Andy Meyer was a gift from the Idaho gods.
One marine biologist down and with a sudden dry spell of volunteers, he came just when the Atoll Marine Centre needed him most. He had been travelling around the land of Oz, writing and having a marvellous time, but also wondering how he could do something a bit more meaningful. That’s when he stumbled across our Marine Conservation & Turtle Rehabilitation scheme through our partners GoEco. And we’re so glad he followed his heart and came to spend some of his year of wild tales & travels helping us tend to these turtles. Here are some of his choice words about his experience of volunteering in the Maldives…
1. What pleasantly surprised you most about your time in The Maldives? The downtime! I don’t know if I was expecting to just work from sunup to sundown but the afternoons were a great time to get to know everyone and the planned activities were incredible as well.
2. What shocked you most about your time in The Maldives? I’ve only ever seen the Maldives as portrayed by their resorts—the reality of the truly populated islands is that they are still developing; trash, external intervention and lack of resources makes The Maldives a very different place than I imagined.
3. Describe your experience in 3 vital words! Real, vital, powerful.
4. What was your funniest memory? Kanma [NGO director] pranking Charlie [volunteer] into thinking she had caught another fish—I still think she thinks she caught another one.
5. What was the moment that most inspired you? Listening to both Zoe [marine biologist] and Sebastian [MA student] talk about marine life was inspiring every time, and there was one moment after snorkeling where Sebastian spoke about the difficulties of implementing proper waste management systems in the Maldives… It was eloquent, interesting, and inspiring.
6. What advice would you give a volunteer coming on the Marine & Turtle Conservation programme? Be open minded—about everything, from people to experiences. Listen to the people who have been there for a while and you can learn a heck of a lot.
7. Did you have a favourite turtle and if so, why? I think I’m gonna have to go with Brownie, because Zoe took Maya and Brownie had a pretty crack on his shell.
8. What are you going to miss the most? The people! Y’all were incredible. I hope I can see you all again someday.
9. What story from Naifaru will you be telling over a glass of wine? 😉 Night fishing, stargazing, and just being out in the middle of the Atoll late at night and so far from everything.
10. What are your Desert island discs? i.e. the 8 tracks you’d take to a desert island with you. And what is the one track you’d save from the waves if you could only save one?
Save one: “One Week” by Barenaked Ladies
What luxury item would you have with you on this Desert Island?
Computer/typewriter to write on!
Finally, what book would you have on the island?
Thanks Andy for your honest & heartfelt answers and for all your hard work, enthusiasm and passion – vital actions and vital words!