Vinaka Fiji Volunteering - Marine Research and Conservation

Experiencing amazing marine life including Manta Rays and Giant Clams as you scuba dive and snorkel as part of your work, working with local villages to build their skills and knowledge of their local marine environment.

From
$2,104

Make a booking with your preferred option.

SCUBA DIVING REQUIREMENTS: You will spend time on this expedition both snorkelling and scuba diving and as such you need to be qualified to at least Open Water Level. Non-divers can join the program following completion of a diver training program (approx. 5 days) with Reef Safari in Fiji that will certify you up to an Open Water Level. Note: prices for the Marine research and conservation program include all dive and snorkel gear.

Participating in this program you will be involved in one of or several of the following:

  • Manta Ray Research – observation, identification, behavioural studies and habitat analysis through daily swimming and snorkelling with these magnificent creatures.
  • Reef Check Fiji – providing insight to the health of a particular reef area through diving and snorkelling observation, photographing and recording of data.
  • Crown of Thorn Seastar (COTS) Watch – monitoring and management of this devastating predator to coral reefs.
  • Coral and clam nursery - Clams filter the water and keep it ‘clean’ which is essential for coral growth. You’ll contribute to part of a nationwide program to re-introduce and disperse clams including the giant clam Tridacna Gigas throughout Fiji.
  • Marine Biodiversity Database Fiji – tracking existing and new species.
  • Habitat mapping – providing in-depth information into the layout and composition of the reef.
  • Assist the educational program through teaching sustainable reef practices and teaching snorkelling skills.

Participants will also record information on sharks, rays, turtles and cetaceans spotted during their stay and also periodically other species identified on the endangered lists of Fiji to support protection efforts by the Coral Reef Allowance and Fiji Fisheries. Information and data from our programs is provided to: Manta Trust, Fiji Fisheries, University of South Pacific, Marine Ecology Fiji and Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN). We have a highly experienced team of staff leading international volunteers working on collecting data that is provided for research projects assisting in the protection of endangered marine-life. Data is also used to establish Marine Protected Areas that will provide long term benefits to the local community and help guarantee food security for future generations.

WHAT’S INCLUDED: - Pre-departure support - Discounted Services - 24 hour emergency phone - Arrival orientation - Long term experienced staff - Safe and basic accommodations (dormitory as standard) - Welcome meeting - All meals prepared and provided by resort or village - Location and cultural orientation - All necessary project training by experienced staff - All necessary project equipment and materials - 24 hour in-country support - Teamwork and leadership experience - Transfer to base location - Construction techniques training

HOW YOU’LL MAKE A DIFFERENCE: Through participating in this program you will truly get the feeling that you have played a part in protecting Fiji’s stunning natural marine environment for future generations and travellers to enjoy. Not only will you complete hands on work to help research and conserve the environment, but you will assist in passing on skills to the local villagers who are the day to day guardians of this beautiful marine environment.

Our volunteer base is located at Barefoot Island Lodge in the Yasawa Islands. This is accessible on the Yasawa Flyer, which departs from Denarau Marina. More information and tickets will be issued when you book your Vinaka Fiji Volunteer program.

DRESS: The villages you'll be working in are very traditional and the dress code is important to respect. Please pack a sulu as you will need to wear this below the knee any time you are in a village. This applies to both men and women. Also pack loose-fitting shirts or tops that cover your shoulders for wear in the villages

WHERE YOU STAY: Our volunteering programs are based in the remote Yasawa Island group, consisting of a chain of 20 ancient volcanic islands. Crystal clear lagoons surround the pristine white sandy beaches and the northern islands are home to the famous Blue Lagoon. Barefoot Island Lodge is the Base for our volunteers. The resort is situated between two beaches on spectacular Drawaqa Island. One of the beaches overlooks a breathtaking coral lagoon, home to a large channel of coral gardens where majestic manta rays come to feed. Set amongst mature trees, just a few steps from the beach, are the Standard Double/Twin Bures and Dorms with shared bathrooms and facilities. Safari-tent-style Deluxe Bures with ensuite bathrooms are also available as an upgrade. All rooms are serviced daily. Bed linen is provided however you will need to bring all towels and toiletries. There is a basic laundry service available for a small fee. MEALS: Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included in your program cost. Meals are a social scene, with both volunteers and resort guests dining in a communal setting.

WEEKENDS AT YOUR LEASURE: Saturday and Sunday are enjoyed at your leisure. Relaxation is big in Fiji, but if you’re in the mood there are incredible activities available throughout the Yasawas including some of the world’s best snorkelling and diving, hiking, local villages to visit, cultural activities, hand-line fishing, visits to caves… even swimming with manta rays depending on the season! Sunday is typically a ‘day of rest’ in Fiji so supervised activities are limited, but volunteers are always welcome to attend the traditional Village Church Service - generally a very moving experience.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Our programs run from a Saturday morning through to the following Saturday morning and are a total of 7 nights in duration – 5 days of volunteering and two days of relaxation on a tropical island! You may book any number of weeks you wish from 1 to 26, however the program can only be purchased in multiples of one week. The program duration does not include any international travel, the night prior to commencement or nights following completion. We can however assist with all pre and post accommodation bookings required in Fiji.

Programs are open to people aged 16 years and older.

The daily journey from the basecamp to the schools and villages where you’ll be working is a 30 to 60 minute longboat transfer. On the rare occasion of rough sea conditions, we will not be able to run transfers due to safety reasons and volunteers will have to remain at Basecamp for the day.

You shouldn’t be reaching for your wallet while in the islands as the cost of your accommodation, transfers and meals are covered in your program fee. You’ll just need a bit of cash if you wish to purchase any additional drinking water throughout the day (or alcoholic drinks at night), snacks or partake in weekend activities. Please be aware that there are no banks or ATM machines in the Yasawa Islands. Cash machines are available at Nadi Airport and Denarau Marina. Barefoot Island Lodge (the Base) accepts major credit cards.

It is the responsibility of all volunteers travelling with Vinaka Fiji to check and adhere to Fiji’s Visa requirements. As most volunteers choose to stay and travel around Fiji before or after volunteering, they should enter the country on a ‘Visitor/Tourist Visa’, which can be obtained for a period of up to 3 months. There is currently no specific Visa for Volunteers in Fiji and volunteering is not considered work under the Immigration requirements, so you do not need a work visa.

It is an essential condition of travelling with Vinaka Fiji that you have a valid travel insurance policy to cover the cost of any emergency medical treatment or accident and to protect your holiday payments in the event of cancellation. Vinaka Fiji has insurance cover available with a leading insurer of adventure style travel, which can be taken out at time of booking if required.

Twin/Double Bure and Deluxe Twin/Double Bure prices are per person, based on two people sharing. If you wish to stay in twin/double accommodation by yourself, an additional single supplement fee applies. Twin/Double Bure accommodation has shared bathroom facilities.

The Donation to VF Projects is not included in the cost of your package. This is the amount that we request you donate to the Vinaka Fiji program in addition to your accommodation, transfers, meals and program costs. Donations are used for purchasing and sourcing materials to support the Trust. These include tools and equipment, agriculture supplies like seedlings and chicks, materials for construction, water tanks and installation fittings, school books and learning aids.

SCUBA DIVING REQUIREMENTS: You will spend time on this expedition both snorkelling and scuba diving and as such you need to be qualified to at least Open Water Level. Non-divers can join the program following completion of a diver training program (approx. 5 days) with Reef Safari in Fiji that will certify you up to an Open Water Level. Note: prices for the Marine research and conservation program include all dive and snorkel gear.

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