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Join a marine conservation expedition that focuses on data collection through underwater research dives; the results of which will provide long-term benefits for local communities and environmental initiatives!

Program Highlights:
  • Live and volunteer on a tropical Fijan island
  • Earn your PADI Open Water and Coral Reef Researcher Distinctive Diver Specialty dive certifications
  • Improve your diving skills and assist in the creation of a network of Marine Protected Areas
  • Discover an abundance of unique marine creatures
  • Teach local children about environmental conservation 
  • Assist the local village communtiy in managing and conserving their natural resources

Program Schedule:

Arrival Day, Friday: Arrive into Nausori International Airport (SUV). The local team will pick up volunteers from the airport and transfer them to their self-arranged accommodations for this night. These accommodations are at volunteers' own expense. We have a list of suggested affordable accommodations. 

Day 1, Saturday:  Volunteers will need to meet the team early on Saturday morning at a hostel in Suva. Upon arrival, you will be met by staff and will receive a Welcome Presentation whilst enjoying a buffet style breakfast. A pre-deployment Risk Assessment will be completed before leaving for Caqalai island the same morning. On arrival at base on Saturday evening volunteers will receive a basic base site tour before being introduced to the Caqalai community at a traditional Sevu Sevu kava ceremony. 

Day 3, Sunday: Volunteers will receive more in-depth orientation of the project and local culture. Volunteers will enter the water for a 200-meter swim and 10 minutes of treading. On Sunday evening, you will receive a briefing on the activities for the next day, and project work will begin on Monday morning.

Days 4 - 6, Monday- Friday: During the first week, non-divers will begin their theoretical and practical PADI Open Water and those already Open Water certified will  start off with a refresher course before moving on to training for their Advanced Open Water (both at no additional cost). Once you are trained up, you will begin volunteer diving, We aim to have you diving & snorkelling 1 - 2 times a day. The Emergency First Responder first aid course will be completed by all volunteers during the first week, there is a fee applicable should you want the certificate.

Days 7-8, Saturday and Sunday: Weekends are usually free for volunteers to rest or explore the area. 

Remaining Weeks: Volunteers who received their PADI Open Water certificate in Week One will work towards their PADI Advanced Open Water, which will be completed by the end of Week Two. They will begin volunteer work during Week Three. Those who completed their PADI Advanced Open Water certification during Week One will begin their volunteer work during Week Two. All volunteers will be involved in volunteer work beginning Week Three. All volunteers will conduct one to two survey dives per day, Monday-Friday and have weekends mostly free. 

On the last Saturday of your program you will be transferred to Nausori International Airport (SUV) in the morning.


Please note: Non-divers must join for a minimum of 8 weeks. You will receive both your PADI Open water & Advanced Open water certificates on the program. Volunteers who already have their PADI Open water (or equivalent)  can join for just four weeks, but may extend. Mask with snorkel, fins, booties, Delayed Surface Marker Buoy and wetsuit not included, ask for advice on renting equipment locally.

Special Offer: Discounts of 300 USD/200 GBP/250 EUR available for start dates June 2019-August 2019, that are booked before May 30, 2019 11:59 PM EST. Please contact us in order to receive this offer.

Check out what our past volunteers had to say!
 
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Location of the Project:  Caqalai Island, Fiji
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Project length:  4, 8, 12 and 24 weeks
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Arrival Airport:  Nausori International Airport (SUV)
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Volunteer Work:  Diving, research and local education initiatives
Age:  18 - 70
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Number of Volunteers:  Up to 24 international volunteers at the base camp
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Important Note:  Visa: For those travelling less than 3 months, visa can be obtained on arrival & costs 180 FJD (approximately 85 USD). If you are staying longer than 3 months, a longer term work permit is needed and this costs 632 FJD (approximately 320 USD) - we apply for your visa on your behalf & need the required documents no later than a month prior to your starting date.

