Tell us about yourself, Matt.
A former British Army officer, Matt has 'returned to the sea' to pursue his passion for diving and coral reef conservation.
Exchanging his camouflage uniform for board shorts and t-shirts, Matt now heads up the Caribbean Reef Buddy team, delivering conservation projects and training to budding divers and Marine Biologists on the various Reef Buddy volunteer programs.
What is your favorite travel memory?
Arriving on Carriacou for what was a two month stay to do a bit of diving, sightseeing and island tours, etc., before heading back to the UK for more contract work. In short, two months became three, three became six and four years later, I am still here! It is difficult to find a better travel memory than this, the holiday that in many ways never ended!
How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?
Carriacou and Grenada have their own pace and way of doing things, whilst this may not 'fit' preconceived western notions, put simply, it works. Developing an understanding of this was critical to achieving success, particularly when dealing with sensitive issues such as Marine Protected Areas and programs designed to preserve the coral reefs.
I have developed a healthy respect for community opinions and cultural and historic customs and the importance these play in designing and delivering successful conservation projects.
What is the best story you've heard from a return student?
Receiving an email from a former volunteer who had completed our eight-week program. The email was from a very excited lady who had 'landed her dream job', diving and teaching coral reef conservation. Whilst I am sure she obtained the position on her own merits, it is nice to know we played our part in helping her along the way.
What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?
Caribbean Reef Buddy is comprised of both biologists and highly experienced dive professionals, both, from their respective backgrounds are passionate about the marine environment.
Seeing the team come together to share ideas, best practices and ultimately to design and deliver conservation projects and unique and immersive volunteer programs has been and continues to be hugely rewarding.
What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?
Being honest! At Caribbean Reef Buddy we ensure our programs include everything our volunteers need, there are no hidden costs or fees to be paid on arrival. Being honest and upfront enables our volunteers to focus on what they are here to do: diving, diving, and more diving! Plus enjoying some pretty spectacular sunsets with a beverage of their choice!