Mission & Vision
We are a Costa Rican non-governmental community initiative, with the mission of developing a community stewardship to the preservation and protection of our ocean.. We live by these ABCDs.
A ARCHAEOLOGY. We train youth and adult divers to steward archeological projects in the zone and also help assist archeologists in specialized finding and in documenting submerged artifacts of the past. Among the re-discoveries so far are two wrecks that may have been Danish slave ships from 1710 found in Cahuita National Park; the Lanchon relic in Puerto Viejo, which may have been used to help construct of the Panamá Canal in 1898, and possibly the Daisy Gray in Manzanillo, the last wooden steam cargo ship constructed in 1926 in the US.
We plan to create a virtual and material community Exhibition for all to visit. It will be comprised of the Community Cartography of Archeological artifacts and the Collection of Artifacts found by community members in the past and donated today.
B BUCEO SCUBA (Buceo means scuba diving) We train the community in scuba diving with a purpose to act as stewards to contribute to the preservation of the ocean ecosystems and our community’s coastal maritime culture.
We plan to eventually create a PADI recreational dive center as a program of our community diving center, which we will self-fund through training scuba diving courses and adventure dives for tourists and visitors to dive and to learn to respect our community heritage.
C CORAL. We conserve and contribute to the regeneration of the coral reef ecosystems. Our divers learn to identify, monitor, understand scientific data and contribute their ancestral knowledge and clean reefs. We also train the divers to remove lionfish, plastics and debris in the ocean, which interfere with fragile nursing areas for local species. One goal is to contribute to curbing the impact of climate change in our coastal communities.
We plan to develop a citizen science map and database of the total coral reef ecosystem from Limón to Punts Mona.
D DEVELOPMENT OF YOUTH We recognize that the next generation needs to lead in order for us to achieve the changes needed for a healthy planet. So we develop opportunities for youth to take lead. Specifically, we help our youth leadership in ocean and cultural preservation and also to become entrepreneurs, developing livelihoods while contributing to local sustainability causes and generating revenue that rolls back into the community.
We plan to develop Archeological and Cultural Trails Land and Sea in each town and continue supporting individual entrepreneurships like Mar-in-A-Fix, and Mr. Coconut.
“Ambassadors of the Sea” was born in 2014 as a Scuba Diving School. A dream in its making when four young Costa Rican “LionFish Warriors” who took part in a Tournament in 2013 to extract that invasive species told María Suárez Toro – then a member of APSACS fisher people’s Association that organized the tournament – that they wanted to learn to scuba dive in order to best participate in ocean conservation.
Esteban Gallo, Andy and Kevin Rodriguez Brown, later joined by Royer Colomer in the endeavor to look for someone in the area to provide them with one scuba dive adventure to experience if that is what they wanted.
After a year of searching in the Caribbean for a school to lend equipment and an n instructor to take them for a scuba dive towards what the youth called our “scuba diving school”; and after 3 schools and 3 commercial diving instructors in the area stood the youth up, María came across an independent instructor, Fredrick Wright, the only local certified PADI instructor who was willing and took the youth in their first dive.
The dive on October 20, 2014 in Arrecife, Manzanillo was a success and when María saw the spark in the eyes of the youth divers, she talked to them about creating the school. They eventually invited Frederick to become an instructor of their “school” and Fredrick gladly accepted and eventually joined the initiative. They also invited Andres Hernandez, a scuba diver of ASOPACS, to assist Frdrick in the courses and coordination of instruction.
The school created a non formal structure as a non governmental community initiative, it created its own email, a media blog and a social media facebook page in social media. It also called for donations of diving equipment and very soon, Costa Rican Fundación Acción Ya donated enough equipment for the School to develop the diving courses.
The school connected with ASOPACS as an associative endeavor, becoming a reality through the confluence of two ideas that met at the right time and in the right place, connecting the youth’s dream to dive with the non profit Association de Pescadores Artesanales del Caribe Sur (ASOpacs).
For ASOpacs with its objective of bettering the lives of fisher peoples, families and community, integrating the youth to activities in the ocean was a “community outreach” strategy.
For María and first youth, that involvement had as its foundation the fact that the new generation that has access to school education wanted to learn scuba diving skills would provide them with better opportunities to undertake their commitment with the ocean and communities and their opportunities.
The initiative was officially inaugurated in an activity with government authorities of the National Learning Institute (INA in Spanish) on december 9, 2014 in Puerto Viejo and the first scuba diving course was convened with 4 youth founders and four daughters and sons of fishermen.
Together they developed that first diving course in March, 2015; they also developed a children’s diving campa; lionfish extractions; they visited schools together; together the organized a LionFish Tournament in 2015 that for the first time in an ASOpacs event, also included a day of Scuba Diving Lionfish Catch. Meanwhile the School continued teaching scuba diving among youth.
Very soon in 2015 the School became a Centro Comunitario de Buceo Embajadores y Embajadoras del Mar, considering it was already more than a diving school, much beyond youth as community outreach, creating its motto :diving with a purpose”, a structure as a non formal non governmental community initiative, creating its own email, media blog and social media venue in Facebook and creating a donation system where Fundación Accion Ya donated enough diving equipment to develop a training program in 2015 to create opportunities for youth.
Finally, in 2016, at the request of the Center’s coordination at an ASOpacs board meeting, they agreed to a friendly separation, which was finalized in a document that recognized the contribution that each initiative had made to the other, but separating for Centro to be able to grow as a youth project, beyond artisanal fishing.
So it was that the CCBEM began archeology, developing a first seminar with the University of Costa Rica; continued diving for the purpose of youth leadership development and eventually, based on monitoring the capture of lionfish and scuba monitoring in corals with SINAC in the Cahuita National Park, organized its own comprehensive project for youth.
Our Team’s Board
Royer Steven Colomer Leiva
Esteban Jesus Gallo Madrigal
Maraya Jiménez Taysigue
Anderson Rodriguez Brown
Anumi Sassaroli Oriana
María Suárez Toro
Vocal of the Board