project review

EXPERIENCE IF A LIFETIME

Review submitted by Julia M
Review date 6 Feb 2016

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I have been in Caye Caulker with Frontier Belize for two months now and I already feel like I never want to leave again! The island is gorgeous, a little Caribbean island surrounded by coral reefs and turquoise waters. Caye Caulker is divided in two islands, the North and the South island, which are really different from each other. The project's camp is located in the Fisheries Department ranger station within the forest reserve. The forest is mainly a mangrove and palm tree forest, and is quite isolated as it can only be reached by boat. I think Caye Caulker is the perfect location for a conservation project, as during the week you will mainly stay in the North Island where you are fully immersed in nature, while on weekends you will have the chance to have some free time in town (South Island) where there are nice restaurants, bars and also a good nightlife!

The living conditions are basic but they are not as tough as I expected. At the beginning of the week we get fresh fruit and vegetables from the South Island, which means we can cook really nice vegetarian dishes and have fruit with our oatmeal in the morning. So we don't only eat rice and beans for the whole week (even if I love the rice and beans too!). Sleeping in hammocks is also not what I expected, they are pretty comfortable! The only nuisance at camp are the sand flies, but they can be avoided by wearing long trousers and long sleeve shirts. I would reccommend bringing lots of long light clothes as you will be wearing them all the time at camp, but you should still bring shorts/t-shirts/dresses for the days and nights you will spend in town.

On the beach conservation program you will do a lot of different types of surveys, including mangrove, seagrass, conch and lobster surveys as well as beach cleans in the forest reserve. On the marine conservation and diving project you will also be trained in fish and coral ID and you will be able to participate in dive surveys. Don't expect to find long, white sand beaches, as it's mainly mangrove and coral reef habitats around here! My favourite surveys so far are the conch and lobster surveys because you get to explore the local reef where you can see amazing marine life including nurse sharks, rays, turtles and all the colourful fish while collecting vital data which will help the Belize Fisheries Department understand if they are managing the marine reserve effectively. I'm really excited as Frontier will start manatee surveys in the near future, so I will be able to study these fantastic animals in their natural habitat!

Overall I would reccommend this project if you are looking to help with some great conservation work, learn some new survey techniques, see lots of marine wildlife, meet amazing people and have the experience of a lifetime!