Hi everyone. I’m Beth, Seamarc’s new intern at the Marine Discovery Centre, Four Seasons Kuda Huraa. During my three month placement, I will be fully immersing myself in the life of a resort marine biologist, and taking part in all the island projects.
I have completed my first month, and the time is flying by! My first assignment was on the Maldives National Sea Turtle Identification Programme, where I learnt how to process the photographs that people submit to us from up and down the country. This includes identifying the turtles via their facial scales and logging the sightings in the database, with the long-term aim of determining the population size and movements of these fascinating marine animals.
The Head Start Programme looks after sea turtle hatchlings until they have a carapace (shell) length of around 30cm, when they will have a much higher chance of survival when released into the wild. Every day the turtles need feeding with a variety of seafood, and I have been learning how to apply medical treatments to ensure optimum health. Every week, the turtles are also monitored – cleaned, weighed, measured and checked for any signs of illness.
One problem that the Maldives faces when it comes to sea turtles is “ghost nets”. Fishing with nets is not allowed in the Maldives, and the traditional pole-and-line tuna fishing method is still being sustainably practised throughout the country. But discarded fishing nets are thought to drift across on prevailing ocean currents from other countries in the area. These “ghost nets” attract and then entangle turtles and other marine organisms in their filaments. Most of the injured turtles that we rescue both here and at our dedicated Rehabilitation Centre at Landaa Giraavaru have fallen victim to ghost nets.
The Olive Ridley Project had its origins at Kuda Huraa, and has now branched out to work with marine biologists at many of the Resorts, increasing knowledge and awareness of the problems that ghost nets can cause. They also offer advice on freeing the trapped turtles, and gather data about the nets themselves with the aim of tracing back to their source.
At Kuda Huraa, we welcome any injured turtles that have been found by locals or resorts in the area (Kaafu, North Malé atoll), and also at our specialised turtle rehabilitation facilities at Landaa Giraavaru (Baa atoll). If you have found an injured turtle, or would like any kind of advice on turtle biology and care, please get in touch with our Marine Savers turtle rescue centres.
A big part of the marine biologists’ role at Kuda Huraa is to provide guests with information on the marine organisms that can be seen in the Maldives, and the environment in which they live. This is done via presentations throughout the week. I have provided presentations to the guests on coral reefs, sharks, fish species, and cetaceans. As well as conducting each presentation, the marine biologists also join the guests on excursions such as the dolphin cruise or snorkels on coral reefs around the island, assisting guests in identifying the species that they encounter.
I have also been enjoying the resort staff facilities, from kayaking trips and sunrise yoga, to a fun sports-themed party, where we dressed up to act out various comedy sketches to the delight of guests and fellow staff!
Everyone on the island has helped me settle in and I have been enjoying every moment of my experience. Next month I will be learning about the Reefscapers Coral Propagation Project that Seamarc runs on Kuda Huraa, helping to rebuild and care for the coral reefs around the island.
The Seamarc team were excellent teachers (thank you!) and everyone was very patient so I learnt very quickly.
I will always be eternally grateful for this opportunity ... A very sincere thank you from the bottom of my heart for everyone’s encouragement, hard work and dedication. My short time here has allowed me to learn so many things that otherwise might not have been possible.
The memories I have forged here will always have a special place in my heart ♡ … what a wonderful country!
Janice (Singapore) 2017
From literally stepping out of the airport and onto the resort speedboat, I was completely blown away by how amazing the Maldives is; hot sun, blue skies, and crystal-clear waters … paradise!
In my first week, I spent a lot of time learning about and working with the resident sea turtles ... Caring for these turtles has been great fun and each one has its own personality.
... we were lucky to encounter a large pod of false killer whales, which was an incredible experience!
The teams at both resorts are a fantastic group of people and I enjoyed every moment working with them all.
Mark (UK) 2016
The first week was a busy one as three new rehab turtles turned up in three consecutive days. I have also been busy with guest snorkel trips, dolphin cruises, scientific projects, coral reef monitoring and surfing world class waves at the local breaks!
I have been here for the last five wonderful weeks ... such great fun and every day is so varied ... to learn all I can about the amazing marine life in the Maldives.
Adam (UK) 2016
Each morning I caught the local 8:15 ferry boat … much better than the bus in Germany!
