Marine Volunteer-best time of your life

October 18, 2012 by dyertrust

Our first day we got to experience life at Marine Dynamics from the point of view of the client, going out on the cage diving boat Slashfin, and doing a cage dive. We saw Southern Right Whales, Great White Sharks, and Cape Fur Seals, before getting settled into our new home. Everyone is really friendly and welcoming.

The next day we were given a lecture about the research done at Marine Dynamics and got our uniforms, which was really exciting. Then we went our on the research boat Lwazi for a tour of the areas we will be working in at sea. Our training continued in the afternoon as we got to see how Slashfin works from the point of view of a volunteer, a good combination of a little bit of work and a lot of fun. We prepared the wetsuits and boat for going out, and we got to go in the shark cage again. There were a lot of big sharks around the boat today which was amazing to see. Back on shore we helped unload to boat and put the wetsuits and life jackets away.

On Wednesday the interns had a shore day installing programs to our laptops in preparation for helping with data analysis, and a lecture from the skipper of Slashfin; Henny about going to sea. Thursday was spent out on Slashfin, going to sea every day to look at sharks never gets boring, its brilliant to be able to see them on a daily basis. Once again we saw some big sharks around the boat.

Friday came around really quickly, as interns we went out on Lwazi again to look for Great Whites to ID and add to the database. We went to Shark Alley by Dyer Island, and quickly saw there were no sharks around when the seals start to play with our decoy and swim in our chum line!! So we upped anchor and headed to the shallows were the sharks are known to be at this time of year. We had not been there long when a 3m shark decided to play tug of war with our decoy! Shortly afterwards a 4m shark show up and grabbed the bait, all this commotion attracted a massive 4.5m female named Evil Fin to our boat. It was amazing to see her so close she was so graceful and truly massive. As Lwazi is a smaller boat than Slashfin you get to experience these wonderful animals even closer which leaves you in awe every time. We spent most of the day on Lwazi, when we got back we had another lecture, this time from Tracey who organizes the volunteers and interns.

By Saturday everyone knows the routine, this morning we went out onto Slashfin and by now we work like a well oiled machine, giving plenty of time to take lots of good pictures. This trip was special as we saw the marine big 5; Southern Right Whales, Dolphins, Seals, Pengiuns and of course the Great White sharks. I was super happy to see all 5 in 1 trip. In the afternoon we all had some well earned time off, then we went out for evening meal at the Great White house to celebrate our first week - the food here is amazing.

Sunday was by now a typical day on Slashfin in the morning, then we had a tagging and tracking lecture from Oli in the afternoon. The good thing about here is there is always something interesting to do.