A Week in the Life of a Marine Conservation Volunteer at Raja Ampat

A Week in the Life of a Marine Conservation Volunteer at Raja Ampat

Posted by Michael Starbuck on 16th May 2014

We love to hear how volunteers have gotten on at the projects, and this week we have been fortunate enough to receive 8 weeks worth of a diary blog from Olivia, who was out volunteering at the 'Raja Ampat Diving Project'.

We won't post all 8 weeks worth - instead here follows a sample 'week in the life of' volunteers out at this incredible project - located in one of the least chartered regions of the world:

"Day 1 - We had two awesome dives in the morning before the boat headed off to Waisai to collect other volunteers.Yesterday we had two dives, the first one was a fish focused dive, where we saw a beautiful big cuttlefish - which is at the moment my favorite thing in the ocean! They are so cool and strange, in a good way! I couldn't stop looking at it! The second divewas an algae and invert trail transect dive - which I thankfully passed! In the evening, facilitator Chris had a lecture about plankton which was super interesting as I didn't know much about plankton at all.

Day 2- Today we were supposed to dive at 'Manta Sandy' to see the manta rays, but the current was too strong so we had to abort the dive which was a shame. Luckily, I got to dive at Lalousi instead and that was absolutely beautiful - there were so many fish! In the evening we had a night dive which was awesome, as I love night dives. We saw lots of stuff including a baby swimming feather star (maybe 2-3 cm big), a baby swimming flatworm, and a little white dwarf cuttlefish. We also saw a super cool robust ghost pipefish! It was really funny, I was pointing it out to one of the other divers and was super excited, but because it is so camouflaged she didn't see it and thought I was going crazy about a bit of seaweed!

Day 3 - This morning I had another fish focussed dive, after which we took the boat to 'Blue Magic' which was really pretty - it is probably the most beautiful dive I've done here so far! We saw lots of fish and corals plus a swimming wobbegong shark! After we went to Waisai and spent the afternoon on the Internet - contacting all out family and friends back at home!

Day 4 - Today was Sunday which means a 'dive free day', but that didn't stop us being in the water! Myself, Varsha, Arno and Chis went out on a beautiful snorkel past the main jetty. We were out for almost two hours and we saw so much stuff including a big octopus, a 1.5 metre sea crate (snake), a few squid, a black tip reef shark and lots of fishes and corals! During the afternoon, we helped to teach basic English lessons for the adults here in the village which is lots of fun! They are so eager to learn! In the evening, Project Leader Simon had bought lots of stuff from Sorong so that we could have a bbq! A great evening was had with the group and lots of laughs. In the evening Githa and Tom had prepared a few videos about the ocean and mantas for the locals. They all seemed to enjoy it, especially the kids! Then myself and some others slept on the jetty under the moon and stars which was absolutely magical.

This morning we went to Yenbukwan to teach! Myself, Flora and Githa had the little kids who are as cute as usual! We split them into two groups and we taught them the alphabet and about animals that began with a, b, c and so on. For some reason, Flora's group were really well behaved and nice and my group were wild! Afterwards, myself, Cedric, Leah and Renee had a nice survey in 'Yenbuba', where we saw a black tip reef shark, a hawksbill sea turtle, a pretty trumpet fish and two super-cool nudibranches. The second dive of the day was at 'Manta Sandy' which was really nice. Everytime I'm there I just sit myself down with my legs crossed holding my fins with my hands and watch and admire the mantas - they are so vast and graceful! When we got back I took about seven of the local kids out snorkelling, bringing the life buoy so they could hang on to that instead of me when they got tired..."


Wow - doesn't it sound incredible? If you are interested in joining this project and having this experience for yourself, all whilst aiding marine conservation, then please visit our project page here. Alternatively, email us at [email protected] or contact us via phone (+44(0)208 885 4987). We look forward to hearing from you!


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