Marine Volunteer at Adventure Bay Charters
Adventure Bay Charters has been lucky enough over the years to have many volunteers opt to join our team and aid in our research and monitoring efforts of the Great White Shark and Australian Sea Lion via our not-for-profit marine volunteer program. We have been able to give the volunteers from our program, the opportunity to aid research and development efforts of both our business and the wider community. To say our marine volunteer program has benefited us is spot on. Marine Volunteering is an ever-growing trend in travel and as a tourism business, it is something we had to fall on our feet with.
Our marine volunteer program only began due to demand. Adventure Bay Charters has been all the better for it though. Having volunteers has allowed us to further spread our motto of respect, protect and promote and given us access to outside knowledge as many marine biologists have joined us.
Hear from our last marine volunteer Valentin Fieber, all the way from Germany, here:
“Seaweed, Sharks and Banana Socks”
You´re crazy! – That’s what my friends said when I told them that I was going to jump into a cage to dive with a great white shark. And that’s what I thought while I grew up in Hamburg, Germany and saw those terrifying videos of sharks breaking into a cage while some poor customers where scared to death. Adventure Bay Charters changed that completely and now I love and respect sharks like everyone should do!
How I got to Adventure Bay Charters? I did the shark-tour as a customer and didn’t see a shark but still had an amazing day. So, I called again a few days later and asked if I can volunteer. Matt Waller said yes and on the 5th of April, I booked the flight for the 6th and went on my first volunteer shark trip on the 7th. That’s how easy it was and I really appreciate how open Matt was to just take me into his team without me having any experience with working on a boat. He picked me up from the airport and I felt very welcome from the first second.
Once on the boat, I had to learn everything fast. The crew made it very easy for me to learn fast. They showed me everything as often as I needed it. I had the chance to learn everything by doing it myself after I had watched someone else do it. That was amazing! I felt like a valuable part of the crew right from the start. Soon, I was able to do everything a deckhand does and I was trusted to do things on my own. I learned to tie the boat on and off, speak to customers and the basics of customer service in English and I learned how to help set up the cage and to prepare everything that is needed to put customers in the cage and help them in and out of the cage.
Working The Rattles
Shep and Matt gave me the seaweed rattle right away when we came to the spot and they trusted me that I wouldn’t lose it to a shark and I didn’t! We used seaweed and rattles dangled off the back of the boat as an additional attraction to the speakers. The thing is, if a shark tastes them, they will notice that it is not food and may lose interest. Therefore, that job is very important. You might stare at the water all day waiting for a shark, which can be difficult when they’re absent. The adrenalin soon hits when someone shouts “SHARK!” It is as good as being in the cage! I feel honoured that they trusted me with that job. It was a lot of fun!
Sea Lion Tours
On the sea lion tours, my job was about the same. It was all about customer service and preparing everything. Besides that, it was so much fun to swim with the Sea Lions and to take photos for the customers. There was not much to do on the way back and I was tired every single time. I was able to nap but as soon as someone needed my help I was there. I often heard that I should get paid because I did more than a volunteer does. However, I came to Port Lincoln for the experience. Everything Matt and the team did for me is worth much more than money!
My volunteer-ship wasn’t just learning about sharks, sea lions and working on the boat. I learned so much from every single one of you. How you live your lives made me think about mine! THANK YOU! I hope that I will see all of you again and I hope you all read this. If you ever come to Germany my door will be open (Matt has my address)!”
We absolutely love our volunteers! Knowing they come from all across the globe and experience levels just makes the time even more interesting. Our tours are aimed at educating people about the endangered and threatened Great White Shark and Australian Sea Lion. To know that we changed the thought process and way of living of just one person is an achievement. Thank you for being part of our team Val, we will see you somewhere in the world soon. We miss you!
Interested in joining our Marine Volunteer program? Or maybe you’re interested in learning more about our past Marine Volunteers? Leave us a comment on this blog post or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.