It was my first solo trip and first volunteer experience. I chose the Belize Private Island Marine Experience. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I met awesome and friendly people from different places in the world. All so different yet we had the same goal; to obtain knowledge and help the marine ecosystem. I learned many things and nothing was forced upon us. We did what we felt comfortable doing. Lionfish are an invasive species, destroying the corals and unbalancing the marine ecosystem in the Caribbean Sea. We speared 164 lionfish in two weeks. They taught us how to fillet them and I got to dissect over 20. We got to do some surveys, conch and lobster. There was a fish ID lecture to get more knowledge on the fish that we would see. It was nice cause I got an idea of what fish I was looking at while diving. I was capable to differentiate between the species.
Another highlight was that I got PADI certified. They don’t cut corners on the certification, therefore I felt confident and ready to dive up to 70ft. The dive master and instructors are always there to guide us and help us if needed underwater. We did 3 dives a day and one night dive as well. It was tiring but very worth it.
Not only do we volunteer but we get to see such beautiful aquatic life. It was an amazing experience; I definitely gained a new perspective and more awareness of the issues humans and other animals are doing to the ecosystem. I would recommend it to anyone looking for underwater fun and work.