Ocean Spirits is a very organised conservation project. If you choose to take part in this programme you will definitely be making a positive difference to the population of the endangered species the leatherback turtle.
Whilst you are there working on the project you are actively involved gathering information and vital statistics of the nesting leatherback turtles and (if you're lucky) the hatchlings. Then afterwards the supervisors keep you updated on the data collected by all the staff and volunteers involved that season and the following seasons to come. It is rewarding to see the results of your hard work.
The work is fantastic. It is an amazing experience to get up close to these wonderful creatures. You will measure them, count their eggs and sometimes if it is a new turtle you can assist in tagging and naming her. You each have a bag with all the equipment you need for the surveys, you pack these yourself every time you go out and are responsible for cleaning and putting the stuff away when you return the next morning. It's worth mentioning this as small details like this are what goes to make the project run smoothly. I have done charity work which is less organised and it can make it difficult to get the job done.
Just to warn you the night patrols can be quite tough. Keeping awake once you've sat down to rest can sometimes be a challenge but probably the most difficult part is the relentless mosquitoes and earlier on in the evening the 'blister bugs'. However the turtles make it all worthwhile. I will always remember one night where I got to sit on a moonlit beach and watch one of the turtles return to the sea, the best part was when she crawled past so close I began to think she was going to crawl right over me! I'm sure she was curiously checking us out, my heart was pounding and I felt so elated.
The early morning nest surveys are very early but the motivation to get up and rake over the turtle tracks to protect the nests from poaching makes you jump out of bed and get down to the beach. Plus it always felt so good to be on the beach that early.
The accommodation is comfortable. Everyone helps to cook and keep the house clean, this is part of the rota. Dinners are taken all together as a group which I liked and I never tired of the view from the balcony where we would eat and relax.
In your down time there are lots of places to explore, like the waterfalls and the chocolate factory. The organised trip to Sugar Loaf island was great, the supervisors really looked after us and cooked for us on the beach, including fresh fish straight from the sea.
With regards to a previous comment, yes your experience can depend on what people and supervisors you work with. Unfortunately not everyone is guaranteed to get on with everyone else but that can happen everywhere in life and you just need to concentrate on the people you do get on with. Overall I would say the atmosphere is generally a good one and we are all there for the same reason, the turtles, so immediately you all have something in common. I look back on my experience with Ocean Spirits with fondness. Overall I had a great time :)