I took part in the marine conservation in Mexico. At the webpage of my travel agency (sta) I looked for some inspiration where to go and what to do (I just finished my Bachelor and wanted to do some travelling before doing my Master´s). At the very beginning I didn´t even want to do some volunteering work. But I saw that they have an offer which includes diving. As I love scuba diving this project got my attention. After reading a little bit about the project and some phone calls I was a hundred percent sure that this is it. Only the price was a little bit of a concern for me in the beginning. But after finishing the project, I can say that it´s totally worth it.
To give you an impression of the project, I’m going to describe a typical day of a volunteer:
The day usually starts at 7am with morning duties. There are four different duty groups (Kitchen, Communal, Grounds and Boats). When you´re on kitchen you have to make breakfast and clean the kitchen after eating your meals. The people on communal have to clean the communal areas (yes, that also includes the toilets) and mob the floor. Those who are on grounds have to fill the buckets in which you can clean your plates and cutlery and before the meals they have to put the plates and cutlery back in the shelf. When you are on boats you have to prepare everything that goes on the boat (first aid kid, oxygen, etc.) and you have to fill the waterbucks in which you clean your dive equipment when you come back from a dive. Those duties groups change every day and every group has about five people in it. At 7:30am after finishing your morning duties you can get breakfast (eggs, cereals, pancake or porridge). At 8am you ofttimes have some presentations. Those are usually about some training presentations for your target species (fish, coral or invert) or something about the reef. At 9:30am starts kit-up for wave one (the boat leaves three times a day for some diving expeditions, but you only have one or two dives per day). When you completed the buddy-checks you´re good to go and can enjoy your dive. When you´re back from the dive it´s usually shortly before lunch time. After lunch you may be on coral lab (coral lab will be once or twice a week). The coral lab is also on the base but is not run by gvi. Although they often need our help by cleaning the corals, feeding the corals or sometimes just some maintenance at the lab. But there are also some invertebrates, which you get to work with. After coral lab you may be on wave three or just have some time off. At your time off you can relax, take a nap in the hammock, study your target species or (what you do mostly) spend some time with the other volunteers. The most popular thing at base is normally playing cards, but there are also many different board games, dice, etc.. And of course there is WiFi at base for social media or if you want to chat with your family and friends. At 6pm dinner will be served. After dinner it´s time for announcements. The staff presents the schedule for the next day, gives out shout-outs. After finishing your evening duties (same as in the morning) your work day is over and you can spend the rest of your day as you like. Usually, together with the other volunteers, you do a movie-night (Sundays), a games-night (Wednesdays), relax or just get some beers (Thursday is lady´s night in Puerto Morelos and on Fridays you go Micheladas :D). You just have to take care that you´re back before 11pm (as there is a curfew) and don´t drink too much when you dive the next day.
On the weekends you day looks a bit different as you want don´t have to work and want to see some other cities. On most weekends you will go to another city, sleep there in a hostel, have a look at some Maya-pyramids or go cenote diving (The Pitt is highly recommended). And as there are no curfews and you don´t have to dive the next day you can party as hard and as long with your new friends as you want to.