What's Included

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Accommodations:  Shared, mixed gender dormitories while on the project. Volunteers must arrange their own accommodations for Arrival Day at their own expense.
Food:  Ingredients provided for cooking
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Airport Transfers:  Airport pick up within limited hours, drop-off provided upon completion of the program
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Support:  Comprehensive and professional pre-departure travel guidance, 24/7 GoEco emergency hotline, experienced local field team.

What's not Included

Flights, personal kit, travel health insurance, accommodations for the night of Arrival Day, additional drinks and gratuities, extra local excursions, international and domestic airport taxes, Mask with snorkel, fins, booties, Delayed Surface Marker Buoy and wetsuit, visas (Business visa required, must apply four weeks in advance, approx. $320 USD), personal expenses
Fiji is a stunning Melanesian country that lies in the South Pacific Ocean, just 2,000 km from New Zealand’s North Island. Surrounded by the crystal blue warm Pacific, the islands of Fiji were formed from volcanic activity, creating a majestic landscape and coral reef that make it a prime location for divers, volunteers, and eco-travel connoisseurs alike. The project itself is located on Caqalai Island in the Lomaiviti group. Here you will find white sand beaches that lead to volcanic mountainous landscapes and crystal clear lagoons, making it a stunning location for any expedition.
The expedition begins with an initial training phase involving snorkeling and dive point outs with the professional staff. During this time volunteers will learn to identify locally targeted fish species as well as benthic coral and invertebrate.

Once fully trained in species ID, volunteers will be taught several survey techniques allowing them to become a member of the 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 focussed on environmental awareness in two schools on Moturiki Island and will participate in community based work giving workshops and helping to improve water security (rain water harvesting infrastructure, compost toilets). 

Surveys are conducted twice a day, four days a week. The expedition consists of early morning starts so as to make the best of daylight hours, with a late finish of data entry and equipment preparations for the next day. The fifth day of the week is reserved for fun diving expeditions in the morning with the afternoon to relax and enjoy a barbecue. Weekends are mostly free for volunteers to either rest or explore the local area. 

Some of your tasks may include:
  • Data collection on targeted fish species
  • Coral reef resoration and mangrove habitat mapping
  • Environmental awareness and educational program development for local schools
Internet
Internet:  SIM cards can be purchased on the mainland, mobile reception available on the base.
Accommodations
Accommodations:  Shared mixed huts with shared bathroom facilities at field station. Rain water available for cooking, drinking, and washing. Accommodations for the night of Arrival Day are not included in program fee.
Food:  Ingredients for meals are provided, but volunteers will take turns preparing meals.
Please take note of this project's minimum requirements:
  • Minimum age of 18
  • Police clearance
  • Willing to work hard
  • Passion for marine conservation
  • Good level of physical fitness
  • Mask with snorkel, fins, booties, Delayed Surface Marker Buoy and wetsuit
The majority of the expedition is spent Scuba Diving; the pre-requisites for this are as follows:
  • 4 weeks: Volunteers must already have a PADI open water certification
  • 8-12 weeks: Training for PADI certification provided, after which volunteers will become a PADI Advanced Diver. 
The stunning islands of Fiji offer many fantastic activities to do in your spare time. These include: climbing volcanic mountains, cave swimming, witnessing breathtaking landscapes from white sand beaches to beautiful rivers and water falls, discovering the unique indigenous culture, learning to speak Fijian and many more. 

Program Add-Ons:  
Take your volunteering experience one step further!   
  • Take part in the Biological Survey Techniques Course for in-depth training that will allow you to effectively plan and execute your own field surveys in the future.
  • You can never be too prepared. Join the EFR Training and get certified in First Aid and CPR for adults and children.
  • Get your PADI Rescue Diver Certification and further your diving knowledge. To take part in this course you must have your EFR certification.
Please note that there is an additional cost for these programs. Biological Survey and Rescue certification courses require a minimum 8-week stay.
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