In-Water Sea turtle Conservation

founded in 2010
Caminho Marinho
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Coordinator | Gustavo
Coordinator | Gustavo
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experience the Brazilian way of life, its food, its music and dance with opportunity of shows every weekend
Discover the natural beauty of the region, and its marine animals - sea turtles, dolphins, sea lions
Participate in an initiative that uses art, music and dance to promote environmental education
Share the friendship between volunteers from different countries, as well as the various local volunteers (undergraduates and professionals)
Know different techniques for sea turtle research as a greener house, which we apply in our base
The search for sea turtles and direct contact with wildlife in Brazil, through captures in the water, sightings and monitoring of fishermen is the role of volunteers This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+

About the Program

Thus, the objective of this program is to evaluate the occurrence of green turtles in the breakwaters of "Molhes da Barra" and the different relationshps between turtles and economical activities (fisheries and tourism), through of (1) sighting sea turtles from a fixed point (2) Monitoring of artisanal fisheries, (3) Intentional capture, biometrics, sampling and marking of sea turtles in both breakwaters - "Molhe Oeste", in Rio Grande municipality and "Molhe Leste", in São José do Norte municipality. 

Your Role as a Volunteer

However, in order to achieve this goal, volunteers are essential in the development of their activities. Exactly for not limiting a search, Caminho Marinho intends to monitor the piers uninterruptedly and thus be able to register all as sea turtles that have been captured incidentally by the fisheries. 

On the other hand, volunteers have the opportunity to be trained in one of the most experienced groups in intentional capture of sea turtles in Brazil, coordinated by PhD Gustavo Martinez Souza - who for more than ten years has been capturing turtles through Paraná, Santa Catarina, Rio Grande do Sul. South, Brazil, and the coast of Uruguay - as well as enjoy natural landscapes still little known and valued in South Brazil (as Molhe Oeste, "Refúgio da Vida Silvestre do Molhe Oeste", "Estação Ecológica do Taim" and "Capilha").

Caminho Marinho's house is 5 km from the "Molhe Oeste", Rio Grande, our main place of work, in the beach place called "Praia do Cassino". 

"Praia do Cassino" has alternatives of commercial center for the small beaches of Brazil, with handicraft shops, clothing, drugstores, and supermarkets, with 40,000 residents during the year and more than one million visitors in summer (southern hemisphere summer - December to February).  

About the Molhes da Barra

At the mouth of the Lagoa dos Patos (32 ° 09'38 "S and 52 ° 05'54" W), two breakwaters of 5 km long, the "Molhes da Barra", protect from the action of the waves and natural silting the bar of the channel that gives access to the estuarine environment. With the exception of Torres in the extreme north of the state of Rio Grande do Sul, the "Molhes da Barra" moorings are the only large rock structures along the entire coast of Rio Grande do Sul and play a fundamental role in the ecology of several species since these structures offer protection or structure for fixation of communities, as mussels, groupers, bottlenose delphin, sea lions, sea birds and sea turtles.

In addition to the ecological importance, the "Molhes" are also of economic importance, both as a source of artisanal fishing resources and for tourism in the region, with the traditional sail-powered wagons (the "vagonetas") that take visitors on an 'inland' walk through railroad tracks on the wall of stones. Despite the knowledge about the importance of marine biodiversity, records on the occurrence of sea turtles in the region are opportunistic.

Typical day

Every day, volunteers will bike to the "Molhe Oeste" (5 km away) to carry out some of the monitoring activities. In each activity, different actions are described below. 

1.) Sighting sea turtles from a fixed point (Molhes da Barra):

At each turn, a team will go to the breakwaters (Molhes da Barra), by bicycle or on foot, where:

It will observe for two hours, with intervals of rest of 30 minutes per hour of sighting.

It shall record the number of animals sighted, oceanographic and meteorological data, and other parameters.

2.) Monitoring of amateur and artisanal fishing in the Breakwaters of Barra de Rio Grande:

Along with the sighting outings, the volunteers will follow the amateur and artisanal fishing activities, will record the number of fishermen for each fishing gear (holding net, net, line and rod, among others), interview the fishermen based on a socioeconomic questionnaire and receive the sea turtles caught incidentally by the fishermen partners of Caminho Marinho. If turtles be captured, the volunteers will manage the captured animals, following the Caminho Marinhos´protocol.

