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Shark Conservation Research Diver Program
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Shark Conservation Research Diver Program

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

It's great being substrate

Having done Shark volunteer work in other parts of the world, this was another exciting opportunity for myself to get involved in protecting our oceans top predators. However, this was my first time doing research dives (a daunting prospect when first considered), but i'm so so happy to say that I had nothing to worry about! Rory & Zara are probably the most down to earth, approachable and kind coordinators i've ever met and that's just them! Both of them were so knowledgeable about both diving and the science behind the research program and would never hesitate to answer any questions you had. Living at Villa Nangka really did feel like a home from home, on an island which is impossible not to fall in love with.

Normal days include waking up early to set your dive gear, having a good breakfast, dive briefing and then doing your Survey dives for the day (I still, to this day, cannot believe this is classed as work!) After the days diving, we'd return to Nangka for data input, Turtle identification or lectures.

Sunday and Monday are your 'off' days, this is a chance for you to go on a 'fun' dive (like all diving isnt fun??) or take the time to relax and explore the rest of the Island. On my visit, me and the other volunteers decided to visit Gili Trawangan, the largest of the Gili's, to experience the night life. The normal ferries run very early in the morning, but we managed to speak some locals who took people out snorkeling and for a small price, they drove us over at a more convenient time!

All in all, this experience is one I will never forget. For those interested in pursuing a career in diving or marine biology, this is a great opportunity to learn new techniques, skills and meet great people along the way!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    9

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Day to Day Life

    10

An unreal experience

Writing a review is honestly so hard for this program because there are so many memories and things to share about the program. I have not done many other volunteer program abroad but I there are somethings that I really appreciated about this particular program.
1. The freedom. This program allows you to eat anywhere you want, do whatever you want after work hours, and do whatever you want on the weekends. The flexibility is nice and allows you to have your own unique experience. At the same time there is structure in the program that you shouldn't be alone wondering what to do.
2. The staff. The program leaders, dive instructors, housing staff, boat crew, all wonderful and down to earth people. Never had a problem with anyone and became quite close friends. It's also awesome when you get closer to the locals because you don't feel like such a tourist. Dive instructors that I had were very professional and made me a much better diver. Housing staff at villa Nangka were unbelievably friendly and made the place feel like home from day 1.
3. Diving. The Gili Islands are not top tier diving spots but their are lots of turtles, reef sharks, rays, and macro life! Not every dive will blow your mind but this is an area that needs conservation work so that one day it will. Also, the program offers 8 dives a week which is a crazy amount of dives. I stayed 7 weeks and got over 50 dives..

All in all I can't say this is the fanciest but the work you put in is very real and you will be surrounded by amazing people, guaranteed. Unforgettable experience.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Not just fish ID, not just a holiday

If you're looking for a way to gain some conservation, research or dive experience, this project is for you! I joined to get practical dive and research experience prior to applying for graduate school, but I gained so much more than that. You will get to experience Indonesia in a much more real way than passing through for a week on holiday. You live in an area with locals and build a social life with them and the other volunteers. It really feels like you are living here, not just visiting. I have acquired some lifelong friends, potential future colleagues and invaluable research skills. I would advise doing the project for longer than 3 weeks if you want to get your hands on every aspect of the research and community outreach, as there are so many things going on here on Gili Air. You really don't want to miss out on any part of it. You will leave with basic data collection skills, an abundance of dive experience, species identification skills, data entry experience and even a bit of underwater photography and photo id skills. These are all points of interest for a work and university application.