Having just started with All Out Africa managing research volunteers, naturally, I’ve been very parental over my first group. I couldn’t be prouder after their first week. They start with a very busy schedule aimed at getting them in the water and research ready as soon as possible. Day 1 we always try to get them out on an ocean safari, beginning the training to log accounts of Whale Sharks, Mantas, and Humpback Whales. Due to inclement weather the team stayed in, but did a stellar job learning the 60 fish they will need to know in order to begin reef surveys. It is also paramount that they learn how we take and store data, take and process ID photos of our target species, and document Humpback Whale sitings.
While all of that is going on we still make time and take them on a tour on Inhambane, the capital city of our province of the same name. We visited the local history museum, shopped, toured the neighbourhood, and took in some amazing cuisine. It is also an important opportunity for them to see how to take local transportation should the need arises and experience first hand some of the limitations of our remote location.
For some, getting started with scuba diving is as simple as completing a review in the pool and getting comfortable in the ocean. However, many of our volunteers are learning to dive for the first time, so they are busy getting certified to start surveying the reef in just a few days.
So after our first week, I’m proud to say all of the volunteers are certified and ready to dive. They have almost all learned to recognize the 60 species of fish targeted in our reef surveys and everyone has learned the appropriate data collection and entry procedures. Now the real fun/science can begin.
Written by Luke Manson