The Stunning Seychelles
The Seychelles has an incredibly impressive and diverse marine ecosystem and this project provides you with the opportunity to play a vital part in ensuring it remains that way.
From the crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean you will dive with sea turtles and complete coral surveys and recovery dives. This program provides unique experiences which will broaden your diving knowledge and develop your desire for adventure.
Much of your research will be spent scuba diving in the sparkling blue waters of the Indian Ocean whilst assisting the Seychelles Government and local NGOs with their priority biological and conservation programmes.
The unique training opportunities on this expedition are second to none; you'll get to learn about and participate in coral reef research, invertebrate surveys, whale shark migration observations, plankton sampling, in-water turtle surveys and conduct turtle nesting research. Volunteers will have the opportunity to vastly expand their knowledge of this tropical marine environment whilst gaining research diving and marine survey skills in a stunning island location. You will also learn how to identify fish and coral that are unique to the Indian Ocean; visit and dive amongst deserted tropical islands; as well as take your PADI Advanced and PADI Coral reef research diver courses.
What's it all About?
You'll collect data on the coral reefs as well as on turtles, whale sharks, dolphins, octopuses and many more species. Our volunteers are trained to such a high standard that the information they gather is used by the government for management policies, to show an accurate picture of the overall health of the Seychelles coral reefs.
This program is aimed any individuals who have an interest in marine conservation and hold a minimum dive qualification of PADI Open Water Diver, or equivalent.
Volunteers spend part of their time diving on the coral reef, collecting abundance, diversity and health data on coral and other invertebrates and fish species. The first two weeks are the hardest, as volunteers have to push themselves to learn the research diving skills, marine survey skills and the scientific knowledge that they will need to assist in the collection of data to a quantifiable level of 95%.
We aim to conduct survey dives twice a day, four and a half days a week, with other non-diving projects on one day a week. Volunteers will rotate between diving and non-diving projects to maximise enthusiasm and minimise potential ear problems. Weather, season and training permitting, divers should have approximately five–ten dives per week.
The days are long and hard, with an early start to make the most of daylight hours. The day typically includes; kitting up and equipment preparation, travel to the survey sites, survey diving, returning from sites, washing down the equipment, filling cylinders ready for the next day and generally a late finish once all the data collected has been reviewed and input in the database. At the end of the day, the whole team gathers for the evening debrief and to eat and socialise.
Volunteers will rotate between projects; taking some time away from the hard diving work. Volunteers are also fully involved in the logistical operations of the camp, from the day-to-day rotations of cooking and cleaning to operating the compressor and filling dive cylinders.
During the expedition there will be free time to explore the beautiful islands and Creole culture of the Seychelles. Saturdays are usually half-day diving, with boat and site maintenance and then sport in the afternoon. Saturday evening consists of the well-deserved Saturday Night Fiesta! Sundays are a day of rest to de-gas and catch up on some well-earned sleep, or head to the nearest internet café to keep in touch with family and friends at home. Alternatively, volunteers are free to leave the base on Saturday and explore Mahé, Praslin or the other islands, returning on Sunday night. Then on Mondays you go back to work!
The aims and efforts of the expedition have been agreed upon in conjunction with the Seychelles Ministry of Environment, local government agencies and non-governmental organisations to include:
- Coral reef monitoring and recovery research
- Invertebrate fisheries surveys
- Whale shark migration observations
- Plankton sampling research
- Sea Turtle nesting surveys
- Helping to train local partners
- Development of an environmental education and awareness program
You should keep in mind that projects conducted are dependent on the season and the priorities always remain wit our local working partners.
Location & Accommodation
The base is located within National Marine Parks in the inner granitic islands of the Seychelles, 2 minutes walk away from stunning beaches with scenic views. Both bases supply basic living conditions with dormitory style accommodation, with up to 12 to a room in comfortable beds, or spacious tents with up to 6 people and comfortable beds. The research bases have basic facilities which include outside social BBQ and dining areas, generated power supply, running water and bathroom facilities, and are situated in idyllic locations.
