I spent one month at the Marine and Turtle Conservation project in the Maldives and it was a really positive experience. Although it was my first volunteer project and I wasn’t sure what to expect, I was surprised not only by how much effort the two Marine Biologists put in to teach us volunteers about fish, corals, marine conservation, but also by their work on future projects of the local organization. They were both enthusiastic and passionate about their roles and shared their enthusiasm with us.
Compared to other animal and conservation projects, we were “up close and personal” with the sea turtles, which I appreciated very much. Of course they are not pets, but once you get to know them (yes, they all have names), it was so much more than just feeding them and cleaning their tanks.
Apart from the daily routine and some other work that we did, there was always enough time to go snorkeling. There were different snorkeling grounds close by (and once a week we went on an excursion a bit further away) and I discovered something new every time. Another part of the experience was living on a local Maldivian island – which seemed worlds away from the resort islands. I’m very happy to have had the opportunity to experience the “real Maldivians”, who are very kind and tolerant people.
For the organization of the entire trip, I can only praise the staff. Even though some unforeseeable situations arose, they were always handled in a very professional manner. So all in all, I spent a fantastic month on the Maldives and thinking back always brings a smile on my face.