Marine Conservation - Research Assistant

Barefoot Conservation
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Coordinator | Simon
Coordinator | Simon
Book with Flex Option! Choose new departure dates or change to a different volunteer program at no extra costs.

High­lights

Work with experienced marine conservation scientists and the local community on vital marine conservation projects.
Become a Manta Ray Research Assistant, diving with Manta Rays every day, at one of the worlds best diving locations of Raja Ampat, Indonesia
Learn marine biology field skills essential for scientific and marine conservation research. Becoming a certified Reef Check Eco Diver.
Get involved in local community projects, ranging from English Teaching and Waste Management (Recycling) to Kids Dental Hygiene and Environmental Education.
Scuba Dive in one of the world best diving locations, a final frontier of diving, while gaining recognized scuba diving qualifications, skills and experience.
Barefoot Conservation Research Assistants will undertake Manta Ray research & Reef Check surveys, while contributing to our many Community Projects, like English Teaching This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 16+
Singles
Couples
Families
Groups
50+

Summary:

Barefoot Conservation is working in partnership with the Raja Ampat local government, local Papuan Communities and stakeholders, to protect the coral reefs of Raja Ampat and the communities that rely on them.

This partnership is bonded by a willingness to make a real difference, and the understanding that research, survey dives and Marine Protected Areas cannot work unless accompanied by education and the sustained alleviation of poverty. 

The Raja Ampat project is designed to work at a grass roots level, thus making a real difference to real people, and a difference that each volunteer can see and be a part of.

Goals:

  • To conduct marine underwater surveys using the Reef Check methodology, collecting data, for the use in advising local government, local communities and other NGO partners, on the health of coral reefs and the marine life in Raja Ampats Marine Protected Areas (MPA's).
  • Produce a local Manta Ray Identification (ID) database, through underwater manta ray surveys. Sharing collected data with local government and NGO partners.
  • Monitor the number of Crown of Thorns Starfish (COT's) in the region, undertaking COTs survey/removal dives during large outbreaks.
  • Undertake educational programmes on environmental issues, sustainable fishing techniques (if necessary) and the economic benefits of MPA's.
  • Increase quality of life and alleviate poverty in local communities, through our community projects - Education, Waste Management, Health Clinics, Family Planning, Dental Hygiene and Renewable Energy.
  • Encourage entrepreneurial attitudes to deter from unsustainable destructive activities like shark finning or dynamite fishing.

Typical day

Day-to-Day Expedition Life

Your typical day will consist of 2 survey dives and time spent on various community projects in the local community. At Barefoot Conservation we believe it is vital to work in the community, educating, improving equality of life and alleviating poverty, alongside producing a detailed habit map of the surrounding coral reef/marine life that the community rely so heavily on.

Breakfast will be served at 7am and depending on the weather, and advice from our local dive guides/boat crew, you will either start your first survey dive of the day at 9am or visit the local community to assist on various community projects which the Community Officer will organise.

At the end of each survey dive you will relay the data from your dive slates on to the data recording sheets, for later entry into our database. 

After lunch (12:00-12:30) you will do the opposite of what you did in the morning, so if you worked on community projects in the morning, your undertake survey dives in the afternoon and vice versa.

Dinner is served at 19:00 and, after a short de-brief session on the days activities, the evening is yours to relax, have a cold beer and talk about the amazing marine life you saw or the kind villagers you made friends with, while watching the sunset off Barefoot jetty.

Some evenings may involve an advanced presentation or Indonesian language lessons for those interested and theory sessions for volunteers taking extra PADI scuba courses.

Monday to Friday are reserved for survey dives and Community project work.

Saturday is for fun dives where the Barefoot dive profiles are relaxed slightly, and dive computers can be used for multi-level divers, that are deeper and longer.

Wednesday mornings the team goes to Waisai the capital of Raja Ampat to collect/drop off volunteers and pick up supplies. Volunteers can join this trip to use the internet and buy any extra luxury items in Waisai. Please be aware that the capital only has a population of 6000 and hence is still small, so it does not have hundreds of shops.

Sunday is a complete NO dive day, this is for health & safety reasons and gives your body time to recover from the weeks diving. This gives you some valuable downtime when you can sunbath, play volleyball or football, go for a swim/snorkel, read a book, go for a walk around the island, watch a movie or visit the local village.

Saturdays & Sundays may be used by the Scuba Instructor when teaching extra PADI Scuba courses, however only confined diving (no deeper than 5 meters) can be undertaken on the Sunday.

Free-time activities

In your free time it is possible to play volleyball or football, as we often arrange friendly games with the local village we are based in. Volunteers can also go snorkeling, as our house reef is amazing, and you can often spot manta rays at the end of our private jetty!


At the weekend, Saturday is reserved for fun diving, so volunteers will get 3 fun dives in (one is a night dive). We often combine these fun dives with a day trip away to Pianemo or another island, taking lunch with us so volunteers can have a picnic on a secluded beach, sunbath, read a book or snorkel. 
Sundays we have a rotation for cooking duties as the kitchen staff do not work Sundays, this means volunteers may have to help cook one of the 3 meals during the day (Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner). When volunteers are not on the rotation, Sundays is free time, so you can chill in a hammock, read a book, play cards or board game, or watch a movie (internet is good enough to access streaming services). 


Water Sports
Swimming
Diving/
Snorkling
Sports
Yoga/
Meditation

Require­ments

In order to join the program you need to be at least 16 years old on the program start date.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (basic level)
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 08:00 - 17:00

What's Included

Services by Barefoot Conservation

Volunteers fees go towards the running of the project, the accommodation, the food, the diving, fuel for the dive boats, transfers to/from the basecamp from Waisai and equipment/facilities maintenance.

