Welcome to Eco-Volunteers !

Seamarc’s volunteer work programmes in the Maldives

 

Icon for NOAH boatLive-Aboard Volunteers

Seamarc Eco-Volunteers people (50px)General Information

Who is this Programme aimed at ?

Seamarc’s live-aboard volunteers programme is a great opportunity to mix marine conservation work with dive-training to create a fun and unique experience !

This programme is aimed at dynamic individuals who want to learn how to dive, and existing divers wanting to combine their underwater passions with environmental work. So whether you are a recent science graduate or simply have a keen interest in marine conservation and want to “make a difference”, this is the Programme for you !

You will gain valuable knowledge by working alongside like-minded professionals and people from various countries and backgrounds, to experience a wide range of practical tasks to further your knowledge and possible career in marine biology.

What sort of work will I be doing ?

The mix of tasks will vary week-by-week depending on current projects and of course changes in the weather. As well as dive training and leisure diving, examples of the tasks you might be involved with include :

  • Reefscapers – transplant & maintain coral frames for reef propagation.
  • Coral reef survey – identification of fish and coral species.
  • Identification of megafauna species, varying with the seasons – turtles, manta rays, sharks.
  • Cetacean spotting cruise – dolphins and pilot whales.
  • Turtle Nest Protection – scouting islands for turtle nests – eggs and hatchlings (occasional).
  • Rescue of Olive Ridley turtles from drifting ghost fishing nets, and net removal (occasional).

It is impossible to have a rigid timetable, but as an example :

Day Morning Afternoon – examples only
Monday Rest Fishing, sandbank visit.  (Mondays are arrivals & departures).
Tuesday Diving & training Cetacean (dolphin, pilot whale) spotting cruise
Wednesday Diving & training Reefscapers – transplant corals onto new frames; maintain & photograph existing.
Thursday Diving & training Species ID snorkel/dive (seasonal) – sharks, turtles, mantas.
Friday Rest Identification of fish/coral species, reef survey. Reefscapers frames.
Saturday Diving & training Island clean, fishing and beach BBQ
Sunday Diving & training Local island visit
Occasional & Seasonal activities
  • Rescue turtles from ghost nets and relocate to Landaa Giraavaru turtle rehabilitation centre.
  • Monitor and removal of Crown of Thorns starfish.
  • Turtle nesting – look out for beach nesting sites. Excavation of turtle nests; release of hatchlings beyond the reef.  Relocate several hatchlings to the Kuda Huraa head start programme.
Participant Requirements
  • Age 18 – 60 years, with excellent health & fitness – this is a physically demanding Programme.
  • A keen and inquisitive interest in the marine environment.
  • An easy-going, flexible attitude and team-player.
  • All nationalities are welcome, but a good standard of spoken English is essential.
  • New divers must already have confidence in the water and good swimming & snorkelling ability.
  • Qualified divers may enjoy leisure & work dives, or take further PADI courses.
  • Minimum duration 2 weeks, maximum 12 weeks.
Arrival & Departure dates

Arrivals & departures to/from the safari boat are limited by the local island ferry service (speed launch), which operates on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. However, we strongly encourage all Volunteers (especially dive beginners) to arrive on the Monday ferry, to take best advantage of the training courses on offer.

Goidhoo ferry timetable

When you arrive on the Programme, you will depart on the 09:00 morning ferry from Malé:

Departs Malé at 09:00 prompt, arrives at the local island of Goidhoo at 11:30 (followed by a 20 minute speed launch transfer to our safari boat).

At the end of the Programme, you will leave our safari boat via speed launch at approximately midday, to meet the ferry from Goidhoo :

Departs Goidhoo at 13:30, arrives in  Malé at 16:00 approx. You should allow 30-60 minutes for your transfer to the airport.

Depending on your flight times into and out of the country, you may wish to spend 1 or more nights at either end of the Programme staying at a local guest house or hotel. This will of course be at your own expense, but we can offer advice on accommodation and transport.

Seamarc Eco-Volunteers people (50px)Diving and Costs

Cost to Join the Programme

Due to the logistics of being a small and dispersed island nation, costs are very high in Maldives (compared to neighbouring India and Sri Lanka). Almost everything needs to be imported into the country, from rice and wheat to construction materials and staff at all levels, so the prices of goods and services reflect this.

  • Accommodation is shared twin/triple cabins, with attached ensuite shower/toilet.
  • Costs include all applicable taxes.
  • Charges per person, per stay, full board (all meals) included, in USD$ :

Duration
in Weeks

Cost USD$
Per person per stay

2

2,384

3

3,126
4 4,168
6 5,652
8 6,936
10 8,170
12

9,504

Diving and Dive Training Costs
  • All PADI online theory courses need to be completed independently, before arrival.
  • Required standard of spoken English : good for both trainees and qualified divers

 

Course

Cost USD$

under review

Open Water + Advanced Open Water
(2 weeks)

Advanced Open Water
(1 week)

Rescue Diver
(+1 week)
Dive Master
(4-6 weeks)

No refunds will be issued for unused dives, for whatever reason. We make every effort to fulfil dive requests, however circumstances can be beyond our control (eg: bad weather, staff sickness) and equipment can become damaged (we carry spares, but our live-aboard location can mean challenging logistics).

Equipment Rental Costs

If you don’t have all your own equipment, you can rent the following items from Seamarc on your arrival. Be sure to let us know your requirements before making your booking.

