WHAT WILL I BE DOING?
You will be working alongside experienced scientific research staff, monitoring the three main turtle species on the island – Leatherback, Olive Ridley and Green turtles. This will involve basic if lengthy beach patrols, snorkel transects, observing feeding behaviours and helping to identify nests and assist hatchlings. Depending on the stage in the hatching season, you could be seeing the hatchlings emerge under a starlit tropical sky during the night shift or seeing them taste their first rays of the resplendent Thai sun during the day. If you are lucky, you may catch a glimpse of the Hawksbill turtle which has been seen swimming although its nests have never been found so far!
In addition to the important turtle work you will take part in the tortoise and freshwater survey, measuring and identifying species. You will also be conducting snorkel surveys of the offshore coral reefs looking out for evidence of reef recovery. There may be the opportunity to work in the luxuriant mangrove forests helping with seedling planting and restoration work. While busy with your daily activities you can watch out for an array of fantastic local wildlife including creatures such as hornbills, Sea Eagles, Monitor Lizards, Pangolins, deer and Long Tailed Macaques.
As you soak up the atmosphere of the project village and enjoy the warm hospitality, you will be giving something back by sharing your knowledge and skills with the local people. Just as you will no doubt pick up a few words of Thai from your host family, you will be teaching them and the community basic English and helping to educate them about the importance of their environment and the valuable conservation work that is being carried out. You'll also give presentations to tourists and visitors about the project goals and activities and promote environmental good practice and the importance of turtle and reef conservation.
You may also have the unique opportunity to spend a week on the uninhabited Ra Island. As a small team you could monitor beaches and conduct a bird surveys. During your stay on Ra Island you would be based at an Ecolodge.
An example of a day in the village could be:
05:30 - Transfer by boat to beaches, monitor the beaches, whilst enjoying a beautiful sunrise
09:00 - A breakfast picnic on the beach in the cool morning air
09:30 - Sea observation with binoculars, looking for dolphins, sea turtles and other animals
13:00 - A delicious home-cooked Thai meal in the village
15:00 - Another chance to spot a graceful dolphin or perhaps simply a swim or snorkel in the sea or a walk on the beach or travel to surrounding islands to search for turtle nests
17:00 - English lessons and swapping stories with the villagers
19:00 - Dinner in the village, then some more time to enjoy the beauty of the island or perhaps a nap to restore energy before monitoring the hatchlings during the night shift