Travel to the crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean as a a member of an expedition and work on critical marine conservation projects amongst the beautiful islands of the Seychelles.
You will contribute towards various conservation-related surveys aimed at providing data to the local government on coral reef research, invertebrate surveys, whale shark migration observations, in-water turtle surveys and turtle nesting research.
Learning how to identify fish and coral in the Indian Ocean; visiting and diving amongst deserted tropical islands; taking your PADI Advanced and PADI Coral Reef Research Diver courses, taking other extra dive courses at heavily discounted rates with local dive shops, enjoying fun-dives and searching for the incredible ‘mega-fauna’ in the area, such as whale sharks, manta rays, and dolphins; developing the techniques you need to survey coral reefs,exploring different dive sites, visiting breeding areas for the hawksbill and green turtle, and endangered giant tortoises; having an amazing and unique adventure amongst some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.
Scuba Diving Requirements
You will spend the majority of your time on this expedition scuba diving and as such you need to be qualified to at least PADI Open Water, or equivalent. For non-divers wishing to attend, we can recommend local dive centers that will help you qualify before your intended start date.
We are always looking for enthusiastic and dedicated people to join our team. This expedition offers qualifying and high-performing volunteers the chance to stay on the expedition for a longer duration on a GVI Scholarship free of charge and as part of the staff team in the field. If you would like to work towards a field career and make the very most of your time abroad, you might want to work towards a place on a GVI Scholarship. Successful scholars may find themselves offered full time employment with GVI, and many of our current staff have come through this route. Contact us for more information!
Please note, the awarding of scholarships is at the sole discretion of GVI and may be offered immediately after the completion of your program or at a later date.
GVI is real volunteering
Our projects are constantly evolving according to the needs on the ground at any given time. All the information displayed here will give you an overall feel for the project, but you should be prepared for any changes in the field when you travel. An evolving project means that we can constantly meet the needs and requirements of our partners, who dictate the work that we do. The way it should be.
Depending on weather conditions, we aim for everyone to have 1 or 2 dives/snorkels each day, 5 days a week, during which you will conduct underwater surveys after completion of your training. Besides diving, you should expect to be involved in additional projects and activities, including training sessions, marine debris surveys and removal, environmental education session or alternative income training, depending on local and project needs. You will also be required to complete base duties.
At the end of each day you will eat, relax and socialise with the rest of the team as you recount your sightings from below the surface. Life on the base will be simple island living, sleeping in basic dormitory style accommodation with shared bathrooms as well as sharing cooking and cleaning duties around base.
Weekends will be yours to explore the beautiful surrounding area and islands as you immerse yourself in the Creole culture of the Seychelles.
The aims and efforts of the expedition have been agreed upon in conjunction with the Seychelles Ministry of Environment, local government agencies and non-governmental organisations to include:
- Coral reef monitoring and recovery research
- Whale shark migration observations
- Invertebrate fish surveys
- Sea turtle nesting surveys
- Plankton sampling research
- Helping to train local partners
- Development of an environmental education and awareness program
You should keep in mind that projects conducted are dependent on the season and the priorities always remain with our local working partners.
How this project makes a difference:
With substantial contributions from our partners, we are the leading marine data collection organisation in the Seychelles.
Much of this data is used by other organisations in the Seychelles. For example, the Seychelles government relies on this data to show an accurate picture of the overall health of the local coral reefs when setting and creating new management policies.
Overall, my experience in the Seychelles was amazing. Of course there were some rough times but that happens in life and it’s important to learn to overcome challenges. My first two weeks were the...
Overall, my experience in the Seychelles was amazing. Of course there were some rough times but that happens in life and it’s important to learn to overcome challenges. My first two weeks were the hardest; I got sick prior to arriving in the Seychelles and spent all my time on Curieuse studying the fish species with the help of flashcards. It was challenging but I decided that since I was in one of the most beautiful countries in the world I wasn’t going to let it get me down too much. Before I knew it, I was able to dive and I can say that it was worth the wait. I’m a huge turtle fan and I was so excited to see a hawksbill sea turtle on my very first dive.
Due to the circumstances at the time, I was able to stay on both GVI bases in the Seychelles. They are both very basic and rudimentary but that adds to the whole experience! I really enjoyed the whole program, it was a chance for me to get away from my busy city life and meet people who appreciate and have the same values as I do. The members of the staff were extremely supportive and the rest of the volunteers were friendly and overall awesome people.
I would recommend it especially to people who aren’t used to travel alone, and who still need someone to get the most important things organized. GVI offers you a good infrastructure and a helping...
