We interview Paris Bates, a University Student from Australia, on her turtle-packed time at the Atoll Marine Centre!
Hi! So what’s your name and where are you from?
My name is Paris Bates and I come from Adelaide, Australia!
What inspired you to come volunteer with us?
The chance to come and experience the ‘real’ Maldives (that is, not staying in a resort, isolated from what is REALLY going on within the country) while also learning about and helping marine species was all too appealing.
We know it’s a tough choice, but who was your favorite turtle and why?
Nema! Her sweet little personality and love for shell-scratches made me fall in love with her. It was also great watching her progress by beginning to dive to get her food.
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learnt about Naifaru/turtles/the marine programme?
I really enjoyed learning about the different species of sea turtles found within the Maldives and learning to distinguish species from one another. It was also really interesting looking at the huge level of variation in the patterns on their shells, and watching Zoe identify them by name just by looking at their shell!
Which was your favorite excursion/activity?
Working in the turtle centre was definitely the most rewarding activity, as we learnt how much time and effort goes into giving them the best care possible. Being able to contribute to that care was fantastic. The snorkels and visits out to all the different islands was also amazing!
As part of your trip with Flinders University we know you had to complete a project whilst with us. Can you tell us a little bit about your project and what you found?
My project is on coral regeneration with the use of submerged metal frames. I found that this is likely to be a great help to saving coral reefs in the Maldives – some of the well-established regeneration programs utilitising this method have had great successes with coral growth. It was good to see the newly-established frames off the coast of Naifaru, and I look forward to hopefully seeing photos and hearing stories about the coral growth on the Atoll Volunteers website in the months to come.
If you had a time machine would you do anything differently?
Can you sum up your experience in 3 words?
Fun, sweaty, eye-opening (I hope that last one counts as one word)
Anything else to add?
Thanks to everyone at Atoll Volunteers for providing us with SUCH a unique opportunity!
Thanks Paris! We are glad you enjoyed your time with us and loved having you and your brilliant attitude you brought! Look out for more of our Volunteer stories in the coming months.