Volun­teering Maldives – Carina

Carina spent four weeks in the Maldives to dedicate herself to protecting endangered whale sharks. In the following field report you can read about her conservation experience.

Zwei Volunteere sitzen am Strand auf den Malediven
Volunteers fotografieren einen Walhai im Indischen Ozean

Volunteering auf den Malediven

It is hard to believe that four weeks are already over! Shukuriyaa for an unforgettable and wonderful time! With special thanks to Iru, Alex and Cam who took care of us here in Dhigurah, the crew on board of our dhoni and Shameel for answering all my questions :) To be in the water with the greatest of all fish is incredible! To be able to watch these friendly giants of the sea took my breath away! It is unbelievable that they are in danger of extinction because of us!

During these four weeks we were absolutely spoiled:

  • Over 60 (totally crazy!) encounters
  • This encounters lasted for one minute up to 58 minutes
  • Different characters from super relaxed to very nervous
  • Three times we could watch three whale sharks together
  • Digestion: From eating to excretion :)
  • Very curious whale sharks which e.g. inspected the boat
  • Small and big ones
  • New ones in South-Ari (3!) and returning ones
  • And many more…
Freiwilligenarbeit: Die Schwanzflosse eines Walhais fotografiert vor der Kueste der Malediven
Eine freiwillige Helferin auf dem Weg zur artenschutzerhaltenden Arbeit
Artenschutz auf den Malediven: Ein Walhaibuch am Strand der Malediven

It will take a while for all these memories to be processed. Next to whale sharks we saw dolphins, turtles, different shark species, rays, tuna and many more fish species in all sorts of colours and shapes as well as beautiful corals. And all this without diving :)

Even though it was exhausting to be on deck of the dhoni in the sun for the whole day – the view over the blue water surface is so relaxing and the excitement for discovering a whale shark is just wonderful. I was able to spot a shark five times – I still smile thinking of the adrenaline when jumping in the water in seconds after hearing “SHARK”. Many, many thanks to the team – I felt very well prepared, learnt a lot and had an amazing time which I will never forget.

I wish more people would take part in conservation projects and be active in raising awareness for the right behaviour towards animals and nature. If you see a whale shark, cut open on one side by a ship’s screw it is sad and makes you realize you want to do so much more!

Zwei Volunteere sitzen am Strand auf den Malediven

Two beach cleaning activities are not enough to solve all problems – but they are a step in the right direction! :)
I wish I could stay longer!

P.S.: We also had a day without any sightings, but we had other days with 10!

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