Equipment

Cost USD$ per day hire

Regulator 5
BCD 5
Dive Equipment Information
Must bring with you


Mask, Snorkel, Fins

Timing device or dive computer

DSMB

Dive Slate

Essential for diving (bring or rent)


Regulator (+ Octopus)

BCD

Optional


A spare mask (recommended)

Wet Suit (recommended, unless you know you won’t need one)

Dive Knife

Dive Torch (bring for the Dive Master course)


 

When purchasing dive equipment, the most important factor is comfort – if the fit is incorrect, equipment may not function properly.

Mask – place it on your face (no strap) and inhale; it should suck/stick to your face and remain sealed and in place as you shake your head. (Recommended : bring a spare).

Snorkel – is mandatory during PADI dive courses. Consider a ‘dry’ snorkel that will not fill with water.

Fins – “Full foot” – lightweight, easy to slip on/off, but can rub the skin (wear dive or regular socks).
“Half cup fins” – with adjustable strap, worn with dive boots. Heavier and more cumbersome, but comfortable for long periods (especially in colder waters).

A timing device – best option is a “wrist computer” ($150+); cheaper option is a 100m pressure-tested watch (digital with countdown, analogue watch with bezel).
A dive computer also records your dive time, current depth and maximum depth (extra features come at extra cost).
“Submersible Pressure Gauge computers” (SPG) attach to the regulator as replacement for the standard analogue pressure/depth gauge.

DSMB – Delayed Surface Marker Buoy and reel. An inflatable “sausage”, open at one end, medium-sized (to roll up small) with a clip to attach to the reel. The “thumb reel” is smaller, cheaper and lighter (“full reels” with locking mechanisms are more expensive, larger and may get jammed.)

Wetsuit – despite the warm Maldivian waters (27°C to 31°C), a wetsuit is still a great way to stay warm (body heat is lost 20 times faster in water than in air). 3mm recommended, either long or short-sleeved (depending on your susceptibility to the cold).

BCD – Buoyancy Control Device – “a waistcoat with an air bladder” – available for hire, but bring your own for a perfect fit. They are expensive and heavy (some airlines offer a diving kit extra baggage allowance) so only consider purchasing a BCD if you intend to dive regularly.

Dive slate (A4) and spare dive pencils – to conduct scientific surveys

Dive knife (in sheath) or simple line cutter – secured around your leg.

Dive Torch – especially useful for spotting marine invertebrates in corals, rocks and crevices.

Regulator – available for hire, but worth buying if you are starting to dive as a serious hobby. There are different options – discuss with your dive store, and be sure to factor in the annual servicing costs.
Seamarc regulators have depth gauges (otherwise you need a a wrist computer).
Seamarc uses tanks designed for yoke regulators (if you own a DIN regulator, bring an adapter).
Octopus‘ – alternate air source and part of the regulator, that uses the standard-size BCD inflator hose connectors.

Seamarc Eco-Volunteers people (50px)Frequently Asked Questions

Can you tell me more about the boat?

Please visit our dedicated NOAH safari boat website at : http://noahmaldives.com (opens in a new tab/window) or click the logo.   Noah logo

What will be included ?
  • Assistance by Seamarc, from arrival to departure.
  • Airport transfer to and from our safari boat, via ferry or speed launch.
  • Accommodation in a shared boat cabin, with 3 meals per day and drinking water.
  • Government taxes as applicable.
What is not included ?
  • Your return international airfares.
  • Expenses incurred during stopover en route to the Maldives, and time spent at airports and in Malé.
  • Comprehensive travel & medical insurance for the full duration of your trip away from home.
  • Soft drinks, alcoholic drinks & snacks.
  • Pocket money.
What can I expect ?

airport-48After arrival, it may take several days to recover from jet-lag and acclimatise to the heat & humidity. We will take things slowly while your body adjusts – don’t over-strain yourself !

pill-48If you are new to live-aboards and safari boats, it can take a few days to “find your sea legs” even in the relatively calm atolls of the Maldives. If you are prone to sea sickness (or general motion/travel sickness) you should bring an over-the-counter remedy with you (sufficient for at least the first 7 days); severe sufferers should consider booking our Centre-based Programme.

beach-48If you are used to a life in the big city, this Programme might be a culture shock adventure ! The Maldives as a country is a remote and dispersed island nation, and the small atoll of Goidhoo is very quiet even by Maldivian standards. There are few tourists in the area, occasional passing boat traffic and only a handful of visitors to the uninhabited island of Innafushi.

knight-36In Maldives, sunrise is usually around 06:00 and sunset around 18:00, irrespective of the season (although these times do vary by about 30 minutes). Bring some books to read, some card & travel board games to play, plus some gadgets (tablet, e-reader, mp3 player + headphones).

bra-50Living aboard is a relaxed environment – there are no uniforms, and you are welcome to spend all day in swimwear. You can choose to sleep on deck under the stars, have a morning lie in, sunbathe all afternoon and grow that Robinson Crusoe beard you’ve always wanted !

Bedsheets and towels are provided, although you may wish to bring your own small hand towel and large beach towel. There might be intermittent 3G/wifi signal connectivity onboard, but this cannot be relied upon due to our remote location. Electric current on the boat is 220V, with UK-style 3-pin sockets :

320px-Uk_13a_double_socket

Seamarc Eco-Volunteers people (50px)Location of NOAH safari boat

NOAH is anchored at the edge of a lagoon, close to the uninhabited island of Innafushi, in the small geographical atoll of Goidhoo (also known as Goidu or Goifulhafehendhu), administratively part of the much larger Baa Atoll, Republic of Maldives.

Innafushi

Select ‘Satellite‘ then click to zoom & scroll. Thanks to Google and Wikipedia for the maps.

Large, detailed map showing all the islands of Baa and Goidhoo
(click to open in new tab)