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Marine Conservation Expedition in Fiji

Learn to dive in the incredible waters of Fiji and contribute to vital conservation efforts

Program Details

Program Type

Volunteering

4 weeks from

$3,800.00

Code: FJYW0298E

Program Information

Dive in crystal blue water and discover the rich biodiversity of the South Pacific while assisting with the local management of marine protected areas. Contribute to national efforts to conserve Fiji’s delicate coral reefs and marine ecosystems while living on GVI’s research base on the stunning Caqalai Island. Travel to idyllic traditional Fijian villages; gain your PADI Advanced Open Water qualification and contribute towards tangible, long-term community benefits.
Overview
Project Life
Project Details
Free Time
The Team
Dates & Costs

Overview

Travel to the clear blue waters of the South Pacific Ocean, learn or improve your diving in one of the world’s most beautiful tropical countries and discover an incredible underwater environment.

Join an international team of volunteers on this marine conservation expedition which focuses on the collection of important marine inventory data collected on underwater research dives. This research is then made available to local communities and organisations to help better inform management decision making. The project is geared at providing long term benefits to the local communities through strategies designed to help guarantee food security for future generations.

Please note, this program offers durations up to 24 weeks. Speak to your Country Expert for more details of extending your stay in-country.

Highlights Include

Learning new scuba diving skills, conducting underwater surveys in the warm, turquoise waters of the Pacific, spending time getting to know the local community and their traditional villages, teaching children about environmental conservation during weekly school visits, assisting in the creation of coral farms, discover a myriad of fascinating marine creatures to study, enjoy island hopping, stunning remote island locations, scuba diving, snorkelling, traditional ceremonies, idyllic traditional Fijian villages, white beaches, climbing volcanic mountains, enjoying breathtaking scenery, cave swimming, cultural immersion in the Fijian way of life, learning to speak Fijian.

Scuba Diving Requirements and Additional Courses

You will spend the majority of your time on this expedition scuba diving and as such you need to be qualified to at least PADI Open Water, or equivalent. Non divers can join for 8- and 12-week durations, GVI will supply you with all the training you need to be certified up to PADI Advanced Open Water. The 4-week duration is only open for divers already qualified to PADI Open Water Diver or equivalent. For non-divers wishing to attend for 4-weeks, we can recommend local dive centers that will help you qualify before your intended start date.

Also, if you wish to add to your scuba diving skillset, why not take an extra course at a discounted rate?! Check out available Add-ons under the Book Now button on the right hand side, or mention to your Country Expert if interested in finding out more.

Testimonials

"Thank you for such an awesome experience in Fiji, I have come back reenergised and have changed the course of my medical career – I will be taking next year off to work in the developing world. Thank you all for the inspiring and profound impact you had on my person and my career. I feel that this decision is the beginning of something truly extraordinary!"

- Clare Curtis, (Australia)

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Fiji Islands Video

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9 MONTHS AGO
Volunteer with Children
Fiji Islands  By lauren

Students

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Tansfer to base location
  • PADI Open Water (for 8 and 12 week volunteers) and Advanced Open Water
  • PADI Coral Reef Research Diver Distinctive Speciality
  • First Aid & CPR training
  • Coral reef ecology
  • Community work workshop
  • Use of O2 equipment workshop
  • Diving compressor training workshop

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes

Parents

Why Study Abroad

GVI Difference

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Tansfer to base location
  • PADI Open Water (for 8 and 12 week volunteers) and Advanced Open Water
  • PADI Coral Reef Research Diver Distinctive Speciality
  • First Aid & CPR training
  • Coral reef ecology
  • Community work workshop
  • Use of O2 equipment workshop
  • Diving compressor training workshop

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes

Course Life

You will first complete an initial training phase where you will learn to accurately identify locally targeted fish or coral species. Training will involve snorkel and dive point outs with GVI staff, as well as learning benthic coral and invertebrate.

Depending on weather conditions, we aim for everyone to have 1 or 2 dives/snorkels each day, 5 days a week, during which you will conduct underwater surveys after you complete your training. Besides diving, you should expect to be involved in additional projects and activities, including training sessions, marine debris surveys and removal, environmental education session or alternative income training, depending on local and project needs. You will also be required to complete base duties.

You will stay on GVI’s Caqalai Island base in basic dormitory accommodation with your fellow volunteers with a communal kitchen, living and work area, taking turns with base duties on a rotational basis.

Weekends are usually yours to rest up and relax, or perhaps even explore some of the surrounding area, all depending on the project needs and requirements.

