An insight in life as a volunteer
Hi all! I was asked to share my view on what it is to be a volunteer with Marine Dynamics and the kinds of things you can look forward to if you were looking at volunteering yourself!
Most volunteer days start early, in order to make sure you are down in time to start helping with the setup for the day. Once you’ve gotten yourself up and ready you are shuttled down to the Marine Dynamics Hub: the Great White House. The giant whale skeleton greets you as you walk in alongside the marine biologist who will be joining you on your trip! This is always a nice chance to get some insider info about the conditions for the day and potential sightings!
After you’ve helped prep the equipment for the clients on whichever boat you are assisting and said hello to the rest of the Marine Dynamics crew, you head out onto the ocean! Depending on how long you choose to stay, you can be involved in as much or as little of the boat activity as you want! This can range from talking to the clients on board and testing your shark knowledge, to helping with the daily data capture and having a cheeky dive (if there’s room!). There’s always room for an extra pair of hands, so get stuck in!
After the boats have gone out for the day, you come back to the Great White House and regroup with the rest of the volunteers to share your sightings for the day. There is usually a chance after the boats to help out at the African Penguin & Seabird Sanctuary near the volunteer centre. This is a really great chance to have a hands on experience with the critically endangered African penguin and learn more about their habits and conservation from a brilliantly passionate team of professionals. Watch out for their flippers though!
If you think your day is over by now think again! The brilliant volunteer team are usually able to organise talks from one of the many knowledgeable marine biologists who help guide the boats with marine dynamics whilst conducting their research for their studies. These are incredibly valuable moments to interact with experts in their respective fields and learn more about the animals you spend your days interacting with.
The evenings are yours to spend with whoever and wherever you wish at the volunteer centre. Whether it’s cooking a group meal, having a snooker tournament or going out for drinks at the end of the week, you’ll always find your place. Being a volunteer with Marine Dynamics has been one of the most welcoming and positive experiences I have had the pleasure of being part of. They will forever be like a family away from home and I would love to return (if they’ll have me!).
Sam ‘Potter’ Woodruff