After an exciting excursion to Baja California Sur, Sandra couldn't wait to tell us all about her experience on the Shark Research And Conservation Project. Check out our interview below to learn all about this incredible Mexican adventure!
What was the highlight of your trip?
The main part of my job was surveying the abundant marine wildlife. There were the very totally cool and laid-back whale sharks; some extremely shy pelagic sharks; the wildly jumping mobula rays; and the serenading whales with their inquisitive and sweet babies. But the highlight of the show were my new marine friends, the playful and hilarious sea lions! Whenever we snorkelled or scuba-dived near them, they would come and entertain us with acrobatic swimming stunts and distract us from our work by gently nipping our fins and wetsuits. It was like they wanted to say: “Come play with us!” I had the greatest time making circular bubbles with my regulator which the seals then tried to catch with their cute, whiskery snouts.
Would you go back, or to any other projects?
I would go back to this project anytime. Clara and Yago, the project marine biologists, are absolutely competent not only in their field of work but also as passionate teachers and gracious hosts. In their very resourceful and caring way, they make the volunteers welcome and create a home away from home in Baja California. I particularly enjoyed the way the team shared their extensive knowledge about all factors of marine wildlife and its habitat, as well as conservation and protection issues. It was a pleasure to get substantial answers to all of my shark questions and I felt very safe with the team at all times.
Of course, my experience on the Shark Research and Conservation Project has piqued my curiosity, and I’m positive that I will look into other volunteer projects in the future!
What are your trips for new travellers?
If you are interested in conservation and protection and you really want to do something useful, joining a volunteer project is the greatest way to get involved. Be prepared to step out of your comfort zone but be rewarded with so much insight and also quite a lot of fun!
If you had to describe your trip in 3 words, what would they be?
Sunny, educational, unforgettable.
Did the trip inspire you to help animal conservation in any other ways?
I have learned that volunteer projects are a good way to let actions speak louder than words.
Why do you think people need to travel?
By interacting with new people, cultures, situations and experiences, you will gain a wide range of understanding of how the world around you works. It opens your mind and helps you to reconsider your values and beliefs. Travelling enhances your confidence and lets you find where your personal priorities must lie.
We'll be running this fantastic project again in the new year, so stay tuned for further information on dates and availability!
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Come face to face with one of the world’s most misunderstood predators whilst aiding great white shark conservation. As a volunteer, not only will you get the incredible opportunity to dive with sharks, but you will also assist the team in raising awareness of the great white as you work alongside tourists and local school children to provide them with knowledge of the local environment and the importance of living in harmony with South Africa’s marine life.
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