The Bahamas has always been on my bucket list, so when I found a project that was based there and had marine conservation, I jumped at it. I arrived on base with no experience in marine conservation research. We did a few dives to get comfortable with the reef then started our marine science training. We started with Coral, Fish and Substrate ID training. It was very interesting to learn about the different species of fish and corals, as well as how they worked together. Once we completed our theory on the ID part of the program, we moved back into the water where we started in water id tests. It was a lot of fun for all of us.
We passed our tests and moved on to learning how to complete reef surveys. The surveys are made up of three parts, Fish ID, Coral ID and Substrate ID. We all took turns doing different surveys, only once we had complete three surveys in each segment did we become qualified ReefCheck ECODivers. All the surveys we completed where submitted to the ReefCheck database, we had already started contributing, which was very rewarding.
One of my favourite parts of the program was the Lion fish education. Lion fish are an invasive species, we were taught about the measures that are been taking to cull them and I assisted with teaching the local community about the lion fish.
Working with the summer school program and then with the primary school was incredible fun, we taught the summer school kids to snorkel and basic conversation practices. When the school year started I worked with the Grade 1 class. Myself and two other volunteers taught the kids about conservation. We all loved this part of the program as the kids were so much fun to work with.
During all the training and diving we did squeeze in some fun, we spent time exploring the island where we had the opportunity to interact with the local people. The festivals are something that you must experience, the people are all so friendly and always willing to stop and have a chat.
Some of the best days on the program where spent at the many Blue holes on Andros. I was lucky enough to dive a few which was truly amazing. When we learnt about how they were formed and that all of them are connected, it really is amazing.
I would not change a thing about my trip. I loved every second and would go back in a heartbeat.
When thinking of the diving or the community work or the social side of it, it always brings a smile to my face. I have made friends that I will have for a very long time and I have learnt so much.
Truly one of the best things I have ever done!