Fiji Marine Conservation



Fiji Marine Conservation - Gap Year programDive into crystal blue water and discover the rich biodiversity of the South Pacific.  Your research assistance will aid the local management and national efforts to conserve Fiji’s delicate coral reefs and marine ecosystems. Travel to idyllic traditional Fijian villages; gain your PADI Advanced Open Water qualification and contribute towards tangible, long-term community benefits.





Highlights

  • Adventure into the Pacific Ocean as you conduct underwater surveys 
  • Become an experienced PADI qualified diver
  • Experience cultural immersion into the Fijian way of life
  • Contribute to sustainable marine conservation research and community awareness efforts
  • Explore a breathtaking paradise among volcanic mountains, white beaches and remote islands
  • Make friends and memories that you'll never forget!
Join an international team of volunteers on this marine conservation expedition which focuses on the collection of important marine inventory data from underwater research dives.
This research is then made available to local communities and organisations to help better inform management decision making and guarantee food security for future generations.

Much of your time spent on this expedition will be scuba diving. You will learn to become an experienced diver, trained to PADI Advanced Open Water level.  The 4-week duration is only open for divers already qualified to PADI Open Water Diver or equivalent.  Those without their PADI Open Water or equivalent certification can join both the 8 and 12 week programs. By the end of your stay, you will be diving like an expert with memories to last a lifetime!

Also, if you wish to add to your scuba diving skillset, why not take an extra course at a discounted rate?! Ask a Gapforce program advisor about available ADD-ons if interested in finding out more. 


What is included

  • Comprehensive pre-departure support
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • Community work workshop
  • Coral reef ecology
  • Diving compressor training workshop
  • First Aid & CPR training
  • Location orientation
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Meals while on project 
  • PADI Coral Reef Research Diver Distinctive Speciality
  • PADI Open Water (for 8 and 12 week volunteers) and Advanced Open Water
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • Transfer to base location
  • Use of O2 equipment workshop
  • Welcome meeting


What is not included

  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • Flights
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Personal dive kit, e.g. mask, fins, wetsuit, timer etc.
  • Personal items and toiletries
  • Police or background check
  • Individual Visa Requirements 


    Why Fiji?

    "Volunteers on this program get the opportunity to learn to dive in a unique tropical environment and progress quickly, leaving as an experienced diver. They work very closely with the marine scientist to learn to identify almost everything in the ocean and conduct coral reef surveys, which improves their diving even further."


    Hannah Govan – Gapforce, Fiji

    Home from home

    My experience of the project in Fiji was one of those rare moments where you think it's too good to be true but the penny just never drops! Nukubalvu is set on an idyllic island and as soon as you arrive it just feels like home. The staff were amazing when I arrived, super friendly and easy to talk to as we'll as really knowledgable about Fijian culture. Going to the local village was a highlight; you are given a family who feed you, give you a bed to sleep in and copious amounts of tea every Sunday (and if you get Ma she hides you when it's time to drink kava!) It may sound quite daunting having to spend a whole day with a family of people you don't know and away from your friends at first, but everyone in every village I visited was so welcoming and kind you soon look forward to spending a relaxing Sunday in their houses! I stayed for two phases on camp, first as a volunteer then as the scientist's assistant - couldn't bear to leave! We started learning to identify fish, inverts and corals straight away and although it seems like a lot of work to start with it's not that hard to learn them all if you just put in a little bit of time and effort. The diving is incredible too; it's always magical floating around underwater but it makes you feel really quite clever when you can recognise all that you are swimming next to! I managed over 150 dives over two phases out in Fiji and never did I find one dive to be the same as another- you always see something different and cool so never ever pass up the chance to go in the water, you never know what you are missing out on!! Best months of my life. I've met some amazing people, seen some fantastic animals, adopted old Walasinger as my pooch (any food you don't eat give to him, he will appreciate it more than anyone) - safe to say I would jump back there in a heartbeat.

    Claudia, Female

    The best time of my life!

    Since the age of about 12 I have been looking forward to my gap year it kept me going through school and A levels; and what a year it has been! Without a doubt Fiji was the best time of my life! At points it was hard, especially the first couple of weeks getting used to the basic living accommodation. However, I would like to think seeing how the 'other half live' has changed my aspect on life and popped the middle class bubble that I used to live in back home. You can see pictures of other cultures in the news paper or watch documentaries on TV but you can only truely know another culture when you've spent time with them. One of the things I loved about Fiji was the fact we got to spend every Sunday with the local people, which made it more than just a gap year program for me. I have a friend who did a wild life conservation project in Africa for her gap year with a different company and although she had amazing time, in the 3 months she was out there never once did she have a conversation with the local people. So in that sense gapforce stand out from other gap year programs for me.I could go on for pages about the diving, put this way the under water world in Fiji is incredible. Even if your having bad day as soon as you stick your head under that water it just brings a smile to your face. The colours are so vibrant and diversity of life is like none I have ever come across anywhere else before. From the smallest Nudibranch to a huge Zebra shark, the under water world is amazing. Your fellow volunteers will come your best friends and you will know them better than your friends at home. If I have any regrets about Fiji though, is that I did nt travel around the island afterwards as it would of cost me PS200 just to change my flights. So my advise to anyone going to Fiji is book your flights home at least 2 weeks after the phase finishes. To any future volunteers/ people looking to travel who are reading this, just do it and you won't regret it! If money was no option I would do every single program Gapforce has to offer.

    Lauren, England

    A Diver's Paradise!

    When the sun shines down upon the glistening blue sea, it's not hard to remember why you traveled to the ends of the earth in search for this diver's retreat.We've all come to treat the camp as home and the people who live here as family (as there's no getting away from them ;-) )Everyone is feeling on top form this week as the majority of us are now qualified Advanced Open Water divers, and the guys who joined later on in the phase are powering through their PADI manuals in order get into the water ASAP!The Greenforcees are in the process of being survey trained, with the aim to start practice in-water surveys as early as next week. We have to complete 30 surveys at 5 different sites, which as much of a daunting task that seems now, Head Scientist Hannah says she's confident we'll get the job done in time for us to enjoy plenty of fun dives towards the end of phase.With the arrival of the new doctors and a bunch of enthusiastic medical students; Medforce has well and truly kicked into action.With much talk over tropical diseases, making the rest of us a bit queasy!The food has surpassed everyone's expectations so far. The simple rice and beans we were expecting is now a mere after thought compared to what we've been conjuring up. Flatbread, Pasties, Banana bread, it's all been amazing. Infact I think" Phase 34 Fiji 2013: Rice and aubergine 100 ways" should definitely be published!The camp is excited for another friday night pub quiz which went down really well the first time round, though things did get a little heated over point scoring and potential cheating antics by some of the volunteers...The weekends fly by on camp. Saturdays are spentchilling, and a few weeks ago we took a trip to a natural golden sanded spit which only appears at low tide. we're hoping to make a return trip with the newbies soon.Sunday is always village day. Where upon the girls adorn their Bula dresses and the lads their sulus. Everyone looks very part, if not a little hot in the usual blazing sunshine. We each have a host family, who cook us breakfast and lunch (which is always really tasty).We also have the honour to join the community in church, where the singing is better than most church choirs I've ever heard.Well what else can I say about camp Nukubulavu, the people are great, the food is too, but above all the diving is amazing and we all know how lucky we are be to here. ( even you do end up sharing your bed with the occasional spider!)

    Nicola, Bournemouth

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    View dates
    • Fiji
    • Duration: 4 to 12 weeks
    • Departures: Every month

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