Tag Archives: whales

International Marine Volunteers’ first father-daughter team has a blast with great white sharks!

We were very excited when Craig and Kate Cameron signed up for 5 weeks as volunteers with International Marine Volunteers, assisting Marine Dynamics, Dyer Island Cruises, the Dyer Island Conservation Trust and the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary.  They were our first father-daughter team and they had a wonderful experience together!

Kate said, “I am very excited to be involved with Marine Dynamics as a volunteer. It has been a dream of mine for a while to spend some time learning more about white sharks in South Africa. It was even more incredible to be able to spend time here with my father for Father’s Day. He was very excited to come and see the sharks and the whales. There is truly no better way to spend my time off than with my dad living a dream with International Marine Volunteers!”

Besides for the time helping and educating tourists and cage-diving aboard the amazing vessel, Slashfin, Kate also teamed up with some of the Dyer Island Conservation Trust staff on a couple of occasions to assist with their environmental education programme.  Kate lent her own special brand of energy and way of interacting with the young learners and they just loved her to bits!  This truly is a talent of hers 🙂

Whilst here they also volunteered at the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary, Birkenhead Animal Rescue Center, participated in beach clean-ups, made fishing line bins and visited the penguin colony at Stony Point to name but a few of the many activities.

Craig and Kate Cameron

Craig told us that, “For at least three years, my daughter Kate said that she’d like to go to South Africa to see the breaching Great White Sharks.  We started planning the trip for a week or two until we found the volunteer program with Marine Dynamics…I couldn’t ask for a better memory than to spend this amazing time here with her.  I’m thoroughly enjoying the water, the volunteers and of course the sharks.  Kate is even more thrilled with the sharks and her new friends in the group of volunteers.”

 

Craig was a wonderful team member – he was just so comfortable in his own space and a real pleasure to be around. He put all the youngsters to shame by staying fit and running regularly to Danger Point lighthouse and back! Whales have a special place in his heart and he thoroughly enjoyed spending time aboard Dream Catcher, our whale watching and eco-tour vessel.

It was lots of fun and a real privilege to have both Craig and Kate at IMV, and we are looking forward to having them return again soon!

This just goes to show that volunteering is not only for young adults having a vacation or gap year, but for people of all ages – it is a really healthy, fun-filled family activity too!  We even have someone joining us who is in their 70’s a little later this year…volunteering is for everyone – you just have to be flexible, easy-going and ready for adventure!

Keen to join us too?  Just drop us a line at volunteers@sharkwatchsa.com and we will send you all the information that you need.

Meredith Thornton

IMV Manager

Masakane School Visit

Today, four of our volunteers accompanied Marlette and Christoff Longland and Sanchia Chivell to Masakhane Primary School with the goal of teaching students about whales. We stopped into two different third grade classes during their English lesson, hoping to provide some practice for the mainly Xhosa-speaking students. Though there were over 40 students in each classroom, the students were incredibly polite, standing up and addressing us in unison (in English!) as we arrived.

After some introductions were made, Marlette began to tell the story of Wally and Will, two Southern Right Whales making their way along the coast of South Africa. Throughout their journey, Wally and Will saw many interesting land animals and excitedly adopted their characteristics, only to discover that they could no longer be happy whales and breach or spout. The story concludes with Wally and Will shedding their adopted features and realizing they were perfect just the way they were. The students listened with rapt attention and happily participated in the storytelling, tacking on the features of the land animals as the whales adopted them.

We then handed out crayons and outlines of Southern Right Whales, which the students coloured with gusto. Each designed their whale differently; some grabbed the brightest colours they could find, while some patiently waited for the blue and black crayons so they could colour their whales “accurately.”

Amidst a flurry of colouring, we made our exit, leaving behind the crayons, colouring materials, a birthday calendar, and a new appreciation of whales. We promised a return visit and to bring more information about marine life and conservation.

We would like to thank Masakhane Primary School for hosting us, and the Dyer Island Conservation Trust and Volkswagen South Africa for their sponsorship. Without them none of today’s activities would be possible…- Anna, Alex, Connie, and Haley (Marine Volunteer)

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