Get back almost as much as you give on this wonderful volunteer project. Heading to verdant Vanuatu - voted by the New Economics Foundation the `happiest place on earth` - you`ll help protect rare sea turtles, leading an island life that`s hard to rival! You`ll also get plenty of chances to mix with Vanuatu villagers - helping out in schools or just learning to cook local food - although your experience will differ greatly depending on what time of year you visit (see Project Life). When you`re not scouting the beach, protecting nests and maintaining the conservation camp, spend your spare time swimming in turquoise waters and snorkelling fabulous reefs. Paradise!
Villagers have built some lovely bungalows as volunteer accommodation, and they improve on these every year. Each bungalow is split into two rooms, each with a single bed, and rainwater is gathered for bucket showers and toilets to keep you smelling sweet. The latest addition is a common room/dining room where volunteers gather together for simple meals and meetings. The turtle beach is a 40-60 minute hike from the village.
- Food and accommodation - Introduction to turtle monitoring - 24-hour in-country support - Welcome ceremony to Tasiriki community, Moso Island, plus leaving party featuring the Tasiriki String Band
- International flights - Visa costs - Medical and travel insurance
Your project life will vary depending on the time of the season. - September to October: During the early part of the season, volunteers concentrate on setting up the project and making improvements for the community and volunteers. For example, volunteers determine the beach`s length and how much of it can be properly surveyed, dividing those parts of the beach into sectors. There will also be time to do many things such as reef surveys, capturing and tagging turtles on their feeding grounds, helping with construction projects (eg perhaps a composting toilet for the volunteer accommodation this season), setting up a volunteer garden and providing teacher aid at the local primary school. The start of the turtle laying season is different each year, so it could begin mid-September or mid-October. To be safe with your expectations, volunteers during the first month of the project should expect to concentrate on set-up type activities through the first week of their stay. Nightly beach patrols will usually begin the second week, leading into an increase in nightly turtle beach patrols through the rest of the month. Weather-wise this is one of the best months you can visit Vanuatu - sunny during the day and cool at night, when you will probably need a blanket. - November: The nesting season will be building towards its peak this month. The main work for volunteers on the project will be the nightly trips to the nesting beach. This will make for long but rewarding nights spent patrolling the beach to locate and tag nesting turtles. November is often dry so this is one of the months where we will be able to maximise our tagging efforts. During the day volunteers may utilise their time by taking part in activities like reef surveys, helping at the school, maintaining a volunteer garden, etc. - December to January: In the middle of the season when the nesting is at its peak, most of the work will revolve around the nightly nesting surveys. In addition to working with the nesting turtles as we enter late December, volunteers will now start to find that the nests laid earlier in the season are starting to hatch. It will not be uncommon to come across hatchlings running for the sea during nightly patrols. Once the nests have hatched they will be excavated to determine the nesting success. One thing to keep in mind is that as the temperatures begin to rise in December the amount of rain per month often will as well. In January, volunteers should expect to experience some days when they choose not to go to work on the beach due to torrential downpours. For these days, the community arranges other activities.