Tag Archives: volunteers

Kayleigh’s Story

The African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary

Nearly a year ago to the day, I arrived in Gansbaai South Africa. For the next 5 weeks I was going to be helping out on the Great White Shark cage diving vessel, SlashFin, with Marine Dynamics and International Marine Volunteers. I didn’t know at the time that for the first time ever, the Great White Sharks would disappear for a prolonged period of time and that I would actually end up spending my time at the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary.

APSS as it is known takes in sick/injured birds and abandoned chicks and helps rehabilitate them back into the wild. (African Penguins are endangered and experts do believe that if nothing is done, they will be extinct in the wild by 2030.) It’s also a really important place to me and helping out there is what started a new found love for penguins and birds, it also made me realise that working with birds is what I wanted to do with my life. A day at APSS would involve cleaning, cutting fish tails and fillets, laundry and feeding. When I returned back to England I continued to volunteer with birds at Birdworld in Farnham, yet really wanted to get more hands on experience back in South Africa… I left my job and returned. Yet this time I wanted to give back to the place that taught me so much, APSS.


I decided I was going to raise money for APSS. I let my work friends decide how I would go about doing this. They decided that I would get blown of the side of a mountain, yes paragliding – I can honestly say now that I will never do this again! The most terrifying part was when the guy told me that if I needed to run to gain air then I would have to run off the side of the mountain! The incline that you are on is enough to terrify anyone that has a fear of heights, no matter how small. All in the name of fundraising.

My target was £300 and as the days and months rolled by the total kept creeping up. I actually managed to triple my target and raise £940!!! Again I would like to thank every single person that donated, plus family and friends. Without their kindness it wouldn’t have been possible! I didn’t do anything really, it was down to everyone else. I was able to give back to the place that changed everything for me and I will be forever grateful.

This is me back in action in Kleinbaai, Gansbaai at a recent penguin release – for more information regarding penguin rehabilitation and conservation visit the Dyer Island Conservation Trust website.

Kayleigh Hawkins
International Marine Volunteer

 

Mandela Day

Mandela Day was a day spent with children, the elderly and the less fortunate. A day we just had to take 67 minutes of our time and give back to the world, but the International Marine Volunteers gave an entire day, from collecting clothes to gathering fire wood.

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After having their coffee the volunteers started gathering wood and sorting the clothes they have collected.

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They then headed towards Blompark, to pay the elderly and the kids a visit. To the elderly the volunteers placed blankets on their beds and donated food they collected. For the kids it was socks, hats, clothes, gloves and of course crayons to make life just a little bit more colourful. Then the volunteers loaded a trailer with wood to give the community a way to cook their food and warm their homes.

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This would never have been possible if it wasn’t for the Dyer Island Conservation Trust, Dyer Island Cruises and Marine Dynamics. Together we all made a difference in many lives of the community, by just adding a little bit of colour and warmth.

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Breaching Trip

Getting up this morning was no problem for the volunteers. They boarded Slashfin at 07:15 with smiles on their faces. Who wouldn’t smile if you were going on a breaching trip, I mean what is better than “flying” sharks. Leaving the harbour the volunteers got to see a proper South African sunrise, and I think it’s safe to say that the African sky is beyond compare.

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Approaching Geyser Rock we threw our decoy line into the water and slowly started towing the decoy behind Slashfin. We patiently waited for our first shark, when all of a sudden a Great White flew up into the sky. This was the perfect way of showing the volunteers how strong and fast these sharks are. We headed back towards the harbour with volunteers still in awe. Just a perfect start to shark filled day.

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Sea Safety

Huddle position in group

Huddle position in group

Volunteers are really important to us and we know they take chances out there on the water. So we felt like we needed to give them a little extra “something” to take with them out on the water.

 

Team Building

Team Building

Don a life jacket

Don a life jacket

 

We started by giving them a safety lecture, which was done by Pieter Du Toit and Klara Munnik. This just gave them more information on where to find the safety equipment on the boat and what to do in case of an emergency. Then we headed to the pool, where Klara did the practical with the volunteers in the. The volunteers learnt how to don a life jacket in a minute’s, what to do in case of a fire, what to do in case of “man overboard” and also what to do when they should abandon ship. Thanks for being a great group of volunteers and we take our hats of to the crew of Sharktasia (the name the volunteers gave the vessel they jumped off of) and Matt Davies, you made a great captain. Who knew safety training could be this fun.

 

Sam swimming in huddle position

Sam swimming in huddle position

Huddle position in group

Huddle position in group

Ina staying in the huddle position

Ina staying in the huddle position