Hi everyone. I’m Beth, Seamarc’s 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.
During my second month on the island I have been helping out with the Reefscapers coral propagation programme. In this project fragments are collected from healthy coral colonies on reefs around the island. These fragments are then transplanted onto steel frames that have been painted with food grade paint and then blasted with sand whilst this paint was still wet. I have learnt more about the coral species found in the Maldives, their growth forms and their success rate when transplanted onto frames. With this knowledge, I have been out to collect fragments by myself and have built frames with the help of the guests that have sponsored them.
Once the frames have been planted in the sea they have to be monitored every six months in order to check their health and growth. Any fragments that have not survived the transplantation are removed and replaced with new fragments, and photographs are taken of each side of the frame to be uploaded to the internet for guests to view. I have helped Matt the coral biologist here at Kuda Huraa to monitor frames around the island.
As well as working with the coral, I have been leading snorkels and dolphin cruises for guests as part of the marine biologist’s role and helping with the care of the turtles in the facility for both the head start and rehabilitation programmes.
Recently we have had three Olive Ridley turtles brought to Kuda Huraa for rehabilitation. The first turtle we received was Shareefa; she had been entangled in a ghost net and her shell had been rubbed through to the skin on the right side of her body, she also had deep lacerations on many of her flippers. When she first arrived, Shareefa was very buoyant and could not dive properly; this is now improving and she is able to stay on the bottom of the tank and search for food. The damage to her shell is healing slowly along with the lacerations on her flippers. We are hoping she will make a full recovery and will be released soon.
The second turtle we received for rehabilitation was Maria the Olive Ridley. Maria was in a much worse state on arrival than Shareefa, and had lacerations on all of her flippers; the ones on her back flippers were extremely deep. Unfortunately the damage to her rear right flipper was so extensive that we had to perform emergency surgery to remove it and prevent infection spreading further around the body. Maria will be with us for a very long time to allow her injuries to heal; she is still unable to dive and is finding it hard to eat due to sores on her tongue.
Buddy was the final turtle we have had recently for rehabilitation. He was found during our dolphin cruise on 10 March. We noticed him from far away and watched him for a while to make sure that he wasn’t just resting on the surface. He was trying very hard to dive but was unable to do so as he was very buoyant in the water. Hannah (my marine biologist colleague) and I jumped into the water and brought him to the boat where the crew helped to haul him aboard. His front right flipper is missing but is completely healed so we think he must have been rehabilitated before somewhere else. Buddy has no other obvious injuries so will be with us until he is able to dive again.
It is not just turtles that we have received for rehabilitation; we have also had 16 new Green hatchlings brought to Kuda Huraa for our Head Start Programme. All 16 hatchlings are doing well, they are all eating lots and are very active. They will stay with us until their carapace length is 30cm at which point they will be released into the wild; at this size they will have a higher chance of survival in the ocean.
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