project review

Fiji Volunteer Diaries

Review submitted by Frontier
Review date 17 nov. 2019

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This trip has been amazing; I don't think that any of us wanted to leave the island and our home at Naiavia. The time here has been amazing from day one - I have loved every minute here and am so sad to be leaving.

Incredibly, over the past 10 weeks I have gone from never diving before to doing my 50th dive (with sharks!!) and managed to get qualified up to rescue diver.

The dives have been amazing. Not only have we swum with manta rays and spotted turtles but we've found some really amazing and unique marine environments!

The satellite camps gave us a change to see a different part of the island and see what true village life was like. I think from that we have all gained a better perspective on life and we've gained the knowledge that just because you don't have much doesn't mean that life can't be great.

My time out here has been so much better than I could ever have imagined. Deciding to come here was the best decision that I ever made. Although I'll miss Naviavia, I'll remember my time here forever.

We have just completed our second phase on Gau and the first 6 months of survey work, extending our research further south and north to include the Sawaieke, Lovu and Vadravadra regions. The latter two were visited on two 3-day satellite camps, yielding lots of fascinating information regarding marine resource use, and allowing us to carry out some teaching of the elders of local villages.

We have also made excellent progress on our more diverse work programs. As part of our recently initiated turtle project, a number of socioeconomic interviews were carried out regarding turtle meat consumption by the islanders. With the information gathered so far there is real potential for formulating a turtle conservation strategy for Gau. With the help of our BTEC students we have also started surveying the Seagrass beds in the lagoon areas - a source of food for green turtles.

Our Manta Ray Identification Program is also proving very successful, with many sightings over the last month. Groups have ranged in size from one individual to nine with some of the animals attaining sizes of 4m plus. One individual, ‘Stealth', has been recognised and photographed a number of times in a small locale suggesting our population has a limited home-range within the reaches of Gau's fringing and barrier reefs.

Find out more about the Fiji Marine Conservation and Diving project