One day we went to a nearby uninhabited agricultural island, to collect some turtle hatchlings and release them out in the open water. Another great experience was the manta boat-trip ... for one whole day we searched for mantas in different sites around Baa Atoll.
All in all I can say that my 6 weeks’ volunteering ... was a great experience, I met a lot of nice and very friendly people and I learned a lot about turtles, fish species and corals in the beautiful tropical waters around the Maldives.
Nicole (Germany) 2016
The Marine Savers team is great fun to work with, and I couldn’t have asked for a better location to gain some experience in environmental conservation.
It was wonderful to be around so many people who share my passion for the underwater world, and I hope it’s not too long before I’m back beneath the waves in the Maldives!
Dhiya (Sri Lanka) 2016
Every day was a different adventure, with turtles to treat, corals to transplant, talks to give and dolphins to spot. It is always a thrill to (see) the juvenile Spinner dolphins, who stick very close to their mothers but are often the most acrobatic jumpers, putting the ‘spin’ in Spinner. Sometimes we were lucky to spot manta rays too.
I am very grateful to the Marine Savers team ... It has strengthened my desire to work in marine conservation and I hope to be back in the Maldives one day!
Roz (UK) 2016
You can see some breathtaking marine life here in the Maldives, and every time I’m in the water I feel constantly in awe of my surroundings ... 2 mantas at a cleaning station swam through our dive group, getting extremely close!
These activities, along with the people I have met along the way have ... made the experience so enjoyable and memorable.
Emily (UK) 2016
I had never seen a turtle this large before, which was a whole new experience for me in itself ... It took 6 people to get this amazing turtle out of the water and into the boat.
I have even started leading some of the snorkel safaris around nearby reefs, an incredibly rewarding experience to be sharing information and experiences with people. My favourite moments have often been on our dolphin cruises, the incredible spinner dolphins never cease to amaze me as they throw their bodies high above the water surface. That is certainly a sight I will never get tired of!
Sophie (UK) 2015
Taking time off work to travel all the way to the Maldives to care for sea turtles might seem a crazy idea to some; for me, however, it was the chance of a lifetime. This was the perfect opportunity to leave my office desk in the concrete jungle of Hong Kong and take part in something meaningful in a unique part of the world.
I have had a tremendous time, and have made friends with a lot of lovely people from around the world. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and would definitely like to come back some day to visit everyone… and the sea turtles too, of course!
Keith (Hong Kong) 2015
Winy and Hazel had a very busy and enjoyable time, working with our turtle care patients and the Reefscapers coral propagation programme.
They also helped with an important reef clean-up, and had a memorable day releasing baby turtle hatchlings into the ocean.
Winy & Hazel (Hong Kong) 2015
Every day since I have arrived has been an adventure!
I am witnessing new and amazing things every day, from sunsets to 'Spanish Dancers' ! It’s a wonderful experience as we share underwater marine life encounters, and I have actually lost count of how many sharks, dolphins and turtles I’ve encountered since I arrived ... and it’s magical every time.
Cath (UK) 2015
The care and rehabilitation of the turtles here is very satisfying work.
In just a short few weeks, I have seen Spinner Dolphins, Hawksbill Turtles, Black Tip Reef Sharks and of course lots of colourful and varied marine life ... a wonderful moment each time!
Mailis (Belgium) 2015
A very enjoyable part of my job is spreading awareness to the public, to promote better understanding and appreciation for the marine ecosystem. We recently organised a school excursion ... seeing these enthusiastic children learning about the environment brings me joy and hope.
My time here has been an amazing experience ... more than just swimming with the fishes and being surrounded by beautiful reefs!
Adrelia (Singapore) 2014
Frédéric was a PhD student and lecturer at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, specialising in ecology and tropical marine biology.
During his time with us, Frédéric researched indigenous Echinoderms, and possibly discovered a previously undocumented new species of sea cucumber.
Frédéric (France) 2014
Glen worked with us in 2014, developing a shark population survey to study local populations of Blacktip Reef sharks using a variety of survey methods including underwater camera traps, and snorkel surveys.
Glen (UK) 2014
One of our first interns, Dylan (from Singapore's Temasek Polytechnic) had an amazingly unique experience with us.
Firstly, he helped with the rescue of a stranded false killer whale 'Haita' (although she sadly did not survive rehabilitation).
And then he was invited to the “Marine Mammal Stranding Symposium” (February 2013), to present our work and findings to fellow marine biologists.
Dylan (Singapore) 2012