A day in the life of an MWSRP Volunteer!
THE PERFECT DAY OF A VOLUNTEER?
We asked volunteer Chris Frost to sum up his experience as a volunteer into a single day; this is what he came up with...
How would you define a perfect day for a volunteer? I think I’d start with an overnight stay on the local island of "Dhigurah” where the sun rises at 6:55am, and can be so spectacular that it can surpass a sunset.
Not a bad start to the day, I hear you say. But if I told you that after breakfast, you could motor out of the tranquil harbour (just after the locals have headed to work) and have an early morning swim with some of the other locals in the area, now you may be able to imagine the typical idyllic Maldivian day.
It’s only 8:15am and we’ve already had 30 minutes with majestic Mantas! How can this day get any better? The answer lies with a few bigger locals in the area.We start the slow patrol, cruising at a nice slow speed along the reef, looking out for the largest fish in the ocean... the Whale Shark!
10:15 brings our first Whale Shark encounter of the day and given our current state of fortune, we imagine the day can't possibly get any better?
The Whale Shark's unique pattern of spots and lines allows us to identify him as Fernando, the presence of claspers on his underbelly indicate he's a male shark and white marks on top of his dorsal fin indicate a fresh injury.....
After we leave this gentle giant, we only have to wait another 30 minutes before our next encounter.
Is every day like this in the Maldives? We wish, but alas no! Some days bring plenty to see but other days you patrol all day only to have one lucky encounter if that. It’s a big ocean and there are no guarantees in life, so those encounters that you do have are very special and we are grateful for the small glimpse into the day of a whale shark's life.
Thankfully this day was filled with 9 encounters and included 6 different sharks. Encounters varied from short, brief glimpses to longer ones. Sometime we were fortunate to be alone with the shark and others, we shared them with mobs of day excursioners, joining in to gain a brief sighting of one of the most spectacular fish in the ocean.The last encounter of the day remains the most vivid and although we return with wide smiles and unsurpassed contentment at 15:14, the real work is yet to start....Tomorrow all the sightings and photographs will need to be checked and merged, we'll need to perform the identifications using computer pattern recognition software and transfer all the raw data sheets onto computer, then we’ll go out and do it all again.