Manta Ray research & Reef Check surveys, while contributing to our many Community Projects
Barefoot Conservation is working in partnership with the Raja Ampat local government, local Papuan Communities and stakeholders, to protect the coral reefs of Raja Ampat and the communities that rely on them. This partnership is bonded by a willingness to make a real difference, and the understanding that research, survey dives and Marine Protected Areas cannot work unless accompanied by education and the sustained alleviation of poverty. The Raja Ampat project is designed to work at a grass roots level, thus making a real difference to real people, and a difference that each volunteer can see and be a part of. Goals: 1) To conduct marine underwater surveys using the Reef Check methodology, collecting data, for the use in advising local government, local communities and other NGO partners, on the health of coral reefs and the marine life in Raja Ampats Marine Protected Areas (MPA's). 2) Produce a local Manta Ray Identification (ID) database, through underwater manta ray surveys. Sharing collected data with local government and NGO partners. 3) Monitor the number of Crown of Thorns Starfish (COT's) in the region, undertaking COTs survey/removal dives during large outbreaks. 4) Undertake educational programmes on environmental issues, sustainable fishing techniques (if necessary) and the economic benefits of MPA's. 5) Increase quality of life and alleviate poverty in local communities, through our community projects - Education, Waste Management, Health Clinics, Family Planning, Dental Hygiene and Renewable Energy. 6) Encourage entrepreneurial attitudes to deter from unsustainable destructive activities like shark finning or dynamite fishing.
8am to 5pm Monday to Friday
January to December (All year round)
Day consist of 2 survey dives and time spent on various community projects. At Barefoot Conservation we believe it is vital to work in the community, educating, improving equality of life and alleviating poverty, alongside producing a detailed habit map of the surrounding coral reef/marine life that the community rely so heavily on. Breakfast will be served at 7am and depending on the weather, and advice from our local dive guides/boat crew, you will either start your first survey dive of the day at 9am or visit the local community to assist on various community projects which the Community Officer will organise. At the end of each survey dive you will relay the data from your dive slates on to the data recording sheets, for later entry into our database. After lunch you will do the opposite of what you did in the morning, so if you worked on community projects in the morning, your undertake survey dives in the afternoon and vice versa. Dinner is served at 19:00 and, after a short de-brief session on the days activities, the evening is yours to relax, have a cold beer and talk about the amazing marine life you saw or the kind villagers you made friends with, while watching the sunset off Barefoot jetty. Some evenings may involve an advanced presentation or Indonesian language lessons for those interested and theory sessions for volunteers taking extra PADI scuba courses. Monday to Friday are reserved for survey dives and Community project work. Saturday is for fun dives where the Barefoot dive profiles are relaxed slightly, and dive computers can be used for multi-level divers, that are deeper and longer. Wednesday mornings the team goes to Waisai the capital of Raja Ampat to collect/drop off volunteers and pick up supplies. Volunteers can join this trip to use the internet and buy any extra luxury items in Waisai. Please be aware that the capital only has a population of 6000 and hence is still small, so it does not have hundreds of shops. Sunday is a complete NO dive day, this is for health & safety reasons and gives your body time to recover from the weeks diving. This gives you some valuable downtime when you can sunbath, play volleyball or football, go for a swim/snorkel, read a book, go for a walk around the island, watch a movie or visit the local village. Saturdays & Sundays may be used by the Scuba Instructor when teaching extra PADI Scuba courses, however only confined diving (no deeper than 5 meters) can be undertaken on the Sunday.
As you will be based on the remote island of Arborek in Raja Ampat, any free time activities are limited to the island and surrounding area. Saturdays are reserved for 3 fun dives, where volunteers have often not dived before,during the Mon-Fri science research dives. Sunday is a complete day off so volunteers often take part in some of the below activities: Snorkeling, Beach Volley Ball, Sports, Swimming, Reading, Walking around the island, Watching a movie, visit the local village, or relaxing in a hammock. On Wednesday's there can be the opportunity to visit the capital of Raja Ampat, Waisai City with a member of staff. Off site visits to see the Birds of Paradise, or visit a local resort can also be arranged from time to time.
Same Gender Beach Bungalows in a dorm room style (max 4 ppl per bungalow)
Same Gender Beach Bungalows in a dorm room style (max 4 ppl per bungalow)
Valid passport, Proof of insurance, Visa, Proof of diving certificate (if joining as a qualified diver)
None needed to join our program
You must be medically fit for scuba diving and complete the PADI Medical Questionnaire (emails to volunteer on booking) before arrival
A list of essential equipment will be provided upon booking 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.
Our expedition staff are made up of both overseas volunteers and paid local community members. The staff are there for your health & safety and to help guide you in getting the best possible experience from your time with us. At Barefoot Conservation we feel it is very important we all work together as a team to achieve our goals, and that mutual respect is shown to each other at all time. No matter what your age or experience in life, everyone's opinions are valid and listened to by our dedicated staff members, so please never feel afraid to discuss any issues/concerns or opinions with our expedition staff.
Our pricing is broken down in to volunteers who join as unqualified divers who will do the PADI dive training. And those joining as a qualified divers (Advanced Diver or above). Our prices are also depending on how many weeks you wish to join for, for example:
2 Weeks = £1095 3 Weeks = £1395 4 Weeks = £1795 5 Weeks = £2000 6 Weeks = £2150 8 Weeks = £2550 10 Weeks = £2950 12 Weeks = £3350 If you are joining as an unqualified diver please just add £200 to the above prices.
A £100 non-refundable deposit is required to secure your place on the project, with the remaining amount due 60 days before your project start date. Payment Instalments are available, please speak with your dedicated program expert about this.
Flights, Insurance, Visa, PADI Diving Certification fee, Marine Park Entrance Fee
I am so happy I decided to join Barefoot Conservation, it turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life. I can highly recommend this project. It was the best diving I have ever done, seeing so many Manta Rays, sharks, Turtles and so much coral. Met some amazing like minded people who I am sure will remain friends for life. Great staff, safe and professional diving instructor, and if you also love community programs this is the project for you. It is on a remote island so life is pretty basic, not 5 star, but that is what I was looking for. Enjoy!
The location, diving, dive instructors, marine science and food were all great, awesome even! However there was almost no positive interaction with the islanders, no teaching the kids ( schools were closed so it’s not like the kids had anything else to do!), one beach clean in seven weeks (organised by the dive instructor when the leader was away), no discipline around chores unless the owner was due to visit so place got pretty dirty and no apparent interest in environmental matters. A real opportunity wasted IMHO. There also seemed to be an unhealthy focus on drinking and partying with no regard for the agreed rules or the sensibilities of the islanders. I have no issues normally with drinking and partying but when senior employees are still going at 04:00 and upsetting the islanders to the extent they refuse to allow diving on my last day when I was due to finish my course then I get a little miffed. In summary I achieved what I wanted in an awesome place and met some great people. I am not normally one to write negative reviews but I am concerned that it sets a really bad example to the young people coming through and that there is real potential for accidents to occur. I have tried to instigate a polite and private conversation with the owner but to no avail. Sadly I think there will now be a raft of negative reviews as I was not alone in my concerns.
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