Cath's Marine Savers blog - Feather Star

Hello! My name is Cath, and I am the new intern working here at Four Seasons Resort Kuda Huraa until the end of June. I recently completed my undergraduate degree studying Marine Biology at Portsmouth University and was delighted to be offered the opportunity to work here in this Maldivian paradise for 3 months!

Every day since I have arrived has been an adventure. As soon as I got into the office I was taken out to meet our gorgeous rehabilitation turtles – 4 Olive Ridleys who have been rescued from fishing nets, stuck floating at the ocean surface due to excess buoyancy. And then on to 16 baby Green Sea Turtle hatchlings that were rescued from a nest located very close to another resort, where their chances of survival were extremely low.

The first task that our resident turtle biologist, Jamie, gave me was to feed the juveniles a gourmet meal of fresh tuna, which we cut up into tiny pieces so the turtles can manage to fit each mouthful into their petite beaks.  As for the adult turtles, learning their preferences has taken a little longer. While Shareefa turns her nose at the sight of lobster, the other rescue turtles fuss over anything that isn’t lobster or squid, and they all require a lot of patience when they realise we’ve tried to hide their medicine inside the food! On Tuesdays we also check the outward progress of the turtles, which means weighing and measuring them. Then of course, every day we care for them and redress their wounds as required. It has been a very strange experience for me to give eye drops to baby turtles with eye infections, just as you might do to a human patient!

Cath Marine Biology intern, Maldives

Of course, turtles are not the only marine organisms that demand our attention here at the Marine Discovery Centre. It has been very educational shadowing our Coral Biologist, Matt, in his quest to propagate the coral reefs of North Malé atoll, which he carries out through our Reefscapers programme.  Several years ago, the company Seamarc invented an innovative coral frame, which is a large steel structure spray-painted with sand. We attach small fragments of coral (between 41-106mm long, depending on frame size) to these frames and immerse them into the lagoon. We place them in locations around the island where coral cover is scarce, for example near rubble patches, to encourage fish recruitment. This is beneficial partly because of the increase in reef biodiversity, but also because certain species of fish act as ‘gardeners’ for these corals, eating away algae that may otherwise grow and compete with the coral.

Once the frame has been planted in the perfect position, we then monitor it, returning every 6 months to check on the success of the coral growth, taking photographic records which we upload to our website. As we have over 1600 frames, it’s a huge task but a fascinating one, as proven by the sharks, dwarf lionfish, adorable juvenile sweetlips and most recently a very funky octopus, who come to check out what we’re up to and watch us as we free-dive our way through the maze of frames.

Coral frame photography and monitoring - Reefscapers

Some of my favourite moments have been spent with our resort guests. Every day there are various adventure safaris, either to see sharks, dolphins, and turtles or just to explore the beautiful coral reefs and their fishy inhabitants. I have been giving marine biology presentations at our Centre, followed by escorting the guests on snorkelling trips. 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 Marine Biology intern, Maldives

Cath Marine Biology intern, Maldives

Cath Marine Biology intern, Maldives

Do you want to experience life as a marine biologist
here in the Maldives ?

Head over to our Employment page to read about the different ways you can work with us - full time, apprentice, intern or volunteer. And see more from our Interns and Volunteers in their very own words & photos as part of our Diary / Blog series.

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

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

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

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

All of the experiences have allowed me to make many new friends and gain knowledge and memories that will never be forgotten.
Thank you to everyone for making my time here so enjoyable!

Beth (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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 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

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 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

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