Raja Ampat Diving Project
The extent of this project's importance is only just being discovered. Incredibly, the oceans that surround Raja Ampat contain 80% of the world's coral species, 1350 species of fish, 6 of the world's 7 marine turtle species and 27 varieties of marine mammal. Divers here have the chance to encounter sperm whales and watch them feed, witness turtles laying their eggs and dive amongst a kaleidoscope of tropical fish.
Raja Ampat's unique position on the cusp of two oceans - the Indian and the Pacific - is the reason for the area's incredible biodiversity. Powerful deep-sea currents sweep nutrients into Raja Ampat's reefs, the life source for its booming marine populations. The same currents carry the region's larvae across the oceans to repopulate reefs in other parts of the ocean. This area's importance to marine conservation extends far beyond its tropical borders.
This project is working in partnership with the local government and communities to protect these incredible coral reefs and the people that rely on them, from threats such as over-fishing and coral destruction. But these efforts are not effective unless supported by the will of the local people. This is an important part of this marine conservation project, which works to bridge the gap between the reef ecosystem and the local communities.
Start Dates are once a month on a Wednesday.
Transfer to the ferry port (opposite the Meridian Hotel) from your hotel and catch a boat to the project site on Arborek Island. Spend the rest of the day settling in, exploring the project site and meeting your fellow volunteers. This is the perfect time in which to take in the beauty of Raja Ampat - one of the most pristine marine environments anywhere on earth!
A typical week day on the project consists of two survey dives and time spent on one or more of the numerous community projects within the local area. Depending on the weather conditions, volunteers either start the first survey dive at 9 am or visit the local community to assist on a community project.
After lunch, volunteers will complete another survey-dive.
Saturdays are reserved for leisure dives in the morning and free afternoons with Sunday being a complete no dive day to allow recovery time. This time can be spent sunbathing, playing beach volleyball or football, swimming, snorkelling, exploring the island, visiting the local village.
If you are unqualified, you will complete your PADI Open Water and Advanced Open Water qualifications this week
From this week, you will continue your survey dives and time spent on various community projects. As a PADI Advanced Open Water Qualified diver, you will have the opportunity to complete your Emergency First Response and Rescue Diver qualifications (at an additional cost)
Unfortunately today is your last day and you will transfer back to Sorong for one final night before catching your return flight home or for commencement of independent travel plans.
On this project, you will get the chance to take part in a wide variety of exciting activities. Below are examples of some of those included in this project.
Coral reef conservation and monitoring
This will be conducted via two research dives a day from Monday to Friday. The main purpose of this is to produce detailed coastal habitat maps of the surrounding area for use in advising local government and communities on Marine Protected Areas.
Working within local communities
Marine conservation volunteers may be involved with teaching English to the school children and other community members. They may also be involved in a range of other activities including climate change research, livelihood diversification workshops, working within a community medical clinic and providing education on environmental issues and eco-tourism.
This is an essential part of the work here as it ensures that the marine environment stays in as pristine condition as possible.
Encourage entrepreneurial attitudes
The ultimate aim of this being to deter local communities from unsustainable destructive activities like shark finning or dynamite fishing.
Manta ray monitor programme
Volunteers wishing to participate in the manta ray monitor programme are trained to recognize key characteristics, markings and behaviours of these gentle giants, as well as their ecology, biology and conservation. Remember however that manta ray sightings cannot be guaranteed!
This can not only be done during the daily survey dives but also during your free time. The marine life here is second to none and therefore it is essential for you to get under water as much as possible!
Interested in this; ready to enquire?
Find out more by filling out the form below and clicking send. The Great Projects should then be in touch shortly to help with your enquiry.