI Dry Suit Diver specialty.
Growing up in beautiful but landlocked rural Cheshire in the UK, Joe first learnt to dive at the age of 19 after volunteering for a Costa Rican Sea Turtle NGO. Gaining a BSc Hons in Wildlife Conservation in 2007 Joe went on to travel the world and work for the next few years, interning with St Eustatius and Grand Cayman Marine Parks and working as a PADI scuba instructor in Australia. Seeing the damage done to marine ecosystems by anthropogenic activities strengthened Joes desire to protect and manage these systems for future generations. Returning to University in 2013 Joe completed an MSc in Climate Change: Managing the Marine Environment. Spending last summer in a lab processing benthic towed images for his dissertation Joe is very much looking forward to getting back in the sea and sunshine and to starting work for CCC.