Field Base Manager
Rob has completed 7 expeditions with CCC as the Field Base Manager and/or PADI Scuba Instructor in the Philippines, Cambodia and Tobago. His diving has taken him all around the world. He is a
Scuba Service Engineer and Technician, an expedition medic and instructor, a Hyperbaric Chamber Operator and Attendant and an RYA Yachtmaster complete with STCW 95. Prior to working in marine
conservation Rob spent 22 years in Her Majesties Corps of Royal Engineers working in numerous locations around the World and is also an electrician with a sound working knowledge of most construction
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.
Boat Driver, Reef Ranger & Bantay Dagat
Ernesto is our chief ranger of the reef, he wards off illegal fishermen from our house reef (the Napantao Community led-MPA) and has been a Bantay Dagat for the last 14 years. Before working as a Bantay Dagat he was the official Napantao baker. He is always ready to lend a hand whether it is helping put your kit on, digging a hole for a Crown of thorns extraction, or being ready to help with the boat equipment.
Ricky Sajol Deck Hand
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!
Charlotte Wiseman BSc MSc
After studying BSc Marine Zoology at Newcastle University Charlie spent 3 months volunteering in the Perhentian Islands, Malaysia. Her work focussed on monitoring the local nesting green turtle population and educating tourists and locals about marine conservation. Charlie returned to Newcastle to complete her MSc in Tropical Coastal Management during which she studied nursery reef fish populations in Curacao, Caribbean. This led on to the opportunity to join a research project investigating the coral reef status of various countries throughout the Caribbean. During her time as Marine Project Scientist with Coral Cay Charlie is excited to expand upon her fish surveying experience and work closely with local stakeholders.
Karl spent over thirteen years in the Royal Engineers and experienced a plethora of exhilarating and challenging experiences, including parachuting from a C130 at night, solo skydiving and solo helicopter flights. Karl still has a passion for flying and holds a Paragliding Club Pilots licence. Karl spent ten years working in IT and is a Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP) Database Administrator and Developer. He finally saw the light and is now fortunate to be able to teach others to dive and share his main passion. He holds several different dive qualifications, including PADI Master SCUBA Diver Trainer, SSI Advanced Instructor and ASSET Dive Technician. Karl’s now more actively getting involved in marine conservation and feels everybody can make a difference. His other interests include mountain biking, skiing and trying to live and appreciate every day.
Amy has been diving for the past 10 years and her love of travelling has seen her working as a PADI dive master and instructor in such far flung locations as Australia, Egypt and Thailand. As well as being a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor she also holds a commercial diving certificate plus qualifications in boat handling, first aid and sea survival. Her fascination with the marine environment led her to pursue a degree in Marine Biology and Coastal Ecology and she is currently entering into her final year, in which her dissertation project focuses on the effects of disturbance events on coral reef ecosystems and the efficacy of marine protected areas. When she isn’t studying she enjoys part time work as a diver in zoos and aquariums, which has afforded her the chance to dive with macaroni penguins amongst other animals! This will be her first trip to the Philippines and Amy is looking forward to being part of a conservation team and getting involved with active research whilst sharing her passion for diving and the marine environment with others.
Amy’s interest in marine science really kicked off during university where she studied modules such as oceanography and conservation biology as part of her Environmental Science degree. Amy joined the Philippines expedition in 2012, learnt to dive and carried out research with the team out there. She was then able to use this for her undergraduate dissertation looking into the longer term impacts and outcomes of MPAs. From here she carried on with research in the Caribbean before returning to university to finish her degree. Amy completed her Divemaster qualification in the Caribbean and loved being able to explore and teach others about the ocean. Amy is looking forward to learning more about herself whilst teaching others about the wonders of the ocean.
Alan Kavanagh MSc
Alan has been interested in Marine Biology since an early age and first experienced the world of marine conservation with Coral Cay in 2008, as a Jack Petchey Scholar in the Philippines. With a place at Bangor University to study Marine Biology and Oceanography secured, Coral Cay gave him a head start with terminology, taxonomy and marine issues. After completing his Bachelors dissertation on whether Marine Protected Areas can increase the resilience of coral reefs he realised that an MSc was necessary to gain the jobs he wanted. After a year in Scotland studying MSc Conservation and Management of Protected Areas and a year in Devon as a Marine Education Ranger, Alan is heading back to the Philippines as Science Officer. As a PADI Rescue Diver he is also hoping to take his diving to the next level with a Divemaster qualification. Alan loves meeting new people and having an outdoors adventure, both of which can be fulfilled with Coral Cay.
Liz has joined CCC as an Education Officer in the Philippines after serving 7 years as an Officer in the US Navy. She studied at Stanford University, completing a BS in Science, Technology and Society and a MS in Earth Systems. Both programs were interdisciplinary, allowing her to combine her love of the oceans with studies in policy, conservation ethics and marine science. Chasing submarines in the Navy gave her additional perspective into the complex reality of balancing the needs of various stakeholders to meet the coals of conservation and sustainable use of the oceans. She has field research experience in Australia, Vanuatu and Monterey, served 5 years at sea, and has worked in marine education as a Beach Naturalist at Deception Pass Park in Washington State.
Richie Dunk MPhys PGCertEd MIfL
Assistant Education Officer
Richie qualified as a teacher in 2007, and has since taught science in different institutions up and down the country; his youngest student was 6 years old, and his oldest was 65. He has also worked training student nurses, been a resident tutor in a boarding school, and spent a year looking after dance and musical theatre students at a performing arts college. Richie has a background in the outdoors, particularly off-road distance running. In 2013 he ran the 200 mile long coast-to-coast route in just 6 days, raising £2,000 for a local youth work charity. Although his time in the Philippines will be Richie's first experience of teaching abroad, he hopes that it won't be the last.
Chris worked for 6 years as an oceanographer and marine biologist before becoming a doctor. His research enabled him to travel to all seven continents including studying the effect of seismic surveys on whale behaviour in Australia and attaching satellite transmitters to penguins in the Antarctic. A qualified diver with a keen interest in marine habitats and conservation Chris is excited to be involved with Coral Cay and sharing his passion with the volunteers. He is currently working as a doctor in intensive care for a major trauma centre in Bristol and been part of medical team supporting the Brazilian Jungle Ultra Marathon in the Amazon. He is looking forward to keeping the team fighting fit during this time in the Philippines.
Caroline Pegg BSc, FDBsc, HCPC
Caroline initially heard of CCC from doing a Coastal Marine Biology degree. She has always had a passion for marine conservation and is an avid charity worker. After completion of her Degree in Marine Biology her life took another direction, her passion for helping others led to a degree in Paramedic science. Caroline has been a qualified Paramedic for 4 years and has completed lots of charity work on expeditions in areas including Iceland and her own Yorkshire three peaks.