Manual and Pinar behind Project Manaia are on a mission to save our oceans before it’s too late, focusing on some of the world's last untouched coral reefs. As avid GoSun Ambassadors, we used the opportunity to learn more about their vitally important work.
We have been watching your adventures for afar, diving into breathtaking oceans in what seems to be paradise. What is Project Manaia and what is the goal of all this ocean exploration?
Project Manaia is a small NGO focused in South East Asia, with the long-term goal of protecting the precious Oceans we all share. We provide a platform for NGOs, researchers, and enthusiasts to conduct the vitally important work that is needed to better understand the impacts of climate change, over fishing and the biodiversity that is being lost in a rapidly changing ocean.
We are currently campaigning to make the Mergui Archipelago in Myanmar a protected area before it can be impacted by tourism, in the way the Maldives have suffered, resulting a complete collapse of much of the reef's ecosystem (also known as "bleaching").
After this, we will be working on a big reef restoration Project over in the Philippines, so it stays exciting.
What's the most magical thing you've seen in the ocean so far?
Too many to put them all down. But I guess a humpback whale in the middle of the night swimming through fluorescent plankton. The whole animal just glowed in the water while swimming alongside the ship.
Judging from your YouTube channel, you make good use of your GoSun Sport. What about the Sport makes it a go-to solution for your work?
MANUEL: We (Pinar and myself) absolutely love the GoSun! Certainly one of our favorite pieces on Board. First off it makes for easy cooking without a lot of effort and it keeps the cabins cool since we don’t have to use the burner. Really, there should be one on every boat out there and so far everyone who saw it loved the piece!
PINAR: I never used solar oven before GoSun Sport. When Manuel showed me that I did not get excited till the time I start to use it. It became a hobby to figure out recipes we can do with our oven. Sometimes I was cooking non-stop all day while we have Sun. One of our friends told us that it would be good idea to do a solar cooking youtube series, so we started working on it. It's great for cooking on board or beach. We can carry it everywhere we need to go. Like Manuel said we love it!
Do you have a favorite recipe?
MANUEL: My personal favorite so far is certainly PIZZA! Yes, that’s right, we made slim but extremely tasty pizza in our GoSun Sport - recipe will follow on youtube soon :-) PINAR: Mine is obviously Baked Banana. (See their YouTube Playlist for the complete collection of GoSun Recipes)
Manuel, you seem very passionate about your work. What inspired this direction in your life?
I guess a big step was snorkeling on a reef for the very first time when I was 10, that’s when I decided to go for Marine Biology. I never thought I would end up on a Greenpeace ship and even less that I would start my own NGO! But it feels like this is the best and most effective way to push for change in a good direction, rather focused in one spot at a time but at least change is instantly visible. However we do still need any kind of support we can get and right now unfortunately, it's mostly financial.
With all the environmental problems our oceans are facing today, what have you seen that gives you hope for the future?
I see a lot of positive change around already, entire countries banning plastic bags, somewhat reasonable fisheries policies being put in place (and sometimes even followed) I see that people start asking questions and voices are getting loud calling “NO MORE” on politicians and regulations. All this gives me hope, but seeing what is really going on at sea pulls me straight back into reality and makes me realise that every single one of us will have to keep pushing if we want to be sure there will still be coral reefs in 20 years from now, or fish in the ocean in 30 years from now (Some biologists predict that the last fish will be caught in 2048!). And since HOPE is the best thing we got I gotta keep hoping, caring and fighting for the oceans.
For more info on the state of our oceans and what we can do about it, give Manuel's TED X talk a listen or visit their website here.
To support their initiative, sponsor their story on Patreon.com or use promo code "ProjectManaia" to save 10% off any of our products and we will donate 10% of the purchase price.
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Matt Gillespie is an industrial designer, permaculture educator, and co-founder of GoSun. He has lectured periodically on permaculture, crowdfunding, and renewable energy technology at the University of Cincinnati's DAAP and Mother Earth News Fairs across the country. An avid gardener, cyclist and outdoor explorer, Matt brings his passion for connecting and serving others to the GoSun Team.