Monthly Archives: March 2017

Exclusive Shark Cage-Diving Treat for our Volunteers

Every now and again, when the time allows, we are able to fit in a fully exclusive cage-diving trip for our hard-working volunteers.  It is usually very early in the morning, which adds to all the excitement.  Wetsuits, booties and towels were all prepared the night before and the passenger list for the boat was compiled in readiness for the next day.  Early the next morning a group of yawning, sleepy faces all piled into the minibus and headed down to the harbour for a beautiful sunrise and a fun time out on the water!

Our volunteers have coordinators with them from early morning until night-time, so we usually make sure that they all go aboard together.  It is an amazing experience for everyone!  Instead of their usual task of educating and taking care of ecotourism clients, the crew and volunteers get to just relaaaax and fully enjoy the cage-diving experience.  

There is a lot of fun, laughter and joking around, and a really good vibe on board Slashfin, the Marine Dynamics’ vessel.  Our volunteers all get rewarded with some well-deserved time off doing exactly what they are deeply passionate about!

Gray helping one of her teammates out with a nice dry towel


The volunteers said that they found the whole experience really good for bonding with their teammates, coordinators and the boat crew.

Staff and volunteers working together as a team

Volunteers helping to retrieve and stow the anchor away

This time around they were really lucky and got some fantastic great white shark sightings and were able to spend a long time in the cage.  They said that they enjoyed the fact that they knew everyone diving in the cage alongside them, so they felt comfortable and could chat and joke with one another at will.

Ettiene Roets, one of our volunteer coordinators, said that exclusive volunteer dives are “a nice bonding experience for both coordinators and volunteers alike…the exclusives are uniquely fun trips, almost like playing at work”.

Meredith Thornton: IMV Manager

Day tripping with International Marine Volunteers

When the swell’s up or the wind is blowing strongly then the boats can’t go to sea, and volunteers and crew alike get a well-deserved day off!  So in times like these, what is there for a marine volunteer to do?

Firstly we usually take advantage of the opportunity to sleep a little later than normal 😉 but then it’s breakfast time and off we go…road tripping time!

On our most recent trip we started off with a visit to Struisbaai Harbour to check out the local stingrays and the colourful fishing vessels.

A short-tailed stingray at Struisbaai Harbour [Photo credit: Hennie Odendal]

Then we hopped back in the minibus and headed off to L’Gulhas, the southern-most town in Africa!  We visited the spot where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans are said to meet…well, in reality they do mix in this area but, depending on the oceanographic conditions the actual meeting spot fluctuates geographically – but at least we can say “been there done that”!

The spot where the two oceans meet [Photo credit: Hennie Odendal]

While we were there we climbed to the top of the Cape Agulhas lighthouse.  This lighthouse was renovated recently and is looking lovely both inside and out!  It was quite a hectic climb up ladders and stairs but the view and the wind in our hair was definitely worth the effort!  It was an amazing view and we could even see the stone fishtraps that were built by South Africa’s first people – the Strandlopers, or beach walkers, known as the KhoiKhoi.  They were nomadic people who foraged and lived in the coastal zone thousands of years ago.

At the top of the the Cape Agulhas lighthouse – check out the huge prisms for the light that keeps our ships safe at night [Photo credit: Hennie Odendal]

Leaving the southernmost tip of Africa behind us, we headed eastwards towards a picturesque little town called Arniston.  Here we hiked along the beach to visit a huge and beautiful cave called Waenhuiskrans, which means Wagon House Cliff, after the fact that the cave was big enough to park a wagon and a span of oxen in it!

Waenhuiskrans [Photo credit: Hennie Odendal]

We even donned our fins and swam in the Indian Ocean, while back home at the International Marine Volunteer Center when we go kelp diving we actually swim in the Atlantic Ocean 🙂  Kinda fun to know, and for those people who like to tick off lists of cool things they have done, this is definitely one of them!

Meredith Thornton: IMV Manager