I would recommend it especially to people who aren’t used to travel alone, and who still need someone to get the most important things organized. GVI offers you a good infrastructure and a helping hand with everything you need.
I love the marine life expedition cause I think it really makes sense to educate people and to increase the awareness about the endangerment of marine life! I only would recommend 1 or 2 changes in the pre education so working could start earlier for the volunteers to get more output for everyone.
But I definitely had/have and will recommend GVI to my friends.
I had a brilliant time, the staff were really friendly and welcoming and I loved all the diving/Coco de Mer surveys and turtle walks. there was so much variety and a lot to learn - I would definitely go back. This experience has made me change my career to what I love and I’m currently now looking for marine research/science work throughout the world. The GVI experience has made me reconsider what I want from life.
As we approached the beach Neil (GVI staff) pointed out the tracks up the sandy beach towards the brush and our excitement rose. Charlotte and I quietly celebrated the possibility of the first sighting on this phase of a turtle nesting.
We stayed for over an hour until the turtle was finished laying her eggs and started to wiggle back and forth, diligently kicking up sand to bury her nest. Charlotte and I were ecstatic to have witnessed something most people would never get a chance to see. My only thought is how amazing the Seychelles and this experience continue to be each and every day.
Volunteering with GVI not only allows you to participate on programs assisting disadvantaged communities or endangered ecosystems but it also offers wonderful opportunities to travel in the local area in your down time or further afield either before or after your program. Many decide to travel after volunteering, solidifying the lifetime friendships established on program.
Our long term field staff are a great source of advice and are here to help you make the most of your time abroad. Remember to ask about discounts on local activities and side trips through your association with GVI. Our field teams have helped us put together the following information on trips and travel options in Seychelles!
Included Side Trips
During the expedition, we will usually organise a trip to a local waterfall for you to relax after all your hard work on surveys. The last days of an expedition are usually dedicated to taking volunteers to their favourite dive sites to dive just for fun, having completed all the survey work.
Optional Side Trips
At the weekends many volunteers head to Beau Vallon Bay for a well-earned break. The bay is the main tourist area of Mahe with a lovely long beach, hotels and guest houses, shops and restaurants to suit all tastes. The dive shops in the area offer many options for all diving needs.
Most people would agree that sitting at The Coral Strand Hotel bar with a cool drink and watching the sun set behind Silhouette Island is an experience not to be missed. Volunteers may have the opportunity to visit the islands of Praslin and La Digue. Praslin is home to the Vallee de Mai (a world heritage site) thought by early explorers to be the original “Garden of Eden”, that is home of the famous Coco de Mer palm tree that produces the huge double nut famous for its provocative shape. La Digue is the picture perfect tropical island, small and intimate with quaint guest houses and arguably the most beautiful beach in the world - Anse Source d’Argent.
Victoria is the capital city of the Seychelles, the smallest capital city in the world. Volunteers often visit to catch up at internet cafes, do a little shopping, or visit the market to soak up the local atmosphere.
Public transport is cheap and frequent and all parts of Mahe can be explored easily by catching a bus. Many volunteers spend happy times bouncing around the island roads on buses taking in the beautiful scenery whilst enjoying the company of locals going about their daily business.
Further Travelling Opportunities
With 115 islands in the Seychelles group stretching over 800 miles, the possibilities of exploring this tropical paradise are endless. The inner-islands, situated closer to Mahe are easily accessible by fast ferry. Praslin, La Digue, Silhouette, Felicity and Sister, to name a few, all have their own unique charms with hotels and guest houses within most people’s price range.
The outer islands such as Desroche, Bird, Dennis, Farquar and the Amirantes group are harder to get to and can only be reached by small plane or charter yacht. Most have small exclusive resorts which can be extremely expensive, but the marine environment and bird life at these outposts of civilization have been barely marked by the hand of man, and as such are in a pristine condition rarely found anywhere in the world today.
Build Your Program
- Pre-departure support and discounted services
- 24-hour emergency phone
- Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
- Arrival orientation
- Long term experienced staff
- Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
- All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
- Welcome meeting
- Location orientation
- All necessary project training by experienced staff
- All necessary project equipment and materials
- 24-hour in-country support
- National Park fees and permits
- PADI Coral Reef Research Diver Distinctive Speciality
- Coral reef ecology
- First Aid & CPR training
- Community work workshop
- Use of O2 equipment workshop
- Diving compressor training workshop
- PADI Advanced Open Water
What's Not Included
- Medical and travel insurance
- Visa costs
- Personal kit
- Additional drinks and gratuities
- Extra local excursions
- International and domestic airport taxes
- Airport transfers
- Airport Pickup
- PADI Open Water
- Introduction to TEFL