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Tansfer to base location
  • PADI Open Water (for 8 and 12 week volunteers) and Advanced Open Water
  • PADI Coral Reef Research Diver Distinctive Speciality
  • First Aid & CPR training
  • Coral reef ecology
  • Community work workshop
  • Use of O2 equipment workshop
  • Diving compressor training workshop

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes

Course Details

GVI has partnered with local NGOs and organisations in order to identify the best ways to assist the community to conserve their marine resources. The following research priorities have been identified:

  • Data collection on targeted fish species
  • Habitat mapping for coral reefs and mangrove (Coral Reef and Mangrove Habitat mapping)
  • Development of an environmental education and awareness program for local schools and communities.
  • Development of terrestrial and marine environmental best practice on Caqalai Island

GVI works closely with the Fiji Department of Fisheries and the Fiji Locally Managed Marine Area Network to ensure that the impact of this research and program remains is both relevant and useful for the wider community.

How this project makes a difference

The communities with which we work do not have access to the necessary resources to carry out regular data collection in their fishing grounds and there has been a significant detriment to coral and fish stocks due to natural disaster events and unsustainable fishing practice.

Data collected on our volunteer powered surveys is presented to the local community land owners along with alternative livelihood methods and management strategies to help local stakeholders to make informed decisions with regards to their vital marine resources and long term food security.

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Tansfer to base location
  • PADI Open Water (for 8 and 12 week volunteers) and Advanced Open Water
  • PADI Coral Reef Research Diver Distinctive Speciality
  • First Aid & CPR training
  • Coral reef ecology
  • Community work workshop
  • Use of O2 equipment workshop
  • Diving compressor training workshop

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes

Life on the Internship

You will first complete an initial training phase where you will learn to accurately identify locally targeted fish or coral species. Training will involve snorkel and dive point outs with GVI staff, as well as learning benthic coral and invertebrate.

Depending on weather conditions, we aim for everyone to have 1 or 2 dives/snorkels each day, 5 days a week, during which you will conduct underwater surveys after you complete your training. Besides diving, you should expect to be involved in additional projects and activities, including training sessions, marine debris surveys and removal, environmental education session or alternative income training, depending on local and project needs. You will also be required to complete base duties.

You will stay on GVI’s Caqalai Island base in basic dormitory accommodation with your fellow volunteers with a communal kitchen, living and work area, taking turns with base duties on a rotational basis.

Weekends are usually yours to rest up and relax, or perhaps even explore some of the surrounding area, all depending on the project needs and requirements.

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Tansfer to base location
  • PADI Open Water (for 8 and 12 week volunteers) and Advanced Open Water
  • PADI Coral Reef Research Diver Distinctive Speciality
  • First Aid & CPR training
  • Coral reef ecology
  • Community work workshop
  • Use of O2 equipment workshop
  • Diving compressor training workshop

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes

Program Details

GVI has partnered with local NGOs and organisations in order to identify the best ways to assist the community to conserve their marine resources. The following research priorities have been identified:

  • Data collection on targeted fish species
  • Habitat mapping for coral reefs and mangrove (Coral Reef and Mangrove Habitat mapping)
  • Development of an environmental education and awareness program for local schools and communities.
  • Development of terrestrial and marine environmental best practice on Caqalai Island

GVI works closely with the Fiji Department of Fisheries and the Fiji Locally Managed Marine Area Network to ensure that the impact of this research and program remains is both relevant and useful for the wider community.

How this project makes a difference

The communities with which we work do not have access to the necessary resources to carry out regular data collection in their fishing grounds and there has been a significant detriment to coral and fish stocks due to natural disaster events and unsustainable fishing practice.

Data collected on our volunteer powered surveys is presented to the local community land owners along with alternative livelihood methods and management strategies to help local stakeholders to make informed decisions with regards to their vital marine resources and long term food security.

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Tansfer to base location
  • PADI Open Water (for 8 and 12 week volunteers) and Advanced Open Water
  • PADI Coral Reef Research Diver Distinctive Speciality
  • First Aid & CPR training
  • Coral reef ecology
  • Community work workshop
  • Use of O2 equipment workshop
  • Diving compressor training workshop

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes

Project Life

You will first complete an initial training phase where you will learn to accurately identify locally targeted fish or coral species. Training will involve snorkel and dive point outs with GVI staff, as well as learning benthic coral and invertebrate.

Depending on weather conditions, we aim for everyone to have 1 or 2 dives/snorkels each day, 5 days a week, during which you will conduct underwater surveys after you complete your training. Besides diving, you should expect to be involved in additional projects and activities, including training sessions, marine debris surveys and removal, environmental education session or alternative income training, depending on local and project needs. You will also be required to complete base duties.

You will stay on GVI’s Caqalai Island base in basic dormitory accommodation with your fellow volunteers with a communal kitchen, living and work area, taking turns with base duties on a rotational basis.

Weekends are usually yours to rest up and relax, or perhaps even explore some of the surrounding area, all depending on the project needs and requirements.

