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Three weeks in and still excited every time I see a turtle…

I am now in my third week as the Volunteer Coordinator, it feels particularly strange that I am already looking for my replacement. It feels like I started only yesterday, but somehow it is already my home. It is a shame that I am unable to extend my stay in paradise, but my loss will be someone else’s gain!
I have worked a few shifts in the marine centre, taking part in the cleaning and feeding. No matter how many times I see those turtles, it’s still exciting! Especially as you spend more time with them, and start to learn their subtle differences. Working with the turtles and learning from the marine biologists is a fantastic experience.
My schedule varies hugely day to day. In my first week I started my day with swimming lessons for the local children, this was tiring, for me and the kids! Luckily there was a professional swim teacher there and I just played the role of a lifeguard and as a goal post, so the children knew how far 25 metres was. Otherwise my days usually consist of admin work, corresponding with volunteers and partners and writing reports. This can result in working late nights, but luckily I normally have the marine biologists keeping me company. These busy work schedules means we and the volunteers need a well-earned break! Last week we went on my favourite excursion so far. We went to the nearby island, Dhidhdoo, which is about a half an hour away on the speed boat. On this excursion we played lots of games, I had remembered to bring a volleyball, so we played beach volleyball, water polo (kind of). A game of HORSE that somehow resulted in me getting the volleyball thrown at me, while I stood against a palm tree, I’m not sure why I agreed to this, maybe I was suffering from sun stroke or something.
A volunteer and I ventured to the other side of the island to go snorkeling. As a diver, I was never much of a fan of snorkeling before, I thought it was a bit boring. But that was before I snorkeled in the Maldives. There are some amazing things to see, and the reefs are quite shallow and perfect for snorkeling. I see sting rays, eagle rays and turtles almost every time I go. As soon as I got into the water at Dhidhdoo, I was following a turtle and then not long after that, a large sting ray. The waters were full of some interesting fish, including one of my favourites, the puffer fish. As I was slowly floating along in the water, I saw a juvenile shark near the surface of the water. I cannot be certain on the species, but I think it was white tip reef shark, I stared at it for a little while getting more and more excited. I then realized I should share my discovery with others, in my excitement of grabbing the other volunteer though, I lost the shark, or scared it off, I’m not really sure. Sharks are amazing creatures and it is hugely exciting to see one in the wild. This was probably the main reason this excursion was my favourite.
We watched the sunset together and then made our way back to Naifaru, content, hungry and tired. Excursions make for a lovely day.

Alex

Posted in Volunteer Programmes.

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