Learn to dive in the warm waters of Caqalai, while directly contributing to conservation efforts in the region.
Discover the rich biodiversity of the South Pacific while assisting with research that will aid the local management of marine protected areas. Contribute to national efforts to conserve Fiji’s delicate coral reefs and marine ecosystems while living on this research base on the stunning Caqalai Island.
Travel to idyllic traditional Fijian villages, gain your PADI Advanced Open Water qualification and contribute towards tangible, long-term community benefits.
Volunteer work is 5 days a week
January – November, set start dates
On this program, you will learn all about coral reef ecology and conservation issues facing tropical marine organisms and the communities that depend on them. Participants typically spend time in the water every day, in what can only be described as a vibrant marine ecosystem. There is a possibility of seeing endangered species such as sharks, rays, humphead wrasse and whales while participating on the program. While on dry land, you will also likely spend some time in the community helping with environmental education in our partner schools.
You will spend the majority of your time on this expedition in the water and as such you need to be qualified to at least PADI Open Water, or equivalent. Non-divers can join for 8- and 12-week durations, and we will supply you with all the training you need to be certified up to PADI Advanced Open Water. The 4-week duration is only open for divers already qualified to PADI Open Water Diver or equivalent. For non-divers wishing to attend for 4-weeks, we can recommend local dive centers that will help you qualify before your intended start date.
Depending on the duration of your expedition, dive qualified volunteers will be trained in invertebrate (4 week volunteers), benthic (coral) or fish (8 to 12 week volunteers ) target species and life forms. Once you are fully trained in species ID, you will be taught several survey techniques allowing you to become a member of the data collection survey team building an inventory of marine species in Moturiki waters. Marine expedition volunteers will also have the chance to assist in delivering lessons focused on environmental awareness in two schools on Moturiki Island and will participate in community based work giving workshops and helping to improve water security (rain water harvesting infra structure, compost toilets).
You will be based on Caqalai island, approximately 1 hour by boat from the Viti Levu Mainland and a further 45 minutes to the capital, Suva. You will be working on nearby islands and coastal reefs around the base. In order to travel independently around the area on your days off you must prebook water taxis with the staff; there is usually a water taxi each morning and afternoon to and from the mainland. Costs will vary based on destination, but would normally be between $60-150FJD return
You will have time off and be free to travel in the local area on the weekends, usually from around 14:00 Friday, coming back to base by 17:00 on Sunday. In this time you could do day trips such as visiting the old colonial capital Levuka, on nearby Ovalau, or trekking up the mountains there. You can also go snorkelling or scuba diving, relax for a night or two in a nearby resort or go further afield on Viti Levu. Before and after your program there are countless attractions that can be reached after a day or two of travelling. You could visit the Dolphins at Moon Reef, take a ferry to Taveuni – ‘the garden of Fiji’ or explore the interior of Viti Levu – the possibilities are endless!
Accommodation on base is in shared (mixed sex) facilities with shared bathroom facilities. Flush toilet facilities are available, and participants share base duties, including cleaning and other chores. There is rain water available for cooking, drinking, and washing. Ground water is pumped for other ablutions. Careful water conservation is necessary and water may be rationed during droughts. Basic flush toilet facilities and cold water showers are available. Participants share daily duties to ensure the smooth running of base, including cleaning, cooking, kitting up boats, tidying the grounds and other chores
Volunteers take it in turns to prepare meals for the group. Food is a very basic, mostly vegetarian diet: meat is usually provided on base twice per week. Breakfast could be porridge, fruit or toast. Lunch and dinner are a mixture of lentils, beans and vegetables with pasta, rice, noodles, roti, cassava or dalo. Please note, Caqalai is a dry base, no alcohol is permitted on base.
There is no general internet access for volunteers on base. The SIM and Credit must be purchased prior to island deployment. It is possible to purchase a pay-as-you-go mobile internet USB stick or wifi modem, however internet signal can be poor at times.
You will have limited access to long-distance communications whilst on the program, so make sure friends and family know how often they can expect to hear from you. Mobile/cell phones: Reception is available on base, although it can be poor at times. It is possible to purchase pay-as-you-go Fijian Sim cards for unlocked phones in Nadi pre-departure.
A change of environment, climate, food and lifestyle often results in minor, and occasionally more serious, illness. Please inform staff if you feel unwell at any time. If you need to see a doctor during your stay, we usually recommend travelling to Suva (1 hour by boat and 45 minute drive) and visiting the clinics at either Fiji Care or MIOT Pacific Hospital, both on Amy Street.For major emergencies volunteers would be taken to MIOT Pacific Hospital or Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva; volunteers must ensure their insurance covers international and local evacuation in case of a medical emergency. We have emergency procedures for all foreseeable events, the staff are first aid trained and you will receive a safety briefing on arrival.
Provided, more details to be provided upon confirmation
Passport, Criminal Background check, Medical form, PADI Medical Form
PADI Open Water certification ( or equivalent) for 4 weekers
Doctors note must be signed if you have any illnesses to declare
Kit list will be sent across at time of confirmation
Once you have confirmed your spot on this program, you will be allocated to a dedicated program expert who will assist you as you prepare for your program.
Project staff on base who facilitate the project, run training’s & assist with any additional health & safety needs if required. 24 Hour emergency phone. Please ask your program expert for more information.
You will be given the option to pay in instalments for an Instalment Fee of £125 per booking. If you select this Instalment Fee option, a non-refundable deposit payment of £350 is due within 48 hours of notice of acceptance onto the program, 50% of the balance will fall due 16 weeks before departure and the remaining 50% of the balance will fall due 12 weeks before departure. If you the Participant cancel this agreement, the Participant shall not be entitled to a refund of any monies paid.
If you do not select the Instalment Fee option, the full cost of your booking is due within 48 hours of notice of acceptance onto the program. If you the Participant cancel this agreement more than 16 weeks prior to departure, the Participant shall be entitled to a refund of the full amount paid minus £350.
If you the Participant cancel this agreement between 16 and 12 weeks prior to departure, the Participant shall be entitled to a refund of 60% of the full amount paid. If you the Participant cancel this agreement less than 12 weeks prior to departure, the Participant shall be entitled to a refund of £100.
I‘ve been participating in this project for two months and I enjoyed every single day! The island where the project is located is very small but a real paradise. The dive sites around it are very beautiful as well; during the project you will have plenty of time to see how great they are because there is at least one dive per day for everybody!. I‘m very glad that I had the opportunity to be a part of the GVI community and the great important work they are doing. And I’m especially grateful for all the amazing people I met there and who made my experience a very funny, unique and unforgettable one. Sometimes, it can be a long day on base but the knowing that you are actually making a difference is worth every effort! I can only recommend this project to everybody who likes to dive (or is interested to learn it as I did) and want’s to save the world (or at least a very beautiful part of it😉)
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