My time spent volunteering with ReefCI in Belize is one I’ll never forget. Booking with IVHQ ensured that I had all the necessary information and equipment ready for the trip. My point of contact within IVHQ kept in touch with me ahead and during my trip, and responded swiftly when I had any follow up questions.
Over the three weeks on Tom Owen's Caye, my experience just got better and better. Having been certified for diving 12 years prior, I hadn’t dived since so I was nervous to return to it, however I had no reason to be. The diving instructors on the programme were incredible. They were supportive and patient with the various diving experience of all the volunteers and made me feel at ease. Their knowledge of the marine life was extensive, which they shared during various lessons, and their passion for what they do genuinely shines. Learning to spear the invasive lion fish species was incredible, and surprisingly fun! We also spent time on a nearby island doing a beach clean up which felt very rewarding and has increased my awareness of my single use plastic consumption.
The rest of the staff on the island programme were great, including the chefs, housekeeping, boat captain - some of who became great friends. It almost felt like I was part of a big family, rather than volunteering. I learnt a huge amount during my time, I completed my advanced open water diving and lion fish specialism certifications during my time there. You truly feel like you’re making a difference.
This experience has inspired me to continue volunteering in marine conservation and explore other projects through IVHQ.