My experience during the Projects Abroad Marine Conservation volunteer program was absolutely phenomenal, it truly was an adventure of a life time!
I did everything through projects abroad, including booking my flights - i didn't have the confidence or knowledge to organize my own travel itinerary but projects abroad did a fantastic job ensuring the flights were ideal for me in terms of dates, times and airports. It couldn't have been easier, it made the whole experience of traveling across the globe (From London to Thailand) stress-free all i had to do was show them my tickets and i was off!
When i arrived at Krabi airport, a Projects Abroad representative was there waiting for my arrival with transfer to my new home for the next month. I was warmly welcomed, and once i arrived at my new campsite i was given a tour and freedom to settle before getting started with the project at the start of the working week.
On my first day was an induction day - sitting down with other new volunteers as we were officially welcomed into the new world of diving. But first - we explored Krabi town! With the amazing Bean we were given the best Thai top tips from food recommendations, best places to go, things to see and do, taught us some of the Thai language, educated us on their culture, it was a very heartwarming welcome to the start of an amazing adventure!
The first week was spent with our heads in the books, to complete the theory for our PADI Open Water Diving qualification and practicing diving / breathing techniques in the swimming pool (yes, the camp site has a swimming pool!) - which once passed meant we could join the other volunteers on the dive boat out at sea!
Week 2 saw us put everything we learnt into practice in the big blue itself! While everyone was flourishing, i was very nervous having never swam in the ocean nor dived before but the Projects Abroad diving crew were so amazing and so patient, they made me feel safe and gave me the confidence to make that jump (literally, off the boat into the sea!)
Each dive i did i become more and more confident, and dove deeper and deeper exploring more and discovering something new during every single dive, it was breathtaking and utterly speechless diving in the wonders of the sea!
The main goals of dives was to do coral surveying or sea anemone surveying - putting all our diving skills into action while collecting data to then later input into an online global marine conservation database.
Other diving activities we did included coral propagation - another data collecting survey to encourage coral breeding.
When we weren't diving, we went to a local village beach to help with an on-going mangrove reforestation project - this involved getting down and dirty in the mud, digging up very delicately the young mature mangroves and re-planting them to allow them to grow into full mature age.
We also did work in a local primary school, preparing a presentation and educating the Thai children about the work we are doing and how they can help protect the ocean themselves by making them plastic aware!
A day trip to Phuket was also on the agenda, visiting a marine rescue and rehabilitation center where we got to see loads of sea turtles and get in with them as we cleaned their pool - during my visit we were very lucky to witness a sea turtle being released into the ocean for the first time. That was a once in a life time experience to see!
When diving days are over, the evenings were given to us to do whatever we wanted! We could go to the beach, explore krabi town, indulge at night foodie markets and the same went for the weekends! We had the freedom to explore and do whatever we wanted! During my weekends i took the opportunity to explore krabi, take on Dragons Crest (highly recommended hike), visited an ethical elephant sanctuary, hopped on a boat to Railey beach and took in the culture of Thailand.
Food was fantastic!! The camp had their own chef who would make the most delicious meals and catered for all dietary requirements - vegetarian, pescetarian, vegan, meat you name it!
All in all, my time in Thailand was completely life changing and i met some of the most amazing people there and learnt and gained so many unique special experiences - one month wasn't long enough!
For anyone considering it, take that leap and do it! You will not regret it!