Volunteering Maldives – Martina
Martina helped research and conserve endangered whale sharks in the Maldives. In our feedback questionnaire she would like to share her experiences and impressions.
Project: Whale shark conservation in the Maldives
Duration: End of October until mid-November 2018 – 2 weeks
Support from the Natucate team:
Volunteering in the Maldives – Feedback: Seven questions for Martina
1) Could you give us a brief overview of your tasks in the project?
On five days a week we spent the whole day with the boat on the sea and drove up and down the coast, looking for whale sharks. We counted and recorded the interactions (other sea creatures, ships, people in the water, whale sharks). When we spotted a whale shark we jumped into the water and tried to take photos.
In the evening we entered the data into a database.
2) What was the biggest challenge for you during the project?
Snorkeling in a huge crowd.
3) Was there something you liked most? Or something you remember particularly negatively?
Positive: The project is beautiful. You work in an idyllic landscape and have the opportunity to experience a lot. Encountering all these impressive sea creatures was incredible. The team on site is fantastic and the other volunteers were like close friends after a very short time. Something must be done urgently to protect the whale sharks. The project is the first step towards this direction. Negative: The encounters with the whale sharks were rather a reason to be sad, because each time an incredible number of tourists "threw" themselves on to the animal.
4) Did you have certain expectations before travelling to the project?
My expectations of the landscape have been completely fulfilled. I was disappointed by the expectations regarding the whale shark, as there are still no implemented rules/laws to protect this animal. The project works in harmony with the local population, which is actually positive. However, this also leads to the fact that the measures for the protection of the whale sharks are not demanded but can only be requested.
5) Have you done anything in your free time that you can recommend to future participants?
It is essential to rent a standup paddle or kayak
6) What recommendations would you give to other participants?
All you need is simple clothes. A pair of flip-flops is actually enough. I should have taken two sport leggings (tights) with me (not necessarily in black), because you can wear them during the day and for swimming or on the boat.
7) Can you estimate how many additional costs you had on site?
Including tips approx. 120,- USD.
Make a contribution to species conservation and help protect vulnerable whale sharks in the Maldives