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Tansfer to base location
  • PADI Open Water (for 8 and 12 week volunteers) and Advanced Open Water
  • PADI Coral Reef Research Diver Distinctive Speciality
  • First Aid & CPR training
  • Coral reef ecology
  • Community work workshop
  • Use of O2 equipment workshop
  • Diving compressor training workshop

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes

Project Details

GVI has partnered with local NGOs and organisations in order to identify the best ways to assist the community to conserve their marine resources. The following research priorities have been identified:

  • Data collection on targeted fish species
  • Habitat mapping for coral reefs and mangrove (Coral Reef and Mangrove Habitat mapping)
  • Development of an environmental education and awareness program for local schools and communities.
  • Development of terrestrial and marine environmental best practice on Caqalai Island

GVI works closely with the Fiji Department of Fisheries and the Fiji Locally Managed Marine Area Network to ensure that the impact of this research and program remains is both relevant and useful for the wider community.

How this project makes a difference

The communities with which we work do not have access to the necessary resources to carry out regular data collection in their fishing grounds and there has been a significant detriment to coral and fish stocks due to natural disaster events and unsustainable fishing practice.

Data collected on our volunteer powered surveys is presented to the local community land owners along with alternative livelihood methods and management strategies to help local stakeholders to make informed decisions with regards to their vital marine resources and long term food security.

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Tansfer to base location
  • PADI Open Water (for 8 and 12 week volunteers) and Advanced Open Water
  • PADI Coral Reef Research Diver Distinctive Speciality
  • First Aid & CPR training
  • Coral reef ecology
  • Community work workshop
  • Use of O2 equipment workshop
  • Diving compressor training workshop

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes

Free Time

Volunteering with GVI not only allows you to participate on programs assisting disadvantaged communities or endangered ecosystems, but it also offers wonderful opportunities to travel in the local area in your down time or further afield either before or after your program. Many decide to travel after volunteering, solidifying the lifetime friendships established on the programme.

Our long term field staff are a great source of advice and are here to help you make the most of your time abroad. Remember to ask about discounts on local activities and side trips through your association with GVI. Our field teams have helped us put together the following information on trips and travel options in Fiji!

Optional Side Trips

Fiji is a beautiful and exotic destination where you will find picturesque white sand beaches, world class dive sites, and Fiji’s famous culture of hospitality and warmth. As an island nation, many of your potential activities are water based! Starting locally, just a short boat ride away you can visit the famous pod of dolphins that reside all year round on Moon Reef or hike into forests and swim in hidden waterfalls or visit one of Fiji’s famous island resorts.

In the water, for those that are not dive qualified you could enrol in a scuba diving course and dive the various dive sites in the region, home to abundant marine life, colourful corals and steep drop-offs. Get lucky with your dive, and visibility can exceed a massive 40m.

Fiji’s capital city, Suva, is only a few hours from all our project sites, known for its relaxed atmosphere, energetic nightlife, large farmers market and atmospheric port. Here you can visit the Fiji Museum, where you can find ancient tribal artefacts, one of the best exhibitions on tribal art in the Pacific, or read up on Fiji’s cannibal past. The old historical capital of Fiji, Levuka, which makes for an interesting day trip, is accessible by ferry and small boat and located on the nearby Ovalau Island.

 

Further Travelling Opportunities

A little further afield, the possibilities just keep on coming. Explore the town of Nadi with its bustling market, nearby hot springs at Sabeto or get a feel for the local atmosphere at a rugby match. From Pacific Harbour, join a river safari into the heart of Fiji or dive with bull sharks in Bega Lagoon, one of the world’s most famous shark dives.

Either before or after your program you could try island hopping around the 20 volcanic islands of the Yasawa group. These remote islands are characterised by white beaches, crystal blue lagoon and dramatic rugged hills, some with summits 600 metres above sea level.

Staying on dry land, you might consider a trip to the Sigatoka National Park, where you’ll find a miniature desert of rolling sand dunes or a more relaxing option would be the Coral Coast and the Kula Eco Park, Fiji’s only wildlife park.

The Team

Jay Ramday
Marine Science Coordinator

Meet, Jay, our Marine Science Coordinator at GVI’s Caqalai Base in Fiji. After his childhood in Malaysia, Jay studied Marine Vertebrate Zoology in North Wales and worked as a scientific diver around the UK for a number of years. Jay is also an experienced member of the world-class diving association, PADI. On being a self-acclaimed ‘adrenaline junkie’ he says, “I manage to add an edge to most activities or sports I get involved in, finding myself in many ridiculous situations!”

