SPECIAL NOTE – This project is currently booked up until mid-May so if interested, please be sure to book months in advance.
Volunteer in Borneo with Kaya and work on an island coral conservation and diving project. Assist with the renovation of coral reefs that have been badly damaged through 45 years of fish bombing, a destructive fishing technique. Coral rubble is a common sight on the sea-bed. Indeed, the area is in a coral triangle known for the largest number of reef species in the world but more coral is needed to encourage these species to stay. The local team and volunteer divers utilise their skills to create and place sinkable crate structures to help catch rubble that may harm the coral as well as providing homes for larval fish. Efforts to increase the population of species that make up the shark’s diet such as octopus and pelagic fish are needed so that sharks are attracted to, and more importantly, stay in the area.
The ultimate goal of the project is to rebuild fish and coral habitats so that the reef sharks are encouraged to remain resident within this sanctuary for sharks, rays, turtles and other marine life. Come and contribute to the sustainability of these marine habitats while acquiring your own PADI qualification, a skill that you can use wherever you travel in the future.
Why choose this project?
- Provide additional manpower desperately needed to collate data as well as repair the reefs by replanting coral and increase the settlement of reef fish juveniles.
- Participate in the work involved with the healthy development of the reefs.
- Gain international recognised qualifications and learn skills and knowledge that can be passed on to friends and colleagues about the importance of preserving and saving our seas.
Role of the volunteer
As a volunteer, you will be working to help repair the reef by carrying out soft and hard coral planting. After some initial training, volunteers work in small groups on daily and weekly projects including creating their own masterpiece reef. Lots of the corals are initially planted in tanks on land so non-divers can also be kept busy. Your duties may include helping with a shark survey at the local market, coral planting, reef clean-up, underwater photography to record progress and species, biodiversity, marine life and coral surveys, and database maintenance.
Duties will depend on the needs of the project and the number of volunteers working on the project at the time of your placement.
A dive qualification is not required for this project as we will provide you with your Open Water Qualification at the start of your visit. If you are already a qualified diver, there will be the opportunity for you to acquire further skills with additional courses, and you will be able to help with the deeper dives as well as have more dive hours underwater carrying out conservation activities. Cooking skills (or a willingness to try) will be useful as you are required to assist with mealtime duties during your stay.
WHY JOIN THE PROJECT
To gain an internationally recognised diving qualification
To spend your days in the sunshine
To contribute to local and global efforts to restore coral reefs
You will be based on a beautiful island located in the Celebes Sea in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. You will be about 1 hour from the mainland and will be able to visit shores once a week. You can travel by boat through the beautiful turquoise waters to Semporna where you will be able to top up on your snacks and essential items and perhaps enjoy a Chinese, Malaysian or Indian meal in one of the local restaurants. The island has romantic white sandy beaches, calm waters and shallow reefs. With easy access to 10 other islands, it is a get away from it all destination and provides an amazing opportunity to become immersed in the world of marine conservation.
Details & Costs
- Duration: 2+ weeks
- Cost: £1605 / $2809 for 2 weeks
Check the drop-down menu for additional weeks.
If additional dive course is required, please speak to your advisor about prices.
- Requirements: Age 18+, or children with guardians; non-divers welcome
- Location: Southern Borneo
- Project activities: Coral reef conservation through proactive reef rebuilding, construction, and replanting, sharks, rays, reef fish & invertebrate surveys
- Working hours: Monday-Saturday, 8 hours per day, Sunday is fun day!
- Project Availability: All year-round
- Arrival day: Please speak to a Kaya Advisor as arrivals depend on your experience and duration of your placement
What is included
- Accommodation: Tents under shelter with access to kitchen and bathroom facilities on an almost deserted beach, or shared dorms. £70 pp per week extra to share a twin room
- Food: 3 meals per day – breakfast, lunch and dinner (breakfast cooked by volunteers)
- Transport to the site from Semporna when you arrive and transport back at the end of your project
- Training: Orientation and project induction provided, diving course depend on experience and length of stay
- 2 weeks for non-qualified divers includes PADI Open Water & scientific diver
- 4 weeks includes PADI open water, advanced & scientific diver
- 6 weeks includes PADI open water, advanced, scientific diver & EFR
- 8 weeks includes PADI open water, advanced, scientific diver EFR & Rescue
- Support: 24-hour support
- Excursion Planning: Staff help organise extra dive courses and additional excursions
- Some dive equipment included. Ask your advisor.
What is not included
- Airport pickup and drop off from Tawau Airport (£5/$8 approx. per journey)
- Some dive equipment. Ask your advisor.
- Return journey to Kota Kinabalu
Easy 3-step application process
APPLY ONLINE Click here to apply online and pay your deposit to secure your space on your chosen project. Our advisors will then contact you to guide you through the next steps.
TELEPHONE INTERVIEW Once we’ve received your application, we’ll be in touch to arrange your informal telephone interview with your Kaya Placement Advisor.
GET PREPARED When you’ve been accepted onto your project we’ll send you your Welcome Pack and lots of other helpful information to assist you with preparing for your placement.
HAVE A QUESTION?
We pride ourselves on providing you high quality placement information throughout your application process and whilst on the ground. Connect with us if you have any questions.
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