We offer cutting edge marine expeditions that give individuals the chance to work alongside our marine biologists and community, helping with conservation, through research, education and diving, over a 2 – 6 week period. We collect data on humpback whales, manta rays, whale sharks, coral reefs, ocean trash & fisheries and run 2 outreach programs.
During your time with us you’ll participate in:
Conservation Science Training
Conservation science is very complex so at Love The Oceans we aim to provide you with the basic knowledge and skills to allow you to go on to develop your own projects and continue with Conservation Science.
You will participate in a series of educational lectures led by our marine biologists during your first week with us, based around our specific areas of research and community outreach.
Scientific Dive Training
Here at Love The Oceans we use an adapted version of Reef Life Survey methodology to look at coral coverage, biodiversity and abundance as an indicator of reef health. Reef Life Survey is an internationally renowned methodology that is citizen science based. This means we can compare our data to other places around the world that uses the same methodology and it is useful for you to be familiar with it too as many NGOs around the world use it. We will train you up in this methodology during your training week.
PADI Open Water is a prerequisite for our programs. If you are not currently PADI OW certified, no problem! You can complete your OW with us in Mozambique in the week prior to your program starting, please contact us for further information and pricing.
Introduction to data handling
An integral part of what we do at Love The Oceans is our marine research. As a field assistant you will have a workshop on data handling. This will mainly focus around database management and processing. We will show you how to do basic analytics on data and how to handle large data sets. This is a particularly useful skill that comes in handy in stats modules at university and when you write your thesis.
Mozambique is a developing nation with limited food resources, electricity and running water. The region we operate in is remote and many people live below the poverty line.
You will have the opportunity to visit a local family’s home and learn how they live in rural Mozambique, and how they prepare meals. Field assistants have found this experience to be rather humbling, but also a lot of fun with the many children Mozambican families tend to have!
Coral Reef Surveying
We believe we’re in a biodiversity hotspot and we need coral reef data to prove our area is worth protecting. You will be trained in LTO’s coral reef methodology and once qualified, you will conduct LTO surveys on your dives.
LTO collects this data to develop a robust dataset which will provide the evidence base required to effectively lobby for changes to certain fishing legislation and a Marine Protected Area (MPA) to be established. We believe that securing an MPA will create opportunities for eco-tourism, bringing much needed income into the region, and provide a viable alternative to unsustainable fishing. After your scientific dive training, you will help collect data and add to our coral reef database.
Fisheries data collection
Collecting fisheries data will allow us to assess how sustainable the fisheries are. From these assessments, eventually we would like to determine minimum landing size for individual species, as well as changing certain fishing legislation.
We cover two fisheries sites; Guinjata Bay and Paindane Bay. A third may be sporadically covered in accordance with the shark fishing. Both sites have seasonal resorts and active local fishermen. The Guinjata research site is next to our base camp, while the Paindane research site is a 45minute walk. Expect to walk to both sites. Every group will have a mobile phone so help is always at hand.
Every day on fisheries you will be responsible for recording the data into the logs along with the corresponding images (checking shark and ray IDs with a field specialist if you are unsure), cleaning the collected shark/ray vertebrae, and ensuring equipment is clean and stored.
Humpback whales typically migrate through Mozambique between June and September. LTO is collecting data on these magnificent creatures, looking at surface behaviour and pod formation, never before studied in our area.
As part of LTO’s team, you will be armed with a camera, binoculars and survey sheets in order to record sightings of humpback whales (during their season) and any other megafauna that passes through (whale sharks & manta rays are residential). You’ll be going out on the dive boat with the divers but will remain on the boat while the other volunteers dive, in order for you to conduct the whale surveys.
Ocean trash research
Unfortunately plastic pollution is a human-induced problem the world over. Mozambique is no different. We’re on the edge of the Indian Ocean Garbage Patch which spans approximately 5 million kilometres squared and is made up of a huge range of trash, from sludge, to plastics, to glass. One of the most efficient and easiest way to remove trash from the ocean is through beach cleans.
We’ve committed to doing at least 2 beach cleans a week and weighing and logging what we collect to work out if it is international or local trash and what we can do to reduce this pollution.
After we have collected the trash off the beaches, we process it – wash, cut & dry it – and then we pack it into what we call eco-bricks. Our eco-bricks are 2L drinks bottles thrown out by resorts here, which we pack tightly with beach clean trash. these eco-bricks are then used in construction at the local schools as part of our projects.
Help teach marine conservation
Educating the next generation of fishermen in schools about sustainable fishing and why the ocean is important helps the local community protect their biodiversity assets – assets because of ecotourism and fisheries.
As part of your field assistant role, you will help at Guinjata and Paindane School Monday-Friday. You will be teaching 10-13 year olds about the marine environment, as well as basic biology, geography, marine resource management and sea safety.
Help improve local learning facilities
The Government does not have enough money to provide the standard of learning facilities the children need. Every year we fundraise for money specifically to improve the school facilities in consultation with the local community.
We strongly believe in supporting the organic growth and development of the local community, and as such we employ local builders to complete construction/improvement work to put money back into the local economy. Our field assistants then enhance this by painting educational murals on the school walls.
This is your opportunity to get creative and design a mural (anything ranging from the human body to the solar system or an underwater scene) and then spend your time between teaching bringing your art to life for the children. You are also welcome to bring some designs out with you
Help teach swimming
Surprisingly few local children are confident in the water. Part of our commitment to the local community is teaching local children swimming on Saturday afternoons.
We do this to improve water safety skills in the community, with the aim of igniting passion for the marine environment in the younger generations. Learning to swim opens up the door to a range of other activities for this generation. We hope for a future where the local community both want, and are able to, experience the underwater world for themselves.
Optional: African Safari
After 5 weeks in Guinjata Bay, you have the option to go on safari in South Africa and explore the stunning Balule Private Game Reserve in the Greater Kruger Ecosystem with our amazing ethical partners Campfire Academy. We LOVE it here. All accommodation, meals (B/L/D) and overland transport to the safari lodge and onto Johannesburg airport is included, but the drinks are on you!
This is one of the best spots for spotting the Big 5 our team have ever come across, with one of the most ethical operators in Southern Africa. You will be taken on game drives, bush walks, and participate in ecology, conservation management and sustainable tourism lectures and walks – all with a very experienced field guide. You’ll learn how to track animals and pick up trails. You’ll have a sleep-out under the stars in the bush. You’ll learn what it’s like to be a ranger from experienced professionals. You’ll also be helping out with the Hoedspruit Animal Outreach project.
There will be a scenic tour through the Drakensburg Mountains, by car or boat, to see the iconic God’s Window, the Three Sisters and the spectacular Bourke’s Luck Potholes. When it’s time to say good-bye, you will be transported to Johannesburg Airport to arrive Sunday evening.