Guest blogger Rebecca MacDonald-Taylor, of NGO Frontier, tells us how you can help threatened sea turtles in the Indian Ocean…
Picture this: Dark ashy shades created from the towering volcanic mountains contrast with a rainbow pallet of coral reefs shimmering through the clear blue waters. The Indonesian island of Bali really is stunning!
Working with turtles
Bali is under huge pressure from Indonesia’s growing tourism industry. It’s understandable – Bali is gorgeous and everybody wants to see it for themselves, but the more people visit, the more the fragile environment and its wildlife is damaged.
Frontier helps provide a solution by operating the Sea Turtle Conservation project which provides a hands-on approach in the conservation of these majestic and enchanting creatures. It’s a unique experience, and one that you can join.
Life as a volunteer on the project
Litter left on the beaches can be a big choking problem, especially for the young, and so volunteers monitor the weaker turtles in a natural enclosure for support and rehabilitation until they are ready for release. The project also needs people to collect vital baseline data on turtle populations.
During the day, volunteers also have the opportunity to teach English at one of the local schools which is a fantastic chance to immerse yourself in the Bali culture. Support, particularly in English language fluency, has a lasting impact on the community.
Volunteers enjoy three meals a day of traditional Balinese cuisine, an exciting fusion of Indonesian and Chinese styles. Some of the most popular dishes are Nasi Goreng (Indonesian fried rice with a fried egg on top) and Mie Goreng (fried noodles with egg).
One of the added bonuses of volunteering on this project is that you get to live right next to the beach! You can stay at a volunteer house with all the basic facilities that you’ll need.
There is a mix of both Western and Asian-style toilets and I would definitely suggest making use of the outdoor showers. There are indoor ones, but you may as well take advantage of welcoming a cold rinse in the tropical temperatures. You would never be able to do that in the UK! (‘We agree’ – Editor)
Recommended for… Anyone who is desperate to escape to a tropical dreamland and immerse themselves in a diverse culture, helping the local community. A love of turtles wouldn’t go amiss either!
Be aware that… Some activities are seasonal. Turtles lay their eggs throughout the year, but the opportunity to collect eggs and monitor nests is often highest between July and October when the sea is calmer.
For more information, including a full programme, prices, departure dates and booking, visit the Sea Turtle Conservation project page on the Frontier website.
About the author: Rebecca MacDonald-Taylor is an Online Journalism Intern at Frontier, an international non-profit volunteering NGO. Check out Frontier’s blog ‘Into the Wild’ for more gap year ideas to help make your time out meaningful. For more information about travel and volunteering opportunities available please visit www.frontier.ac.uk.