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So you want to do your bit?

Well first of all congratulations for reaching this page. Whether or not you actually do embark on a volunteering project, your heart is obviously in the right place to have clicked on the link.
There are hundreds of projects dotted around the reefs of the world, all of whom contribute vital information on the state of our oceans. If we don't look under the surface properly, how are we to know whether our efforts are in vain, or actually making a difference? It is also a way to check that we do no further harm to the environment with our actions.
Before you join a project, there are sooo many things to consider: which country interests you the most, what kind of project do you wish to be involved with, what are your expectations and reasons for making this trip.
Usually you will find yourself surrounded by people from a wide variety of backgrounds, all however will have a similar goal and an interest in conservation of our world in one way or another.
Most projects also offer dive training, so you don't even have to be an experienced diver to join in. Here are a few of the better known projects that you might want to browse:

Blue Ventures

Project Aware

Coral Cay

Reefnet


So some other things to consider before you go: firstly really do stop, step back and think about what you personally are wanting to achieve from your trip. You may find that your feel good intentions do not feel quite so good when you are faced with the less idyllic reality of working with fishermen struggling to survive coming up against your ingrained "don't touch, don't take, don't litter" reef diving practices. Sometimes the reality is a grey area somewhere inbetween devastating the reef in search of food, and an idyllic marine park bearing a blanket ban on all fishing. You might also find that the realities of living in a remote area proves a little hard to bear, mosquitoes, sand fleas, stinging plankton can all contribute to making your dream retreat from normality a bit if a nightmare. Bear in mind that mornings are usually an early start, you may also need to help cook and clean, not to mention lugging kit down to the boat etc. Camp life is generally pretty hard work. Bear in mind that food may not be as plentiful or as varied as you would normally like, however you can guarantee that the food you eat at camp is likely to be more plentiful than what is available to the local village.
Just remember though that having said all that, you do get out of it what you put in, and for many, it is a life-changing experience. For me that was certainly the case, and this was the turning point on which I decided to venture into the professional realms of diving Read more about my trip here: go

Share your news and views in our Message Board tell us about your clean up event, or let everyone know about a project or area that could do with a little help.

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Diving advisor: Clare Wilders PADI MSDT.
©Clare Goodman of GoodieGoodie, 2003.