Marine Research, Teaching, Diving!
Volunteers are crucial to Love The Oceans’ cause and by participating in the program volunteers help to collect the first ever data in Guinjata Bay as well as building bridges with the local communities by teaching 10-13 year olds in the local schools about the importance of the marine environment. In your package you have your food, accomodation, dives, airport transfers, transfers for safari and Cultural Tour included as well as guidance from our very experienced marine biologists.
As a Love The Oceans volunteer, you form an essential part of our team. After you have settled in, your program will start with an intense training week where we aim to ensure that everyone on the program has the same level of knowledge about LTO, the conservation work we do and your role and responsibilities as an LTO volunteer. After this training, you will be rotating around our principal activities:
Coral Reef Surveys
LTO collects coral reef data in order to lobby for a marine protected area which could enhance eco-tourism, bringing more money into the region and an alternate income to unsustainable fishing. We strongly believe we’re in a biodiversity hotspot and we need coral reef data to prove our area is worth protecting. To expand LTO’s coral reef logs, you will be diving and snorkelling to complete LTO surveys. You will identify different fish and coral species you see on each dive, and log the data into the scientific logs at the end of each day. These dives require confident divers with good buoyancy. PADI Open Water is a prerequisite for our programs.
Humpback whales typically migrate through Mozambique between June and September. LTO is collecting data on these magnificent creatures, looking at surface behaviour and pod formation, never before studied in our area.
As part of LTO’s team, you will be armed with a camera, binoculars and survey sheets in order to record sightings of humpback whales and any other megafauna that passes through (orcas, whale sharks, manta rays).
You’ll be going out on the dive boat with the divers but will remain on the boat while the other volunteers dive, in order for you to conduct the whale surveys.
Teaching and Painting
Educating the next generation of fishermen in schools about sustainable fishing and why the ocean is important helps the local community protect their biodiversity assets – assets because of ecotourism and fisheries.
As part of your volunteering, you will help at Guinjata and Paindane School Monday-Friday. You will be teaching 10-13 year olds about the marine environment, as well as painting classrooms which are in much need of some TLC. You will not be partaking in construction work as we prefer to employ local builders and put money back into the local economy.
Surprisingly few local children are confident in the water. Part of our commitment to the local community is teaching the school children how to swim, helping to fuel their passion for the marine environment with a view to them one day being able to experience the underwater world for themselves.
We also teach sea safety in our lessons. This is very important as children drowning is not uncommon in this area due to a strong rip and lack of awareness. You can help teach the children (and some adults) how to swim on Saturday afternoons.
Collecting fisheries data will allow us to assess how sustainable the fisheries are. From these assessments, eventually we would like to determine minimum landing size for individual species, as well as changing certain fishing legislation. Every day on fisheries you be responsible for recording the data into the logs along with the corresponding images (check shark and ray IDs with a field specialist if unsure), cleaning the collected shark/ray vertebrae, and ensuring equipment is clean and stored. This work can be upsetting at times but you cannot get involved in releasing animals; we are there to photograph and collect data in order to achieve a long-term solution.
There are optional weekend excursions you can participate in. They are not compulsory but have proved great fun in the past. These activities need to be paid for separately in cash in Mozambique.
Yacht Trip – We sail the Inhambane estuary on a yacht, with the chance to snorkel a few islands.
Surf Trip – A day trip to Tofo (the tourist hub) for a fun surf lesson and shop around their market.
Diving Courses – PADI scuba diving courses are available at Guinjata Dive Centre, from open water to dive master.
Ocean Safaris – Local dive centres offer various Ocean Safari tours where you can search for whale sharks and whales from the boat in an afternoon.
We offer an optional extra 5 night safari that you can enjoy at the end of your volunteer program. You will leave Guinjata bay to explore the Balule Private Game Reserve in the Greater Kruger Park Ecosystem, staying at Ku Sungula Safari Lodge. During your 5 days you will participate in game drives, bush walks, a scenic tour through the Drakensburg Mountains (to see God’s Window, the Three Sisters and Bourke’s Luck Potholes) and have an animal behaviour bush walk and lecture from experienced field guides. You will then be transported to Johannesburg Airport. All of your meals are included, but the beers are on you! This trip is highly recommended.
Interested in this; ready to enquire?
Find out more by filling out the form below and clicking send. Love the Oceans should then be in touch shortly to help with your enquiry.