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Belize Marine Conservation & Diving
Frontier participants Frontier participants

Belize Marine Conservation & Diving

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

My time in Caye Caulker

My name is Natalie, I have traveled to Caye Caulker, Belize from Ontario, Canada. I have come here to take part in the Frontier volunteer dive program for 3 weeks. Being a part of the frontier dive program here in Belize has been an incredible experience ! I have done many dives previous to this program but they were always for recreational purposes. The purpose of the dives done with frontier is to collect data. Its a really different experience while diving and I have really enjoyed it! We partake in surveys such as coral transects, coral colony counting, lobster surveys, lionfish surveys, seagrass surveys, etc. I have gain a lot of knowledge while being a part of this program, I like that now when I go diving and Im looking at the underwater world I know the species I am observing and I have an understanding of how life under the sea works. There are other volunteers here that I work alongside who are a part of other programs such as manatee conservation and beach conservation. Dagny, our principal investigator has done a wonderful job of mixing the three programs together so that I and the other volunteers are able to work together and be a part of extra things than was planned for us. For example we have planted mangroves which is a part of the beach conservation program. I now have my own mangrove nursery growing on the north island of Caye Caulker named « Nat`s Nursery ». I hope one day I can return to see it completely grown over. We live on the northern point of the north island. It is very quiet and peaceful here, One of my favourite spots is the hammock at the end of our dock. I like to lay out there at sunset with my island best friend, fury, the camps dog. Back home in Canada I often begin my work day just before sundown and late into the night. The island life is much different. Here we begin our work in the morning and we always finish at sundown. Which gives us the evening to wind down and relax with friends or in our own space. Its so nice to have time for me, sometimes at home it feels impossible to just relax and take time for me. I only have a few more days to be a part of this program which is very upsetting. The project coordinators and my fellow volunteers have become like a family to me (fury included) but I am most definitely satisfied with my time here on this island and I will be leaving feeling like I`ve made a difference in Belize just as Belize has made a difference in me.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Amazing

I have spent the past 6 months on Caye Caulker as part on the Marine Conservation Project. During my time here I have gained a lot of experience in the field of conservation which will help me towards a career in Conservation. The projects here focus on the coral reef and the impact that humans are having, being able not only experience our impact on the ocean has first hand but to then educate others in how we can change this is extremely rewarding. We live on a remote basecamp on the north part of the island where everyday we are treated to the most incredible sunsets every evening. Cooking on base is fun, we buy fresh vegetables and create dishes from Thai curry to pastas and even crepes! This island is truly a magical place and will be sad to say goodbye!

Overall Rating

6/ 10

  • Day to Day Life

    8

  • Health & Safety

    6

  • Community Engagement

    5

  • Living Situation

    6

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Volunteer Placement

    6

first two weeks in Belize

Belize is a fantastic vibrant and laid back country with some superb diving and marine life. I completed my PADI advanced open water through the project and the instructors have been excellent. I have also been lucky enough to dive with many sea turtles, rays, nurse sharks and even some manatee since being here. I have also just finished the training process for coral identification and classification and I am now an active participant in surveying and protecting the reef.

The camp where the volunteers live is an isolated (about 15 mins by boat to the local town) fisheries dept. ranger station surrounded by a forest and marine reserve (the targets of the conservation activity). Life here is fairly basic - there is no running water. I do however, feel like the 'back to nature approach' of the project adds to its charm (even if the insects and heat detract from it somewhat).

Socialising with my fellow volunteers has been great fun and the fisheries rangers are genuinely a laugh a minute (watch out for Mr. Fid...). We dive most mornings and make it into town on Caye Caulker regularly in the afternoons, which gives you a chance to use the wifi (as I am currently) and buy a beer. Caye Caulker is small but has plenty of good bars and restaurants as it is something of a backpackers destination. I feel really safe here and the Belizeans are some of the freindliest people I have ever met. I have only been here a couple of weeks and already have some good mates amongst the locals.

I would recommend this project to anyone who loves life outdoors and, of course, diving. However if you'd rather be in a cushy hotel this probably isn't for you.