For shark-lovers, volunteering at our Eco-tourism partner, Marine Dynamics is the perfect way of getting up close and personal withcarcharodon carcharias, more commonly known as the great white shark. Every trip on Slashfin is unique thanks to the abundance of great whites that come to the surface, while unknowingly putting on a show for tourists. Thanks to the knowledgeable team of marine biologists employed by Marine Dynamics and the experienced crew on the boat, each visit to Kleinbaai has taught me something new about great whites, as well as various other marine species, such as whales, dolphins, and the importance of conservation.
Marine Dynamic’s volunteers have several duties that vary from day to day. Every volunteer is taught how to record data for shark research and take fin identification photos in order to assist the biologists. The perk to having this job is that you can often catch the perfect photo when a great white breaches for the bait or seal decoy. Volunteers also prepare the boat on a daily basis, assist clients in and out of the cage, and some days help “chum” which is a messy yet crucial part of the experience.
In addition to Slashfin, volunteers are fortunate to board the research vessel named Lwazi. It provides an incredible once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to tag and track sharks in the bay. Volunteers gain real-time information about the patterns and behaviors of great whites that is not available anywhere else in the world. The program is open to individuals of all ages from around the world. If you have any interest in sharks and conservation, you need to participate in this program.
Along with all the work, participants also should expect to have a lot of fun. Volunteers stay together in a house close to the harbor. Some activities include braais, horseback riding, abalone tours and side trips to wine country. You will make great friends and lasting memories.
“Volunteering for Marine Dynamics is the best experience of my life. The program provided me with first class learning and lifetime connections in the field. The experiences, people, and sharks will always be in my heart.”
– Tami Kaschke
North Platte, NE
“After arriving at the Marine Dynamics volunteer program for the first time in January 2011, I never imagined that I would be returning three times within the next four months. Working with great whites everyday has been a life changing experience. Although I initially came only for these amazing animals, it’s the sharks, the knowledgeable people, fun locals, and overall South African vibe that keep me coming back.”
Red Hook, NY