Volunteer to swim with, and research, whale sharks in the Maldives.

The Great Projects

Whale Shark Research Project


Who
: The Great Projects

Where: Dhigurah Island, South Ari Atoll, the Maldives

Focus: Research into whale sharks

When: All year round | Peak Season: May to November

Duration: 2 or 4 weeks

Suitability: Over 18s | Volunteers should be strong swimmers | Group bookings available.

Cost: 2 weeks from GBP 1732 | 4 weeks from GBP 2982.

As a volunteer, you will:

  • Support whale shark research and help increase knowledge of their activity within the Maldives to allow for a sound conservation strategy.
  • Spend time out at sea trying to spot the distinctive shapes of giant whale sharks, the largest fish in the ocean.
  • Swim with whale sharks and measure them from head to tail, recording data via photo ID and written logs.
  • Start to recognise individual whale sharks as they are mostly resident in these waters.
  • Spot and record other megafauna such as manta rays, whitetip reef sharks, dolphins and turtles.
  • Perform data entry to ensure all information is recorded correctly.
  • Take part in community outreach programmes and help promote the importance of whale shark conservation.
  • Encourage community and stakeholder participation to leverage scientific research to safeguard the marine ecosystem in the Maldives
  • Take part in regular beach clean ups
  • Get a chance to scuba dive and/or snorkel the coral reefs (not included in price)

When to go

Whale sharks can be seen all year round however the different monsoon seasons can have an effect:

May to November – The wet season (also known as the south-west monsoon). Visibility is generally better during this season, and is often preferred by divers. Whilst it is called the wet season there are still at least 8 hours of sunshine a day and most rain storms only last about an hour. The added bonus of these months is that manta rays may also be seen. This makes this season the best for joining the project.

January to March – The dry season (also known as the north-east monsoon) is favoured by holiday makers due to the weather and so can be busy, with whale sharks tending to favour the east side of the islands in this time.

December and April – Before and after the dry season is the transition period between monsoons and can bring strong winds and thunderstorms and so these months are less favoured.

The Base

  • Accommodation: Guest house on Dhigurah Island with 4 rooms.
  • Sleeping: Rooms are on a shared basis of 2 people.
  • Food: Three meals per day. There is a no alcohol policy anywhere on the island. Penalties are extremely harsh with up to 2 years in prison.
  • Working week: 1 day off.
  • Number of volunteers: 8 max.
  • Support: 24-hour in-country volunteer support.
  • Transport: Volunteers are picked up from Maamigili Island airport, then transferred via speedboat to project site on Dhigurah Island.

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