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Dive into a marine conservation opportunity in the tropical Caribbean Sea!

Program Highlights:
  • Experience the tropical life by living and diving into, the sparkling Caribbean
  • Learn how to dive or enhance your current dive skills with the assistance of professionals
  • Explore the world's second-largest reef system, the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef
  • Learn from experts how to properly conduct photo identification and survey dives
  • Enjoy free weekends and explore all of Mexico's hidden gems

Program Schedule:
 

Arrival Day, Friday:  Arrive into Cancun International Airport (CUN). The local field team will pick up volunteers from the airport and transfer you to self-arranged pre-program accommodations. The accommodations fee for this night is not included in program fee.

Program Start, Saturday: Meet the local team at a hotel in Puerto Morelos in the morning at 10:00.

Week One, Sunday-Friday: First aid training is conducted and all volunteers will do a swim test (not timed). An orientation of oxygen use is given. PADI Open Water dive courses begin for non-divers or for those already certified, a refresher dive is scheduled. Marine-based lectures are given by science officers and will continue for the duration over the first 2- 3 weeks of the expedition. Volunteers are given a tutorial on either fish or coral and begin to study in their spare time taking computer tests as frequently as they like. In water science training begins. An introduction of community work will be done when it best suits the group. 

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/snorkels per day, Monday-Friday and have weekends mostly free. 
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At the end of your program the local team will arrange for you to be transferred to Puerto Morelos town centre. Remember you need to wait 24 hours between your last dive and flying. We recommend you do not book a flight out of Cancun until at least 6:00 PM, though you may want to leave time to explore a little more.

Please note: Volunteers who are not both PADI Open Water and PADI Advanced Open Water certified divers must join the program for a minimum of eight weeks. They will receive both certificates on the program. Volunteers who only have their PADI Open Water certification(or equivalent)  can join for minimum of 4 weeks but may extend, and will receive their PADI Advanced Open Water certification. Mask, snorkel, fins, westuit and Inflatable Surface Marker Buoy with spool reel not included.

Special Offer: Special offer available for participants who sign up before January 31, 2019. Contact us for more information on receiving this grant.
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Location of the Project:  Puerto Morelos, Mexico
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Project length:  4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9,10,11, 12 or 24 weeks
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Arrival Airport:  Cancun International Airport (CUN)
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Volunteer Work:  Marine life data collection, beach conservation
Age:  18 - 65
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Number of Volunteers:  Up to 24 volunteers and 8 staff
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Important Note:  Both the Open Water and Advanced Open Water PADI certifications are included in the project fees.

What's Included

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Accommodations:  Mixed-gender, shared dorm rooms on research base. There is electricity and cold running water at the accommodations.
Food:  Three meals a day, some prepared by volunteers themselves
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Airport Transfers:  Included upon request on the night before the start date. If you arrive before then, transport will not be provided (a bus from the airport to Puerto Morelos Town will cost around $6)
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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, visa, personal expenses, travel health insurance, transportation to airport upon completion of the program, Mask, snorkel, fins, westuit and Inflatable Surface Marker Buoy with spool reel.
This project is located in Puerto Morelos. Mexico, which is only half an hour away from the popular tourist area of Play del Carmen. 
The monitoring stage of the program does not begin straight away; the training process for this is extensive and can take around 5 to 6 weeks depending on volunteers' skills and if the weather permits. It includes a combination of diving training, book-based learning, identifying species specific to the region, and data collection techniques. Four-week volunteers will be doing a simpler methodology.
The main program focuses will be monitoring the health of coral reefs through monitoring the corals and fish. Volunteers are divided into fish or coral by the onsite Science Officer dive officer. The 4 to 8 week volunteers will be allocated to learn fish families where they study either adult or juvenile fish, they may also be able to help with and learn Coral Watch. If volunteers progress quickly they may learn both. Coral is divided into the study of sessile organisms on the reef and coral diseases, this will be done on base once they have learned the coral species list. 

