- Study Abroad
- Volunteer Abroad
- Teach Abroad
- Intern Abroad
- High School
- Gap Year
BSES - Gap Year Expedition in Oman
Charles is a natural history enthusiast and wildlife photographer based in Bedford, UK. He specializes in butterflies and other insects, and has also travelled widely across Africa to follow the big game and has worked on conservation projects in Namibia and Kenya.
Highlights: The highlight for me was sitting on the beach after dinner, watching bright blue bio-luminescence in the breaking waves. A spectacular sight and one we were privileged to see on a number of nights. Sleeping on the sand, only 20 meters from the sea made it even more special. On return, reviewing the results has been amazing - with real footage of the endangered Arabian Leopard (our primary objective) and establishing a number of rare insect observations made us all feel part of something important.
Morning: Mornings are up early from sleeping bags on the bare sand, to see the sunrise across the dunes and photograph the shifting shapes and patterns. Breakfast round the campfire - porridge or maybe bread cooked overnight in the embers. Cold at first it soon warms up as the sun gets higher. Jobs for the day could be walking the dunes to set camera traps, checking overnight small mammal traps and pitfalls. In the coastal wadi, butterfly and dragonfly census work was done, capturing and identifying, or recording birds and lizards.
Afternoon: Early afternoons were typically spent under canvas shades to avoid the fierce sun. Siestas are seriously underrated, and provide an energy boost for when it cooled down a little. General maintenance activities included driving to fetch water, clearing the campsite, burying waste etc. Swimming in the sea was also on the agenda, and exploration of remote areas particularly around the Wadi.
Evening: Evenings were about food preparation, review of the days activities and observations, writing up the blog and science records. Without tents on most nights, there's nothing to beat falling asleep looking up at the darkest night sky imaginable - with billions of starts on view. On the coast there was an attempt to introduce Hermit Crab racing, but it appears that they not only have a poor sense of direction but are also seriously uncompetitive - most either ran in circles or else retired to their shells to sleep.
BSES offers challenging and rewarding gap year expeditions for young people taking a gap year. The core belief of BSES is to provide youth with exciting and inspirations activities overseas in remote locations, such as the deserts of Oman, and the forests of the Amazon. By traveling to remote locations, students are forced to adapt to drastically different environment, and develop personally as a result. If you are looking for a truly unique gap year experience that challenges you to think outside the box, the visit the BSES website to learn about upcoming expeditions.