UNESCO Seascape Plan
Overview / Summary
This is your chance to experience life on a remote Fijian island. Living in traditional grass 'bures' on the beach you spend either 6 or 10 weeks diving in tropical water, carrying-out marine conservation work and experiencing the real Fiji!
Diving takes place on stunning coral reefs and tropical waters around this remote Pacific island and all the research gathered is used by UNESCO to create a Seascape Plan.
An excellent project if you're looking to escape on your gap year!
We have our 'core package' which should be suitable for qualified divers and spans 6 or 10 weeks. We also offer diver training as a 'bolt-on' so that beginners and newly qualified divers can get up to speed!
Base Price: £2,660
Base Duration: 6 - 10 weeks
Suitability: All Levels
Science and Conservation
The science training takes place alongside the dive training and it is made up of four main components:
- Fish identification
- Invertebrate identification
- Substrate surveying
- 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 marine surveyors need to be able to identify these confidently. Learning the Kubulau 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.
Survey dives are shallow and are mainly carried-out at the reef crest at 6m to 12m where marine life is vibrant. 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!
During your time on the island you should expect to dive over 10 times a week. Once science and dive training is complete the team aim for 2 survey dives a day (Monday to Friday). On Saturday the focus is on recreational diving when you can expect to do 2 to 3 dives. Please note that all diving is subject to the weather and you might not dive on some days if the weather is bad.
On Sundays volunteers can go to the village to attend church, have lunch with local families or even brave the odd rugby match!
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.|
Community Work (New role 2013)
There has always been a strong connection between the local village and the volunteers on camp. Every Sunday volunteers have been heading to the local village for church services and community activities and the demand from locals for this level of interaction has increased.
If you join this trip from October 2013 you can expect more of a cultural experience and integration with the local community. Each volunteer will be 'adopted' by a village family to spend time with during their stay. This will normally entail a church service on Sunday, playing sports with the children, having a weekend meal with the family and generally doing things in a Fijian way!
We recommend that each volunteer brings a few items from back home to share with the host family (like family photos) as these are often invaluable when it comes to explaining your life back home.
Arrival: Arrive Nadi and flight to Savu Savu
Transfer: Met at Savu Savu and transfer to island
Week 1: PADI Open Water course and intro to science
Week 2: PADI Advanced Open Water and conservation training
Weeks 3-5: Science Training and fun dives
Weeks 6*-10: Conservation research dives and fun dives
Departure: Transfer back to Savu Savu
*Indicates end of 6-week trip
If you are NOT already Advanced Open Water qualfified with EFR / First Aid then you will need to add-on some PADI training.
Price: £110 - £695
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.
The main start dates for this trip are detailed below. Custom start dates are NOT available.
|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 required for the trip.
|South Pacific Island Retreat - Fiji||£2,660||6 weeks|
|Dive Training - Beginner||£695||N/A|
|Dive Training - Open Water Qualified||£375||N/A|
|Dive Training - Advanced Qualified +||£110||N/A|
A few helpful pointers. We also provide a comprehensive 'travel pack' after you book your place which provides some really good advice.
It's a long way! Expect to fly from London to Los Angeles, LA to Nadi and then Nadi to Savu Savu. It's then a 3 hour bus ride followed by a short boat ride to the island. You'll get there in the end! Please ensure that you book flights to arrive on or before the scheduled start dates.
Return flights from London Heathrow to Savu Savu typically cost from £1,100 (low season) to £2,000 (high season). Please call the GYT team on 0844 560 9958 for a quotation.
All volunteers are met at Savu Savu airport by a member of staff and taken to the island by truck and then boat. At the end of your phase you will be taken back to Savu Savu for your return flight.
Entry visas are not required for UK citizens for visits of up to 90 days. As a visitor you must have an onward or return ticket and a valid visa for the next country of disembarkation.
Please visit www.netdoctor.co.uk for more information or consult with your local GP for professional advice. We will also ask you to complete 2 medical forms before departure to ensure you are medically fit to scuba dive.
Housing and Accommodation
You can live in traditional grass ‘bures’ or in a large wooden hut. The bures are under palm trees on the beach which overlook the Pacific Ocean - a stunning location. The wooden hut is adjacent to the bures and provides a little more sophistication if required (fitted with bunk-beds!)
The ‘bures’ are built by volunteers and locals. The roof is about 2/3 the entire size of each ‘bure’ which provides ample space and keeps the inner space cool during the day. Windows and doors are also built into each ‘bure’ so that a fresh breeze can constantly come through. Volunteers sleep on the floor on either side of the bure. It's surprisingly comfortable and snug in the bure and certainly an authentic experience.
If you require something a bit more sophisticated then there is also a wooden hut. This is quite large and has 8 bunk-beds inside and is large enough to sleep 16 people.
There's no internet in the camp but mobiles work and washing facilities are basic with a solar shower and 'organic loo'!
Food, Drink and Meals
3 meals a day are provided but everyone takes his or her turn to cook for everyone! So bring some basic recipes and show-off your cooking skills! Due to the remoteness of the camp one can expect fruit and cereals for breakfast, salads and pastas for lunch and an evening meal consisting of meat, vegetables and some sort of carbohydrate.
All PADI materials are included and supplied where required.
All PADI fees are included and you will get PADI certifications upon completion if you do any PADI courses.
Some money for occassional expenses off the island would be a good idea. Shall we say $200 - $400 for a full 10 week trip.