Other programmes which will run throughout the year as and when they are needed to be completed:   
  • Coral restoration nurseries
  • Turtle photo id and monitoring 
  • Seagrass monitoring and mapping 
  • Tourist impact assessment , 
  • Turtle nesting (seasonal) monitoring around the area, 
  • Incidental sightings recording
  • Lionfish population studies & eradication program 
  • Weekly beach cleans 
  • Teaching in the local schools in town, and outreach work to assist the community and promote conservation practices

The educational standards of this program are extremely high. Volunteers will receive materials to study and learn before arrival. Additionally, the first few weeks of training consists of some lectures to be accompanied by further required studying.

The first  3-4 weeks are devoted to training. During this period you will be learning both in the water (about 1 dive per day/ 1 snorkel per day) as well as in a classroom setting.

Your daily schedule will include:
  • PADI open water certification and Advanced open water certification (for those not certified already)
  • Studying the local species
  • Data collection techniques (both underwater and on land)
  • Beach cleans
  • Coral Restoration Nurseries
  • Cooking and daily chores
  • Rinsing equipment, filling tanks
  • Attending lectures 
  • Community outreach in environmental education
  • Following training, you will enter the monitoring phase of your volunteering, which will include 1 or 2 dives/snorkels a day including data collection underwater on the fish and coral status.

Five days a week will be devoted to your volunteer work. These days can often be quite long and tiring, beginning around 6 am. If the Scientific dives are going to plan, the fifth day may be dedicated to fun dives in the morning, and relaxing in the evening but of course cannot be guaranteed. Weekends are your free time.

Please note: The aim is to get every volunteer out on as many dives as possible, however the weather does not always permit diving. Volunteers must have a flexible attitude about this, as you will not be allowed to dive in unsafe conditions. 
Internet
Internet:  You will have limited connection whilst on the program. Volunteers can rent SIM cards or use the internet in cafes in Puerto Morelos.
Laundry
Laundry:  You can wash your clothes on base (hand washing) or take them to Puerto Morelos town on your day off. Cost is around US$2.50 per kilo with a minimum charge of around US$3.75. Please note that as part of your volunteer duties, you will be asked to do daily chores around the site. These include cleaning bathrooms and communal areas, cooking, preparing the boat, raking the grounds, or any other duties to ensure the base runs smoothly.
Accommodations
Accommodations:  Mixed-gender, shared dorm rooms on research base. There is electricity and cold running water at the accommodations. There is bottled water available for cooking and drinking only. Cold water for showering and flush toilet facilities.
Food:  Volunteers prepare their own breakfast from our choice of cereals. During work days lunch and dinner is prepared by a local cook, on weekends participants cook their own meals. Food is a very basic, mostly vegetarian diet, with meat available about once a week. Breakfast could be porridge, fruit or cereal, lunch is beans, vegetables, pasta and sauce, etc. and a typical evening meal may include lentils, pasta, beans, rice and vegetables. Local restaurants are also an option at your own cost during weekends.
Please take note of this project's minimum requirements:
  • 4-week volunteers must be PADI Open Water certified upon arrival
  • Police clearance
  • Minimum age of 18 years
  • Basic level of English
  • Good physical shape
  • Must complete the medical form and PADI medical statement. If “yes” to any medical statements, must have a doctor sign approval for the program. 
  • Mask, snorkel, fins, westuit and Inflatable Surface Marker Buoy with spool reel 
Regarding PADI certifications:
If you are only volunteering for 4 weeks, you MUST have your Open Water Diving certificate before starting at the project. While at the project, you can earn your Advanced Open Water PADI certificate.

If you are volunteering at the project for at least 8 weeks, you can earn both your Open Water and Advanced Open Water PADI certificates while at the project.

Both the Open Water and Advanced Open Water PADI certifications are included in the project fees.
There are no included program excursions, however volunteers have Saturdays and Sundays to explore the grounds or go off base to discover the surrounding area. There is a lot to see around Akumal,  as well as access to other hot tourist spots such as Playa del Carmen, Cancun, the Biosphere Reserve, and even Merida. 

Program Add-Ons (Not Included):
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. Available for volunteers staying for 8 weeks or more.
  • You can never be too prepared. Join the EFR training and get certified in First Aid and CPR for adults and children. Available for volunteers staying for 4 weeks or more.
  • Get your PADI Rescue Diver certification and further your diving knowledge. To take part in this course you must have your EFR certification. Available for volunteers staying 8 weeks or more.
  • Get both your First Aid and Rescue Diver certifications together! Available for volunteers staying 8 weeks or more.
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