They also help pay the salaries of the 8 local Papuan employees from the village where we are based, who help drive the dive boats, cook the meals, fill the scuba tanks and so on.
We also employ 1-2 Indonesian Marine Biologists and 1-2 Indonesian Community Managers, to help run the project, as we feel it is vital to work together with the Indonesia community to help protect Indonesia's coral reefs/marine life, and improve education. Volunteers fees also go towards paying the salaries of these Indonesian staff.
Money from the fees also goes towards certain community outreach programs we run in the various villages, like English/Math education, kids dental hygiene, family planning, health care, education on the environment and adult English to name a few. The fees buy vital education equipment for the schools like a computer, letter/number learning games, school books, pencils/pens, rubbers etc..
We also make village donations that go towards community lead projects like repainting the village church, repairs to the village power or sports kit for the local kids football team.

Airport Pickup at Sorong Airport
The meeting point on your expedition start date is the Le Meridian hotel which is directly opposite the airport (short walk or even shorter taxi ride) where you can relax in the hotel lobby or restaurant while you wait for the 9am ferry to depart for Waisai the capital of Raja Ampat. A Barefoot representative will collect you from the Meridian Hotel at 08:00 to take you to the ferry port, where your catch the ferry (approx 2 hours) to Waisai. Our boat will meet you on arrival in Waisai and take you on the final 60 minute boat ride to your home for the duration of your expedition. NOTE: If you are already travelling in Indonesia before your expedition or travelling in Singapore please contact us for alternative ways to get to Sorong if you do not wish to fly from Jakarta.
Accommodation

We provide same gender beach bungalows with balconies over the sea. These bungalows are dorm room style with max 4 volunteers in the same room, in bunkbeds. 

We provide same gender dorm rooms, and also have two private beach bungalows with a double bed, for any volunteer who prefers not to share a room. There is a small extra supplement for these private beach bungalows.

The project site has western style toilets and limited fresh water to shower/wash in. While the island does have water wells, these are now getting increasing salty, so currently our fresh water comes from our desalination machine or from Waisai each Wednesday, while we find a solution to the communities/islands fresh water supply issue. Due to this and because we are a conservation project on a tropical island so we may at times limit the amount of shower time.  

Dorm Room
Food & Beverages

Volunteers are provided with 3 meals a day, breakfast at 7am, Lunch at 12 midday, and dinner at 7pm. 


All drinking water, tea and coffee is also provided. 

We provide 3 meals a day (specific dietary needs can catered for). These meals are at fixed times during the day, so that the day's dive surveying and community projects can be effectively managed. Meals are based upon local cuisine and seasonal availability of locally produced food. Meals are prepared and cooked by local staff, except on Sundays when expedition staff & volunteers will prepare and cook all meals.

While we will endeavor to provide a balanced diet of fresh fruit and vegetables during your expedition, you may wish to consider bringing a supply of vitamin supplements.

Volunteers with specific dietary requirements will be catered for, please indicate these requirements on your booking form.  

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.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Sorong Airport (SOQ) in Sorong. We assist you to find cheap flights to Indonesia.
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 Indonesia provides security and is a plus to have.
Vaccines
If you are intending to volunteer in Indonesia you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Indonesia.

Dates & Fees

NO CREDIT CARD FEES

Details on arrival

Our program runs through out the year and we have set start dates each month. For unqualified divers undertaking the PADI Open Water and Advance Open Water courses, the program will start a week earlier then those volunteers who are already qualified to an Advance Diver level.


Getting There 

The main airport used to get to Raja Ampat is "Sorong" on the western tip of Papua, this area is extremely safe, is very well built up and set up for tourism. The best way to get to Sorong is:-

"Jakarta to Sorong to Raja Ampat"

You can fly from Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia to Sorong . As all internal flight to Sorong leave early morning we recommend you look for flights that arrive in Jakarta around late evening (7pm) the day before your expedition start date. This way you will spend less time in transit at Jakarta airport. Operators that fly to Sorong from Jakarta are: AirAsia, Lion Air, Batik Air, Sriwijaya and Garuda Air. (all have stopovers in either Makassar, Ambon or Manado, accept AirAsia and Batik Air which are the only airlines to currently fly direct). We recommend using the flight booking site Skyscanner, and highly recommend arriving the day before your expedition start date if possible.

The meeting point on your expedition start date is the Le Meridian hotel which is directly opposite the airport (short walk or even shorter taxi ride) where you can relax in the hotel lobby or restaurant while you wait for the 9am ferry to depart for Waisai the capital of Raja Ampat. A Barefoot representative will collect you from the Meridian Hotel at 08:00 to take you to the ferry port, where your catch the ferry (approx 2 hours) to Waisai. Our boat will meet you on arrival in Waisai and take you on the final 60 minute boat ride to your home for the duration of your expedition. NOTE: If you are already travelling in Indonesia before your expedition or travelling in Singapore please contact us for alternative ways to get to Sorong if you do not wish to fly from Jakarta.

Availability
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Duration
2 - 24 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
2 weeks (min. stay)
$1,434
3 weeks
$1,827
4 weeks
$2,351
5 weeks
$2,620
7 weeks
$3,079
9 weeks
$3,603
24 weeks (max. stay)
$7,860
Average fees
$522 /week

The organization charges its fees in GBP. The price table in USD is subject to currency fluctuation. Barefoot Conservation 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 Barefoot Conservation during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

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Marine Conservation - Research Assistant

Barefoot Conservation Research Assistants will undertake Manta Ray research & Reef Check surveys, while contributing to our many Community Projects, like English Teaching

$399/week

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