Volunteer update

November 29, 2011 by dyertrust

As this year is almost to a close, we were very fortunate to have such wonderful volunteers and interns this year. From 18 year old gape year to 68 year old retired war veteran as well as soldiers and marines from the USA and Afghanistan to some that accidently stumbled onto our programme. Some were here for only a week as this is the only time their vacation allows and some were here for a month and extended for a another couple of months.

The main attraction of course were the Great White Sharks but we are also happy to have some of our whale volunteers pass through. Just like the volunteers that amazed us this year, our sharks, whales, dolphins, seals and penguins did their bit to show off as well.

The shark sightings have been great and happy to report that there are some big females in the bay area. The activity have just been great and a lot of jumping sharks. Some of the volunteers were fortunate to witness a predation on their first day out at sea. The whales surprised us again by being curious around the boat and putting their head out of the water and lurking at the clients and volunteers. This is always a great feeling to see these huge beautiful animals be so gracious and mesmerising.

Here is what some of our volunteers had to say as well:

‘I just wanted to say thank you so, so much again for the experience at Marine Dynamics – fantastic sharks, fantastic people, and the most fantastic atmosphere of anywhere I’ve ever been. You guys have given me the best month of my life, hands down, and it was so, so hard to leave you on Friday. Please send my regards to the other vols, the biologists and the crew, and keep a look out for me again – I may just be coming back!
Thank you so much again,
Tom Weigall – UK’

‘I just wanted to let you know that I made my way well back home to Germany on Sunday after a quite long travel of almost 24 hours.Now, it is already my second day back at work and the colleagues were really interested to hear how the trip was and my experiences with the sharks.Thanks to you, Pepe and all the other people working for Marine Dynamics it was a fantastic stay in Kleinbaai although it was only for 1 week. I enjoyed it a lot and can really recommend to volunteer for a while with the Great White Sharks.
Alex – Germany’

We are also very proud of our volunteers and interns that join this programme because even though when they stay longer than 2 weeks, a part of their programme fee goes towards our Face of Need Penguin project and they contribute to a penguin house and receive a certificate but some of them feel they want to do more. We have had so many volunteers and interns in these last couple of months that have taken their own pocket money and bought shark blocks to help with research and also the penguin project. (visit The Ripple Effect runs on a simple idea that you can make a difference by doing what you love. Started by Simon Borchert and Toni Enderli, they lead a group of passionate swimmers by arranging various events. On the 22nd October, they hosted the only organised 10km swim in South Africa – the Shelley Point Deep Blue Invitational.

This event provided the opportunity for the Dyer Island Conservation Trust and eco-tourism partner Marine Dynamics to share their research on the Great White Shark. Marine biologist Oliver Jewell was able to share with the swimmers the way in which the way in which shark cage diving done by Marine Dynamics can help keep this species protected and change perceptions. Oliver shared the work done of identifying individual sharks through fin IDs. This helps build a population estimate crucial when it is believed that only 3500-5000 great white sharks are left. Oliver was also able to share information on their incredible wound healing abilities as well as the exciting acoustic tagging and tracking programme. The sharks show seasonal patterns of behaviour – feeding on the Cape fur seal in winter then moving inshore to the shallows during summer when more interactions with people can occur. The reasons for this behaviour are not entirely clear and the research is aimed at understanding this behaviour taking into account the influence of environmental parameters such as water temperature, oxygen and salinity.

The Ripple Effect has three focus are as water safety, water purity and water conservation. Through well managed events, all profits are fed into The Ripple Effect Trust for distribution to one of their chosen causes which now includes the Dyer Island Conservation Trust. In an effort to address the 3500 drownings that occur in South Africa every year, the Ripple Effect Waves of Change Programme mentors and trains people from disadvantaged communities to become swimming coaches and in turn teach the children from their communities to swim. This includes teaching important life skills.

The Trust is excited to be associated with The Ripple Effects efforts and appreciates the opportunity to share knowledge about the great white shark.