Marine Conservation for The Bahamian National Trust
Overview / Summary
A dedicated marine conservation and research project based on Andros Island within The Bahamas.
The project enables you to work with the Bahamas National Trust to survey the Island’s valuable reefs and its inland waterways. Data collected by volunteers is used to help create protected marine parks, assist local communities, teach conservation awareness in primary schools and assist with the effective management of Marine Parks in the area.
The beautiful Caribbean waters surrounding Andros Island provide stunning dive conditions and volunteers can expect to join a fun and vibrant team.
We have our 'core package' which should be suitable for most diving abilities. We also offer a range of 'bolt-ons' so that you can make the most of the experience and hone in on areas that interest you most.
Base Price: £2,475
Base Duration: 4 - 10 weeks
Suitability: All Levels
The science training takes place alongside the dive training and it is made up of four main components: fish identification, invertebrate identification, substrate surveying and survey techniques.
The fish identification is the largest and most challenging aspect of the learning. You learn to identify around 150 species of fish as all surveyors need to be able to identify these confidently. Learning the fish species usually takes around three weeks and is very much dependent upon your effort and enthusiasm. Once everyone is ready to survey fish you are taught about a range of invertebrate species, how to conduct a substrate survey, how to identify coral lifeforms and how to do a complete an underwater survey. Science and dive training normally takes around 3 - 4 weeks.
The survey work is comprehensive and hugely practical! Underwater marine surveys involve charting the coral with the use of GPS, identifying fish and marine movements, and locating where the breeding and feeding grounds are located. You also look to see how different seasons could affect the marine life. With a complete understanding of this underwater world you and your group can then work with the Bahamas National Trust on creating an effective management plan.
Survey dives are shallow and are mainly carried-out at the reef crest at 6m to 12m where marine life is vibrant whilst training dives and fun dives can be deeper and are carried out between 18m and 30m. Dives are usually 45-60 minutes long but please be prepared to snorkel from time-to-time as some surveying requires snorkelling rather than diving.
Please note that all diving is subject to the weather and you might not dive on some days if the weather is bad.
Local Teaching and community work
One afternoon per week students leave the remote beachside camp to visit one of the local schools for educational community marine awareness classes and to assist with English, mathematics and geography lessons . This part of the project aims to instill an understanding / importance of the marine environment in the minds of young Bahamian children and it allows volunteers to share some of their knowledge with less privileged kids. Sessions run by you and other volunteers are fun and interactive, often involving games and plays. If we can't get to the school, or if it's school holidays, then we tend to invite kids to the camp for swimming lessons and games on the beach.
PADI Dive Training
Dive training up to Advanced Open Water as well as first aid skills are a requirement for the programme. Dive training is therefore compulsory if you are not qualified and can be added-on when booking the trip. These dive qualifications last a lifetime - so once you've done them you've got them for life!
|Dive Activity||Beginner||Open Water||Advanced||Rescue +|
|First Aid Course|
|Rescue Diver||Not available out here.|
|PADI Specs.||Not available out here.|
|Fun Dives||Fun dives on Saturday|
|Divemaster||Not available out here.|
Most people who join this programme are looking for an adventure. Life on the island is basic but highly enjoyable and rewarding! It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to do something a little different! Individuals who join the programme come from diving and non-diving backgrounds and have an active interest in learning something new and getting involved with an active marine conservation project.
PADI Diver Training
Price: From £115 - £735
If you're a beginner or a newly-qualified diver then you will require PADI training up to PADI Advanced Open Water and EFR. Follow the link to find out more about these courses which are a compulsory add-on if you are not yet qualified.Find out more...
The main start dates for this trip are detailed below. Custom start dates may also available and can be selected when booking online.
|Sorry, there are no dates currently available. Please call the office on 01608 738 419 to find out more about scheduled dates.||
The standard / base trip is higlighted in green. Components listed below this are optional and can be added-on as desired when booking your trip.
|Caribbean Research Station - Bahamas||£2,475||4 weeks|
|Dive Training - Beginner||£735||N/A|
|Diver Training - Open Water Qualified||£395||N/A|
|Diver Training - Advanced + Diver||£115||N/A|
A few helpful pointers. We also provide a comprehensive 'travel pack' after you book your place which provides some really good advice.
Flights are not included and they need to be arranged by you. Most people fly from London to Nassau and then take a short flight (20 minutes) from Nassau to Andros Island. The internal charter flight is pre-arranged for volunteers and costs c.$110 return (payable upon arrival).
Return flights from London Heathrow to Nassau typically cost from £750 (low season) to £1,100 (high season). Please call the GYT team on 0844 560 9958 for a quotation.
Volunteers are greeted at Andros Island airstrip and taken by minibus to the camp. The jorney time is approximately 40 minutes from the airstrip. At the end of the phase volunteers are taken back to Andros airstrip for the flight back to Nassau.
British nationals visiting The Bahamas do not require visas for visits of up to 3 months. If you wish to extend your stay you must apply to the Department of Immigration in Nassau. If travelling via the USA you should have at least 6 months validity remaining on your passport. The Bahamas counts as part of the USA territory for US visa waiver purposes and time spent in The Bahamas counts towards the 90 day maximum permitted stay in the US under this waiver. If you travel to The Bahamas via the USA (under US visa waiver arrangements) you should seek advice about visa procurement as you now have to arrange an electronic visa in advance.
Visa procurement remains the responsibility of the passenger and not that of Gap Year Diver.
All volunteers must complete two medical forms before starting the programme. These must be signed by your doctor.
Housing and Accommodation
You’ll stay in a two-storey beach side house with remarkable views over the Atlantic Ocean every single morning! The bedrooms are dorm style with bunk beds and a shared bathroom.
Food, Drink and Meals
The meals are all provided. They are basic but nutritious and incorporate lots of local produce. The food is mainly high in carbohydrates, which is essential for diving. Protein requirements are met by having fish, meat, and eggs when available. Vegetarian and vegans are easily catered for. Please note that meals are not catered. This essentially means that the ingredients are provided for cooking and everyone takes it in turns to cook...so bring your recipes!
All PADI materials are provided and included in the price of the courses.
All PADI fees are included in the price of the PADI courses.
Nearly everything is paid for up-front. We recommend that you have some US $$ for the trip for snacks and drinks at the weekend and for misc. purchases. As a guideline we have recommended $400 extra if you were to join for the full 10 weeks.