Volunteers take it in turns to prepare meals for the group. Food is basic but nutritious, and primarily vegetarian with optional fish or meat available no more than once or a week.
Age & Required Experience
- Be qualified to at least PADI Open Water, or equivalent
- You must be at least 18 years old to take part and in good health
- Be able to work as part of a team
- Have a strong interest in wildlife and conservation
- Be enthusiastic, adventurous and open minded
- Having a science background is advantageous, but not essential
Volunteers should get a return flight to and from Seychelles International Airport on Mahé Island (SEZ), arriving on or before the start date. More information will be included in your field manual once you have booked your spot.
When & How To Apply
This program is open year round so you can apply when it suits you best according to the marine life you wish to see.
Simply click 'Book Now' to complete your online application form and pay your £100 deposit.
- Airport transfers
- Arrival and Location orientation
- Welcome meeting
- Long term experienced staff
- All food and accommodation
- All necessary project training
- All training materials, technical dive and science equipment
- PADI Advanced Open Water & PADI Coral Reef Research Diver
- First Aid & CPR training
- Discounted accommodation around the island for weekends off
- 24-hour in-country support
- 24-hour emergence phone line
- National park fees & permits
What's Not Included?
- Medical & travel insurance
- Visa costs
- Personal kit (including wetsuits, masks, fins and snorkels)
- Additional drinks and gratuities
- Extra local excursions
- International and domestic airport taxes
Q. How many dives can I expect to do?
Dives are very weather dependent. Weather permitted you can expect to have 1 or 2 dives/snorkles each day, 5 days a week. Besides diving, yu should expect to be involved in additional projects and activities.
Q. When will I know if I have been assigned to fish or coral?
Typically 4 week volunteers will be assigned to fish. For 8 & 12 week volunteers, typically 4 weeks before your departure you will be emailed to advise if you have been assigned to fish or coral. This is so they have an even split on each base and to give you plenty of time prior to departure to study your assignment. There are many books at the base and staff will be more than happy to help if you are interested in learning a little about the other topic.
Q. What months are best to take part?
Most participants who sign up to this program are interested in the Whale Sharks, whilst they might be around the Seychelles all year round, they are usually near our partner bases from August to October.
Turtle nesting season begins September to March and the number of turtles in the water increase. Turtle dives take part all year round and you can expect one dive per week for this.
From October to December the water temperature starts at around 27C and warms up as the months go by with flat and calm waters.
Q. What is the local currency?
The local currency is the Seychellois Ruppe (SR or SRe), although Euros and US Dollars are widely accepted.
Mahé Island is the largest granitic island in the Seychelles, surrounded by coral reef, granite drop offs and white sandy beaches. The island rises up to forest covered mountainous terrain with steep windy roads throughout the island. Although the most developed of the islands, it is still extremely pristine relative to other island nations in the region. Mahé hosts the capital of the Seychelles: Victoria. The main industries for the nation are tourism, and the tuna fishery.
Turquoise blue waters house expansive fringing reefs providing habitats to a staggering variety of fish and marine invertebrates. Whale sharks and manta rays are also seen regularly around the islands, sometimes very close to shore. The reefs have suffered damage from coral bleaching in recent years, however biodiversity remains high and coral recovery is good.
Curieuse Island is situated to the northwest of Mahé, less than 1km north of Praslin, the second largest island in the Seychelles. Like much of the Seychelles, Curieuse is covered in lush vegetation including huge Takamaka trees and it is home to a range of land and sea birds. It's surrounded by a national marine park run by rangers from the Marine Parks Authority, who reside on the island.
The beautiful trails and visitor centres are available for the public to explore on day trips, but it all truly belongs to the approximately 150 giant tortoises that freely roam the island and far out number the permanent human residents!