Location: Caqalai Island, Fiji
Duration: 4-12 weeks commitment
Start Dates: Project starts on a Saturday with set start dates throughout the year. Check with us when applying.
Cost: from £2,595 for 4 weeks. Check the Costs tab for further information.
Includes: All food, accommodation, airport pickup, orientation and all project related activities
Does not Include: flights, travel insurance, visas and vaccinations
- Help combat plastic pollution hands-on, by taking part in beach and ocean floor clean-ups
- Get maximum time in the turquoise waters of the Pacific, allowing you to hone your scuba diving skills.
- Get to know the local community and teach children about various environmental topics, depending on the yearly curriculum, at weekly school visits
- Immerse yourself in the Fijian way of life by observing traditional ceremonies or learning to speak Fijian.
Join us on Fiji’s Caqalai island, working closely with the Fiji Locally Managed Marine Area Network and other local NGOs to identify the best ways to assist the community to conserve and protect their marine resources, including corals. Together, we have identified the following research priorities, data collection on targeted fish and coral reef species, habitat mapping for coral reefs and marine environments, development of an environmental education and awareness program for local schools and communities, development of marine and terrestrial environmental best practice on Caqalai Island, and supporting community development initiatives on neighbouring islands.
This project gives you the opportunity to contribute to key marine conservation objectives identified by local Fijian organisations. You do not have to have previous experience, simply a keen interest in marine conservation, snorkeling, and diving. The program starts with training provided by our team of scientists, research divers, dive instructors, and local Fijians. The engaging presentations and workshops are not only limited to coral studies but also other marine benthic life forms, like sponges, lobsters, and crabs, other organisms that live on the ocean floor. During the section of the training related to coral reefs, you will learn about the basic types of corals including branching, encrusting, and massive species, as well as their life cycles. You will also learn more about threats to coral reefs and how coral bleaching occurs. Once your training is complete, volunteers will carry out coral surveys to monitor recovery of the reef after Cyclone Winston and coral bleaching events. Volunteers don’t focus on identifying all coral species in Fijian waters, but specifically on noting the species under the Acropora genus, famous for their large branching forms that look much like horns. Acropora species are incredibly abundant in Fijian waters and all the other corals on the survey are defined as non-Acropora species.
The results of these reef surveys are collated by volunteers, interns, and staff, and then presented to the local community organisations. This data, along with alternative livelihood methods and marine management strategies can help local stakeholders to make informed decisions with regards to protecting their vital marine resources and by extension their economy and long-term food security. Depending on the needs of the local partner organisations at the time, you may also take part in other important marine conservation projects like beach cleans or ocean floor clean ups and environmental education programs in local schools or with community groups. In this way, this program allows volunteers to directly address United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #14, Life Below Water.
We has partnered with local NGOs and organizations in order to identify the best ways to assist the community to conserve and protect their marine resources. The following research priorities have been identified:
- Data collection on targeted fish and reef species
- Habitat mapping for coral reefs and marine environments
- Development of an environmental education and awareness program for local schools and communities.
- Development of terrestrial and marine environmental best practice on Caqalai Island
- Supporting various community development initiatives on neighbouring islands
Depending on the duration of your expedition, dive qualified volunteers will be trained in the identification of invertebrate, fish or benthic (coral) target species and life forms. Once fully trained in species ID, volunteers will be taught several survey techniques allowing them to become a member of our data collection survey team building an inventory of marine species in Moturiki waters.
- Marine expedition volunteers will also have the chance to assist in the delivering lessons focused on environmental awareness in two schools on Moturiki Island.
- Non-divers can join the Expeditions for 8 weeks or more and gain their Open Water, Advanced Open water and Coral Reef Research Diver certifications. 4 week vols will gain their Advanced Open Water certification.
- The project runs Monday to Friday and days are busy with presentations, dive training, point out snorkels and dives, and data collection snorkels and dives, running alongside the daily chores required to keep the base operational. Once volunteers have completed their training in their allocated area, they are welcome to become survey ready in another – should time allow.
Travel & Accom.
Accommodation on base is in shared (mixed sex) facilities with shared bathroom facilities. Flush toilet facilities are available, and participants share base duties, including cleaning and other chores. There is rain water available for cooking, drinking, and washing. Ground water is pumped for other ablutions. Careful water conservation is necessary, and water may be rationed during droughts. Basic flush toilet facilities and cold-water showers are available.
Food is very basic, and most volunteers will prepare their own breakfasts, usually toast and cereals, and packed lunches to eat at the project site. You will be split into teams to prepare the evening meal on a rotational basis, which is loads of fun, but also encourages team building. All dietary requirements will be catered for accordingly.
- Minimum age 18
- Be keen and enthusiastic to get involved in the project
- Ability to work within a team environment
- Minimum 4 weeks commitment
- CRB Police check (or equivalent) showing that you have no previous criminal convictions
- Signed medical form
- PADI medical form
- Good English skills
- Necessary vaccinations
- Necessary flight & visas
- Full travel & medical insurance. Full assistance will be provided in getting everything you will need ready if you choose our Placement Support Package.
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** All payments incur a 5% bank transfer fee
*** Placements are confirmed with a 20% deposit.
Project Fee includes;
- Airport pickup
- In-country support
- All project activities.
What’s not included:
- Visas (if applicable)
Full assistance will be provided in getting all these arranged if you choose our Premium Support.
Premium Support Upgrade
We understand there’s a great deal to plan and organise for your trip. When booking a Placement, many of our participants choose to purchase our Premium Support Upgrade to benefit from the expertise, knowledge and experience of our Project Coordinators.
We can provide the personal advice you need to ensure your trip is organised with excellence and planned with efficiency; ensuring the very best experience possible. Read more about how we can help you.
Note: Map coordinates are approximate