Whilst living in the North American wilderness for three months in the Yellowstone backcountry, Jay had some action-packed adventures. “We were woken up by howling wolves, surrounded by three bull moose, chased out of camp by angry badgers, and one night we were trying to find a site to set up camp and were being followed by coyotes!” The very fitting nickname, Mowgli, has been given to this nature freak! His favourite part about working for GVI is the opportunities to establish successful marine conservation projects and to meet people from all corners of the globe!

Dee Tuivucilevu
Marine Research Officer/Community Liaison Officer

Meet Dee, our Marine Research Officer/Community Liaison Officer in Fiji. Dee is a Fijian born environmental conservation enthusiast and has a BSc degree in Marine Science. She has had her fair share of experience related to the field of marine conservation; over the last year or two she did an internship with the Conservation Office in the Cakaudrove province of Fiji and volunteered at an organisation, Nature Fiji Mareqeti Viti, that work towards the conservation and sustainable management of Fiji’s natural heritage.

Dee’s sees herself as the fictional character, Catwoman, and her talents are not restricted to conservation; she also has some bizarre abilities to show off. “I can bend my thumb backwards till it touches my wrist.” She loves working for GVI, especially not having to wear formal clothing to work every day!

Joseph Sharpe
Fiji Program Manager

Meet Joe – a keen cyclist, Divemaster and one of our busy program managers. Joe studied social anthropology and development studies at Sussex University focusing on the dynamic relationship that humans have with their environment at local and global levels.

Joe has been travelling independently and/or working abroad for years. For Joe, his love of travel  all started with inter-railing round Europe in 1998 followed by, extensive exploring of South East Asia, Australia, India and various cycling trips around Europe. Joe volunteered in Tanzania for 3 months in 2000, which he describes as: “A great experience that without a shadow of a doubt shaped my future degree and career choices.”

Joe worked for the Department for National Parks Thailand as a ‘foreign liaison officer’ where he set up a visitor center and translated botanical signage in Thailand’s smallest national park for the benefit of foreign tourists.

Joe is particularly excited to  continue developing the Caqalai Island marine research base in order to create best practice examples of environmental management and help build capacity within local communities  to manage and protect their amazing and fragile environmental assets for future generations.

 

Lauren Bird
Country Director

Meet Lauren, Our Operations Manager in Fiji. ‘Laurence’ as she’s known in Fiji was amongst our first ever group of volunteers on our Fiji project when it started.

What does she enjoy doing when she’s not working? ”I like to relax and go swimming, or spend time in Silana village, drinking tea with the local families that we’ve come to know, spending time playing with the kids or just sitting round the kava bowl listening to Fijian music.”

What does Lauren think volunteers bring to the project? “The volunteers are the eyes and ears in the classroom every day, enabling us to gather a wealth of information on every single pupil. Some of the best ideas for improving our program have come from volunteers too.

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Select a Departure Date

2016
2017

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Charitable Trust Climate Offset Contribution

Donate money to GVI’s Chartiable Trust Carbon Offsetting initiative and help reduce the impact of climate change and help communities who are most affected.
?

Fiji Caqalai EFR and PADI Dive Rescue Training

Only available for volunteers staying on a minimum 8 week duration. This certification combines both EFR and Rescue courses providing skills for anyone wanting to progress in their diving career and be better prepared to deal with emergency situations.
?

Fiji Caqalai EFR Training

Only available for volunteers staying on a minimum 4 week duration. First Aid and CPR certification is covered and is an important component for the PADI Rescue Diver course.
?

Fiji Caqalai PADI Dive Rescue Training

Only available for volunteers staying on a minimum 8 week duration. This course expands on preventing and managing problems if they occur while diving or getting to/from the dive site. EFR (or equivalent) certification is a prerequisite.
?

GVI Biological Survey Techniques - Fiji Caqalai

This course provides training and experience needed to start planning and running independent surveys in the field and can be applied to any environment around the world.
$0.00

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Tansfer to base location
  • PADI Open Water (for 8 and 12 week volunteers) and Advanced Open Water
  • PADI Coral Reef Research Diver Distinctive Speciality
  • First Aid & CPR training
  • Coral reef ecology
  • Community work workshop
  • Use of O2 equipment workshop
  • Diving compressor training workshop

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes

Our Impact

Location

Fiji Islands

Our programs here are based in two stunning locations. One is based on the idyllic Caqalai Island pronounced ‘than-ga-laiin the Lomaiviti Island group. Caqalai is a tiny island (you can walk around it in 15 minutes) defined by white sand beaches and a lush interior. The island is on the edge of an expansive reef system and nearby to 10 small villages located on the neighbouring Moturiki Island. The second is in the Dawasamu District on Viti Levu, remote and known for its proximity to Moon Reef and its resident pod of Spinner Dolphins. Based in the villages of Silana and Natalei, this is a perfect location to experience true Fijian life, in an amazing region defined by dense jungle, volcanic mountainsides and the tribal culture of Tailevu Province.

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