Twice a week, the volunteers will be go to intentional captured sea turtles in Molhe Oeste ( Intentional capture, biometrics, sampling and tagging of sea turtles). Intentional capture is carried out through a waiting gill net, designed especially for the capture of green turtles, 50 m in length, 3.2 m in height and 30 cm in mesh. Part of the team participates in the work in the water, equipped with neoprene (5 mm), boot and flippers, to manage the network and withdraw the captured animals. Caminho Marinho provides the necessary material to be in water: neoprene, boot and flippers. Meanwhile, the rest of the team remains outside for handling the captured animals and collects the activity data. 

The captured turtles will be characterized by the presence and absence of tumors, the presence of epibionts, obtained biometrics (7 different measures), skin, blood and carapace collection; for later tagging and release.

Some of these releases will take place in the presence of local tourists and settlers, as part of the interaction with the communities and the dissemination of the activities of the Caminho Marinho, seeking to raise awareness about turtle problems and conservation of the environment.

Once a week, the volunteers will be go by boat to intentional captured sea turtles in Molhe Leste, in the other side of "Lagoa dos Patos" mouth, in São José do Norte. The procedures of sighting and intentional capture are the same as those proposed for the Molhes da Barra.

Free-time activities

Rio Grande is a city known for musicality, with several local artists of Brazilian and international music (Thursday to Saturday gigs).

Rio Grande has several museums with the most known being those linked to the sea: oceanographic museum, nautical museum, eco-museum Polvora Island, and a visit to the Center for Marine Animal Rehabilitation (CRAM).

Although limited to climatic conditions, there are diving and swimming spots in the breakwaters, as well as hiking through different places in the city as Ilha dos Marinheiros, Capilha and Taim. 

Once a week, beach yoga activities are suggested, as well as a percussion workshop. 



In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s) or if your are accompanied by your parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (basic level)
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
The program intends to give opportunity to all who have health conditions to carry out the activities.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 08:00 - 20:00

What's Included

Services by Caminho Marinho
With the payment, the volunteers have the right to accommodation, food, professional training and participation in all activities of the Caminho Marinho, combining expenses with land and water transportation (fishery boat).
Volunteers are entitled to use a bicycle, being the maintenance and safety of their responsibility while staying with it.

Caminho Marinho's house is large with three bedrooms and one of them is a suite. As volunteers demand, the room can be individual, shared with one other person or shared with up to six volunteers.
The organization of the house is collective, and the volunteers are responsible for the organization of the house, cleaning and preparation of meals.
Dorm Room Bedroom (Single) Bedroom (Double)
Food & Beverages
Volunteers are entitled to three basic meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and the volunteers are responsible for preparation and cleaning after a meal.
  • At breakfast, there is bread, jam, margarine, tea, coffee and biscuit (salted and sweet).
  • At lunch, volunteers prepare quick meals such as pasta, omelette or sandwiches, so you do not waste time and get the volunteer tasks done.
  • At dinner, the meal is more elaborate with rice, beans, salad, accompaniment (potatoes, polenta or vegetables) and meat (beef, chicken or pork).
Dishes are washed by volunteers.
Drinks are not included in the feeds. The house has water filter and the possibility to buy drinks (soda, juice and beer (at night)).
Internet Access
Good access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees. An airport pickup isn't included within the program fees either.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Salgado Filho International Airport (POA) in Porto Alegre. We assist you to find cheap flights to Brazil.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Brazil provides security and is a plus to have.
If you are intending to volunteer in Brazil you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Brazil.

Dates & Fees


Details on arrival

Caminho Marinho offers accommodation service in the Cassino Beach, which consists of a large house with 3 bedrooms, bathroom, living room and kitchen, equipped with internet and washing machine with cost; The organization is collective between the trainees and volunteers to maintain the good living environment. Bed linen (sheets, blanket and pillow) and bath towel and for the field are the responsibility of the volunteers.

The project is located in the municipality of Rio Grande, Rio Grande do Sul. The nearest international airport is located in Porto Alegre (Salgado Filho Airport). By bus, the volunteer arrives from Porto Alegre to Rio Grande in a trip of 5 hours and 27 dollars of cost.

The Project region has four seasons of the year well marked and therefore the luggage of the volunteer must be adapted according to the period of their participation. The project works throughout the year - however, the climate changes every season. Although sea turtles are present all year round, they become much less abundant between July and September.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2 - 20 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
2 weeks (min. stay)
3 weeks
4 weeks
5 weeks
7 weeks
9 weeks
20 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees
$158 /week

Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated. Caminho Marinho will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with Caminho Marinho during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

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In-Water Sea turtle Conservation

The search for sea turtles and direct contact with wildlife in Brazil, through captures in the water, sightings and monitoring of fishermen is the role of volunteers


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