Joining the Gili Shark Conservation Project was one of the best things I’ve ever done – no joke. I advanced my diving, made lifelong friends and was exposed to the world of marine conservation in a very engaging, informative and fun environment.
I now have a greater grasp on what needs to be done to support the health of our oceans and its inhabitants. This was the first step in what I now see will be a lifelong dedication to furthering the cause of marine conservation – and I can thank the Gili Shark Conservation Project for opening my eyes to this world.
Here’s why you should join the project, too:
1. Earn your diving certificates fast
Whether you’ve never been diving before or you’re a seasoned Dive Master, or somewhere in between, you will earn new scuba certificates during your time at the project. The Gili Shark Conservation Project closely collaborate with PADI 5 star IDC Dive Resort Oceans 5. No matter what course you would like to do, the instructors of Oceans5 will make sure it will be a fun and unforgettable memory. Certified divers can advance to the next levels, while Dive Masters can expand their knowledge with Survey Dives, the Scientific Diver Course and the Shark Conservation Diver Course. All divers will also assist with BRUV drops (Baited Remote Underwater Video).
2. Learn about sharks!
Sharks are awesome. They’re an incredibly unique species that most people don’t know too much about. At the project, you’ll learn all about shark anatomy, behavior, different species of sharks, shark fishing and what is being done to protect them -and hopefully you’ll get to dive with a bunch too!
3. Learn about marine conservation
At the Gili Shark Conservation Project, you’ll be taught things like what marine protected areas, marine reserves and shark sanctuaries are. You’ll work with large global databases like eoceans and Shark Base, which will give you insight into how the fight for marine reserves is being fought. You’ll also witness firsthand the effects of problems like coral bleaching, dynamite fishing and overfishing. All of this will give you a better grasp of the issues and solutions at hand.
4. Contribute as a citizen scientist to this vital cause
Although the plight of the ocean can sometimes seem daunting and sad, as a citizen scientist you will help the cause. By contributing your time and energy with survey dives, watching BRUV videos to ID fish (counting fish is fun!), participating in community outreach programs and joining together for a beach cleanup, you will be making a difference. Every little bit helps.
5. Study Bahasa and get a feel for Indonesian culture
Weekly Bahasa classes are really helpful. It’s not too difficult of a language and learning as much as you can will make your stay in Indonesia more worthwhile. It’ll help you get around more easily and the locals always appreciate when you connect with them in their own language.
6. Make great international friends in Indonesia
I made some lifelong friends during my time at the project. It’s always an amazing experience to meet wonderful, like minded people from all over the world who you have a great deal in common with. Everyone at the Gili Shark Conservation Project is there for a great cause and you’ll no doubt meet some really lovely, interesting people.
7. Enjoy beautiful Gili Air!
Gili Air is a very special place – no bones about it. It’s a scuba diving heaven and a car / motor bike free oasis. It’s a beautiful little gem full of yummy restaurants, great yoga studios, lively bars, and cool beaches. If you don’t enjoy your time on Gili Air, you didn’t do it right. So if you’re looking to dive and learn and help and smile and spend your time working for a fantastic cause, do yourself a big favor and join the Gili Shark Conservation Project. It could change your life, it did mine.
Written by Devin T – participant Gili Shark Conservation Project in the summer of 2016