Leo Atoll Volunteers

Goodbye From Marine Biologist Leo

Marine Biologist Leo has been with us for 6 months and as we walked together through the sandy streets of Naifaru, this tiny island in the Maldives we call home, for one last time this morning, we had to ask him some questions to find out about his experience. You can read his answers here…

  1. What will you miss most?

Well this question is more difficult than choosing my desert island discs [final question below], but it has to be the turtles, the genuine/ crazy people and the lifestyle in such a different place like Naifaru, where the streets are Made by Sand & Coral and the timeless people enjoy every second just being themselves or being with their families. In essence, it’s the simple marine life I will miss most.

Leo & Zoe Atoll Volunteers Marine Biologist

  1. What will you miss least?

The sensation I’m feeling now that I have to leave and the chilli in my food 🙂

  1. Tell us something you learnt about yourself.

I learnt a lot, mainly that I know almost nothing about myself. Also, that I don’t need many of the things the “developed” world told me I need.

  1. Tell us something you learnt about the world.

The world is so beautiful, because it’s so simple, like a smile, and you can still see it in places like this. Unfortunately, sometimes we complicate everything with so much past and future, with theories, desires and ambitions, always searching for perfection while all along every moment we live is perfection.

sunset beach naifaru

  1. Tell us a joke.

Well I must say this would be a better question for Jeff, a previous marine volunteer or Cath, our volunteer coordinator but I’ll give it a try:

“Oh darling, since you’ve started volunteering, you’ve become such a passionate kisser…”

“What do you mean, passionate? I’m looking for food remains!”

  1. Sum up Naifaru in three words.

What’s the date?

  1. What have you loved best about being a Marine Biologist here?

The turtle releases and the first time that Nema [successfully rehabilitated turtle] ate her first piece of tuna after many days without eating.

Leo Nema Atoll Volunteers

  1. Did you have a favourite turtle and if so, who?

Donatello and Maya are very special turtles for me, as I have learnt a lot from them, but not really. All of them are full of peace and fun, so I have to say they’re all my favourites!

  1. Do you have a favourite place on the island? 

The reef and sea cage.

  1. What is your best memory from your time here?

I have too many really, but maybe a sunset with dolphins, or going home by bike with local friends, the football games with the kids, and barbecues with volunteers and locals friends.

Leo football Atoll Volunteers

  1. What is your favourite excursion?

Korralion lab [Vavvaru]. Just go there and chill out and snorkel with turtles, sharks and awesome fish!

  1. What food and/ or drink did you enjoy the most?

Veg kotu roshi  or club sandwich with mix milkshake 😀

  1. What is your advice for the next Marine Biologist?

If they don’t know too much about turtles it would be awesome for them to read up and to contact some people and learn about them.

  1. Would you rather eat Kothu Roshi or Roshi Mashuni for the rest of your life? [Both are traditional Maldivian dishes]

I know I can eat Roshi Mashuni every morning, so I’ll go for the Roshi Mashuni – it’s so good!

And finally…

15. Tell us your Desert Island Discs:

[8 songs you’d take to a desert island]

Let it be – The Beatles

Echoes – Pink Floyd

Redemption song – Bob Marley

Blowing in the wind – Mr. Bob Dylan 

Un angel cayo – Mana

Latino America – CAlle 13

5 Razones – Manu chao

Mas alla de tus ojos – dred mar i

And the one song you’d keep if you could only save one…

Echoes – Pink Floyd

You’re allowed one luxury – what is it?

A Sea plane.

And one book.

Manual – how to pilot a sea plane

Great answers, great guy! We will miss you mucho Leo Zelaya and we wish you all the best as you spread love for the ocean and turtles in Sri Lanka, Guatemala and wherever you go. Hasta Luego Amigo!


Posted in Desert Island Discs, Experience, Marine Biologist, Marine Conservation, Volunteer Programmes and tagged , , , , , , , .

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