Taken over from Blue Temple Conservation, the Perhentian Marine Research Station has been going strong for years. In this project that is based in Kampung Pasir Hantu, volunteers get to do reef cleans ‘diving against debris’, photo identification of sharks, and maintaining a coral nursery. For this course, you can volunteer for a minimum of 1 week if you are PADI certified and 2 weeks if not.
If you have never dived before, you will conduct your PADI at one of the local shops before starting your volunteering experience. Kindly specify if you wish to join the diving course or not.
- Help us to establish a new shark ID database for the marine parks.
- Help preserve countless species on the number one island location in Malaysia.
- Volunteers get to learn the Marine Park-tested method of protecting and rehabilitating the coral reefs.
- Discover and understand the local culture of Malaysia.
What to Expect
Week 0 – Dive Course
Unqualified divers arrive Monday and complete dive course including 1 extra buoyancy dive and 1 fun dive.
Weeks 1 onwards – Research Training and Survey Weeks
Qualified divers arrive on Monday.
2 coral nursery dives
2 turtle photo ID dives
2 shark photo ID dives
2 other dives – depending on what needs doing at the time; could be reef clean ups, bouyline maintenance, clearing fish traps or deploying more coral nurseries.
2 beach clean ups with local dive centres
Free day, this is your day to just do nothing or you could do more diving! It's up to you.
Coral Rehabilitation Method
You will learn the Marine Park-tested method of protecting and rehabilitating the coral reefs. This technique includes attaching coral to a PVC frame; allowing the coral fragment to grow making a new reef. The growth of rehabilitated fragments is 400 times faster than established colonies, providing a new home for fish colonies, and making the ocean even more beautiful!
Contribute to our ever-growing turtle photo ID database, and establish a new shark and seahorse photo ID database for the marine parks.This data will be used to improve the management of the marine park and is a cheap and effective way to identify individual animals through their unique patterns. As well as a great excuse to look out for amazing marine creatures during your dives!
If you aren’t dive qualified you soon will be! We utilise the dive schools on the island to train up our divers. By using the established dive centres to run our courses we build stronger bonds with the wider island community and help share the wealth! Through one of these excellent dive schools, volunteers need a week to learn all they need to know to become an open-water and/or advanced open-water diver.
Those who can already dive will know that diving is all about buoyancy; all divers strive for perfect trim in the water, and even expert divers are constantly looking for ways to perfect their buoyancy. Conducting research dives is a great way to raise your buoyancy game! You will learn how to reel out and tuck transect tapes whilst minimising damage to the reef, film the transects, and analyse the data.
Marine park fee
Return Ferry from Kuala Besut to Perhentian Islands
Housing & Meals
Breakfast tends to be simple; for instance bread with peanut butter or jam, banana cake, and coffee, or tea. For those feeling like they want to experience a more traditional Malay breakfast, you are more than welcome to venture into the village, and see what takes your fancy. Paratha bread with curry and coconut rice is highly recommended!
Lunch is usually had at the house. Feel free to use our weekly shopping supplies to create a tasty meal for yourself. Or if we are not home, a yummy packed lunch is prepared by a local restaurant. Generally rice or noodles served with chicken, beef, fish, squid, or a vegetarian option.
Volunteers take turns to prepare dinner once a week and all pitch in to clear up afterwards. Our volunteers come from around the world, so this is a great opportunities to sample cuisine from different countries and eat all together. In addition to the self prepared dinners, once a week volunteers dine with local families in their home, experiencing true, authentic Malay dishes and customs.
Volunteers live in our very own volunteer house in local village Kampung Pasir Hantu on the southeast side of Perhentian Kecil. We work with local people and businesses as much as we can and living in the village is a fantastic way for volunteers to experience local traditions, cuisine, and culture.
Since the Perhentian Marine Research Station has been running we have…
Briefed 4,276 people on eco-snorkelling practices
Surveyed 5,000km of coral reef
Cleaned 57kg of rubbish during reef cleans
Cleared 371 bags of rubbish from our beaches (over 1500kg!)
Started our first coral nursery
Reported 10 illegal activities to make the sea a safer place for the marine life
Trained 80 village snorkel boatsmen in the Green Fins Eco Snorkel Course
Together with our other Perhentian projects, Ecoteer have…
Hosted over 1,200 volunteers
Generated RM 1,500,000 for villagers and local businesses
Raised RM 189k for local transportation
PMRS is constantly looking for ways to move forward; we and the Perhentian Turtle Project helped publish our first paper in 2017* and we’re looking to publish many more in the future. The paper is freely available to view at Herpetological Conservation and Biology Research Journal (we’re very proud so please check it out!)
The Perhentian Islands are a group of islands off of the coast of Malaysia that are surrounded by coral reefs. The 2 islands have different vibes with the Big island catering more towards families and cheaper travels. The island activities typically center around the water and coral reef conservation and research.