Project Details

Marine Conservation Expedition In Mexico

(PADI Open Water and above)

Put your SCUBA skills to use on coral reef, fish and marine mammal monitoring programmes.

Probably the best thing I’ve ever done. I absolutely loved it and have learned and gained so much from the staff at Mahahual.” Lindsay Sullivan, 2006 expedition member.

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Following on from the success of GVI’s Marine Research Expedition in the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve at Pez Maya and at the request of the Mexican Government, GVI have expanded their research field of study and operations by opening a new field station south of its original location. The expedition based in Mahahual continues to support and assist the work of local non-profits including Amigos de Sian Ka’an (ASK), the local state university of Quintana Roo (UQRoo), and the National Commission for the Conservation of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP),as well as international NGO’s and universities on the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef Survey.At this centre Expedition Members can receive dive training and increase their knowledge of marine habitats and conservation by participating in a comprehensive training program and a range of conservation initiatives.

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  • Coral Reef and Fish monitoring surveys.
  • Live and work alongside local and international scientists at the Field Research Centre and assist in their current research programmes.
  • Train local fishermen and guides in conversational English Language, to allow them direct access to revenues from the rapid tourism development.
  • Sea turtle sightings surveys.
  • Turtle nesting surveys (seasonal).
  • Underwater photography course is offered free of charge to expedition members.
  • Develop the education and awareness programme at local schools, dive centres, the expedition base and in the open environment.
  • Assist in the development of the Ecological Research and Awareness Centre.
  • Conduct activities on behalf of our local partners, Amigos de Sian Ka’an, University of Quintana Roo and National Commission for the Protection of Natural Protected Area and sharing all data to help them achieve their aims.

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Expedition members for this expedition need to be qualified to PADI Open Water (or equivalent) and above. GVI’s comprehensive training programme will provide Expedition members with all the skills necessary for expedition life, such as marine survey techniques. Expedition members must be able to pass a medical examination to prove they are physically fit to dive, although there are also limited opportunities for Expedition members to attend as non diving Expedition members if circumstances dictate. All expedition members will have to complete a swim test on arrival at the expedition base (unaided 200m surface swim followed by a 10 min float, and a 300m swim with snorkel, mask and fins followed by a 10 min float, both in the open sea environment). Everyone must be able to work as part of a team and have a strong interest in wildlife and conservation. Participants must also be very enthusiastic, adventurous, have a good sense of humour and be respectful of the host country`s environment and cultures.

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The training program provides a thorough understanding of marine environments and conservation on which to build throughout your stay. Topics covered include: marine conservation, oceanography, First Aid, basic Spanish, research diving skills, marine survey skills, fish and coral identification, PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course, with optional Rescue Diver and Divemaster (subject to availability), the PADI specialty course in Underwater photography and an introduction to TEFL qualification necessary to assist in the various community programs. GVI provides an exceptional standard of training in many internationally recognized qualifications.

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The expedition base is situated in a private bay 8 kilometres north of the tranquil Mayan village of Mahahual, just south of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve (Mayan for “where the sky is born”). Located south of Cancun and just north of Belize on Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, the area lies on the spectacular Caribbean coast and is surrounded by coral reef, pristine wetlands and further inland, dense jungle. Mahahual is a two hour drive from Chetumal, the state capital and approximately six hours from the tourist mecca of Cancun to the north. The base’s location combines the beauty of the Caribbean with the proximity of a local coastal town.

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The Expedition Base is nestled in a stunning bay just north of the village, surrounded by palm trees and fronting onto the beach. There is patch coral straight off the beach and the main coral reef crest is approximately 400m out. The base is a former hotel and is being developed as an example of environmental sustainability. Expedition members are accommodated in shared rooms with bunkbeds, or camping facilities for those who prefer, with freshwater showers a few times a week, views of the ocean, a basic kitchen, a main socialising area and a beautiful stretch of beach to enjoy. The expedition members will assist in developing the expedition base as an Ecological Research and Awareness Centre.

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8 to 12 plus staff. Daily dive groups will be 6-8 people.

5 or 10 weeks

 

Full Project Description at gvi.co.uk can be found here