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Becky Fawcett - Tanzania Marine Conservation and  Diving

Becky came to Tanzania to learn diving and begin her career in Marine Biology. Spending just over a month with our team she definitely achieved this!

1) Why did you choose this particular project?

I want to study seine biology at university and I though this might be a good start to learning about marine life. I also wanted to get my diving qualification

2) What kind of work and activities did you do during your project?

I did some BSPs( baseline survey protocols), sea grass surveys, mangrove snorkels, bird walks/surveys, snorkelling, watched a turtle hatching, camp duty, visited the other islands, learnt to ID fish and invertebrates, completed my open water and advanced diving and we all went to the bar on Saturday night which was the best Saturday's I’ve ever had!

3) How did the culture and people differ to home? What were the locals like?

The locals were lovely, very kind and welcoming. Women had to have knees covered when going into the village or walking down to the beach which was annoying at times but you get used to it, they are more lenient on shoulders.

4) What was the accommodation like?

The bandas (sleeping areas) were not bad, you sleep on wooden planks with your roll mat or whatever you bring, I brought my yoga mat and that worked just fine. At first it's a little uncomfortable but you get used to it very quickly. Depending on the amount of people in one Banda they are quite spacious so you’re never squashed.

5) What were the staff and other volunteers like?

The staff are great, very funny and can have a laugh but are also professional when needed. You make friends with everyone within the first few days, I miss everyone on camp! Haha

6) What was the most amazing moment and what’s your best memory?

My best moment was probably on my last advanced dive, a deep dive, where I saw a turtle and 2 giant reef Rays; they were incredible! I was knelt down going through some skills and the Rays just glided around us. My best memories are from the bar and from day to day life. 7) The data that we helped collect is recorded and sent to the marine park so I think it is all worthwhile.

7) What sort of wildlife did you encounter?

There were bush babies all around camp as well as geckos, bats, some snakes and I was slightly disappointed with the little amount of spiders but they are around somewhere haha. In the water there are so many species of fish and invertebrates around you! You can be swimming and they can just appear grok know where, either being really small or absolutely huge like the fish at Kinasi (dive site). There are also birds like African fish eagles and green pigeons.

8) Where were you hoping to learn while on project and have you achieved those goals?

I wanted to learn diving which I achieved and I hoped to learn more about marine life which I definitely did. I can identify many species of fish by their body shapes and markings. I'm glad I got to partake in the surveys; they are skills that I can use at university.

9) Any tips and advice you might like to pass on to future volunteers?

You don't needs as much soap as you think. Bring a hammock. Bring books not a kindle so other people can read. Bring juice and sauces for dinner. I brought a spare set of swimming equipment such as masks and snorkels and fins. They came in useful as my original fins were not suitable for diving.

10) What do you have planned next?

I'm going back to college in September for my final year then moving on the university to study marine biology (hopefully).

11) Anything else you would like to add?

This was the best experience ever and I'm hoping to go back next year and do the apprenticeship.

By Becky Fawcett - Tanzania Marine Conservation and Diving

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