My six months as a marine biologist intern with Marine Savers have finally come to an end. As time went by, I had the chance to meet lots of turtles and people from all over the world and so many walks of life. Adding the ocean related activities that we undertook every day and my diving and surfing sessions in paradise, I have come to the conclusion that I’ve spent one of my most memorable and enjoyable times of my life here.
As part of our Turtle Satellite Tracking programme, we tag some of our turtles before release, to understand and learn more of their habitat, oceanic travels and foraging grounds. According to our tagged sea turtle data, in their pelagic juvenile stage they appear to be nomadic, traveling through the Indian Ocean, several thousand kilometres from the Indian, Sri Lankan and Maldivian shorelines. During my final weeks, I have been looking into all the information related to the tracked sea turtles in our database, to document how best to attach the satellite tag on the turtle carapace, and how to access to the data provided by those tags.
I have also been helping my team to create awareness with groups of both local and guest children. In June, we introduced a new activity called Junior Marine Saver, where we offer the opportunity to experience life as a marine biologist working in the Maldives on sea turtle conservation and coral propagation programmes.
In collaboration with Manta Trust, we also visited the school on the local island, Bodu Huraa, where we talked with students about the importance of protecting the marine environment. It was so rewarding to see how interested and aware the students were.
Lately, I have been going ahead with my Advanced Open Water Diver course with the Dive Centre of the island. Through different adventure dives, I am building more confidence and expanding my scuba skills, like learning how to control my buoyancy. It is a real pleasure to dive along the Maldivian reefs, spotting the incredible and diverse Indian Ocean fauna. I am going to miss my weekly dives in these clear and blue waters.
But we not only dive for pleasure. Sometimes our team must dive to relocate some coral frames and keep them away from the high temperatures of the shallow areas. And occasionally, we go into the water to carry out clean ups in the bottom of our house reef, like the one we did during World Ocean Day on 8 June.
During the last few days, Kuda Huraa has witnessed the 2017 Four Seasons Maldives Annual Surfing Champions Trophy. This annual contest brings some of the most talented surfers around the world to surf our local wave, known as Sultans. The last day of the competition I had the chance to join the boat from Four Seasons and see the surfer legends getting ‘barrelled’. The cherry on the cake for me was meeting the Californian style guru, Rob Machado, one of my surfing idols. 😊
What is more, I think I have rediscovered my passion for photography. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the beauty of the place I have been surrounded by for the past 6 months, and I cannot help but wonder what the future will bring in this regard. I wish that wherever I go next, I will be able to keep my camera rolling.
To mark the end of my time here, I would like to thank my Marine Discovery Centre Team and all the staff of the resort for making my experience at Kuda Huraa so lovely and memorable. I will never forget my first island home and now I can say that I have a family on the other side of the world.
I hope you have enjoyed my chapters! Thank you all, and lots of love.
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