About the Reef Buddy Volunteer Project
Become a Caribbean Reef Buddy volunteer and join us on the beautiful island of Carriacou near Grenada. Learn to dive in the warm, crystal clear waters of the Caribbean and play a full and active part in our exciting marine conservation projects.
By choosing to join Caribbean Reef Buddy you will be undertaking the following:
- PADI Open Water and Advanced Open Water dive courses or free in lieu fun dives.
- Advanced diving techniques including navigation and buoyancy control.
- Specialty training in digital underwater photography.
- Take part in the PADI Caribbean Coral Nursery Distinctive Specialty
- Specialty courses in coral and fish identification.
- Specialty training in Lionfish containment, including hunting, analysis and data collection.
- Internationally recognized reef survey protocols, fish, benthic and coral survey techniques, including Reef Check.
- Lectures, classes and support from our resident biologists.
- Day trip to snorkel with Green and Hawksbill turtles in the Tobago Cays Marine Park, the setting of the Pirates of the Caribbean films.
- Snorkel trips to the beautiful Sandy Island and White island.
- Hike through the Nature Reserve to the summit of High North.
- Turtle monitoring with our friends at Ocean Spirits in Grenada (only on combo package).
All of the above courses and training will ensure you are well prepared to join us in our conservation and monitoring projects and help us to protect and preserve the beautiful reefs around Carriacou.
All diving equipment, course materials and research/project equipment is provided by us.
Duration of your stay
The training, knowledge and experience you gain will be dependent on the duration of your stay with us. A 2-week stay will provide you with dive training up to PADI Advanced Open Water, and introduce you to some of our monitoring and data collection protocols.
Join the conservation program for 4-weeks and you will have the opportunity to conduct more research dives, learn advanced monitoring techniques and build your dive portfolio!
Thinking of a career in diving and marine conservation? Then consider our 8 week Eco Divemaster programme!
You will develop a detailed understanding of our coral reef conservation programmes, by joining our conservation team as you complete your dive training to become a PADI Divemaster.
After 8 weeks with us you will leave with the professional qualifications and experience required to work in the dive industry and field of coral reef conservation.
The coral reef systems around Carriacou comprise a beautifully special and biodiverse coral reef ecosystem on which the population of this island relies. Though still teeming with life, increasing stress due to over-fishing and invasive species could ultimately threaten their collapse! Through reef monitoring and data collection, a better picture can be obtained concerning stressors to the reef ecosystem and strategies by which they can be mitigated. We work together with universities and individual researchers around the globe that share our goals to protect this beautiful and productive ecosystem.
Coral Reef Nursery
Following a pilot programme implemented in conjunction with UNEP, TNC, and the government of Grenada, Caribbean Reef Buddy has established their very own coral nursery and created a training programme to involve volunteers. The PADI Caribbean Coral Nursery Diver Distinctive Specialty was written in-house and designed to teach Caribbean Reef Buddy volunteers about the construction, population, maintenance, monitoring and out-planting of a coral nursery using Staghorn (Acropora cervicornis) and Elkhorn (Acropora palmata) coral species.
In June and August of 2018, Caribbean Reef Buddy volunteers completed the training, built nursery structures and populated them with fragments of Elkhorn coral- a critically endangered species. As part of our regular programme intervals, volunteers will have the opportunity to complete the PADI Caribbean Coral Nursery Distinctive Specialty, partake in coral nursery work, and in doing so aid in reef restoration efforts and the recovery of a threatened species. This work will continue into the 2019 season and beyond.
Caribbean Reef Buddy
Caribbean Reef Buddy is a registered NGO, partnered with Deefer Diving Carriacou, a PADI 5 Star dive centre. With a team of concerned, ecologically-conscious dive professionals and biologists in place, it is our goal to meet and support the marine conservation needs of the island.
The decline of coral reefs across the Caribbean has been well documented. Climate change, over-fishing and increased commercial development are all playing their part. Through our frequent presence under water, we have noticed these threats beginning to impact the coral reef systems of Carriacou. We understand that a healthy marine ecosystem plays an important role in sustaining the livelihoods of the local population, and have taken initiative to protect the biodiversity and ecological wealth of the island.
Our Friends and Partners
We have partnered with Ocean Spirits in Grenada to deliver combo programmes in reef conservation and turtle monitoring. Ocean Spirits utilise their expertise to train volunteers in Leatherback turtle monitoring during summer programmes. For more information on our “combo” trips with Ocean Spirits Leatherback Sea Turtle Programme in Grenada, please email Victoria.McNeil@workingabroad.com