How to Join
Please see our Join us page and fill out the online form to contact Katie and Howard who will then get back to you as soon as possible or just drop us an email via our Contact page. We will be happy to field your questions to help start you on your journey to Fiji.
Anyone and can join an expedition providing that you can swim 400m unaided (no time limit). However, volunteers are unable to partake in any diving or water activities until the swim test is completed. It is also mandatory for all volunteers to receive and to pass a dive medical prior to departure to certify their health for the upcoming expedition.
We have hosted volunteers of all ages, nationalities and backgrounds. Although 50% of our volunteers come from the UK, a large percentage come from the USA and Europe and we have also had volunteers from Mexico, China and Russia! Once you book on we will put you in contact with other volunteers from your group prior to departure, thus enabling you to make contact before you leave. Some of the friendships that you make while with us will be lifelong and are one more benefit of taking part in our project. As an additional note, all lectures and courses are in English.
Duration of Stay
Typically volunteers stay on an expedition for six weeks. This does not mean that you are limited to six weeks, only that we find that this is the optimum time to take part in the project as an average. Previous volunteers have stayed anywhere between four and twelve weeks. Also, the longer you stay the more economic the pricing becomes. Volunteer groups arrive in Fiji on a six week rotation and due to the amount of training and study involved, we find six weeks is an ideal duration. So if you intend to stay for only four weeks, be aware that there will be some limit to how much you can contribute during this time if you have no prior SCUBA qualification due to the dive training required.
What Your Expedition Price Includes
Your expedition includes full board (all food and accommodation) for the duration of the expedition, (excluding the break between expeditions if staying for longer than six weeks), PADI dive training, dive equipment (excluding mask, snorkel, wetsuit, fins, dive knife and watch) and all science training.
Additional costs, such as snacks or drinks from the bar and transport, food and accommodation costs for optional excursions to Levuka or Suva mid-expedition, will be incurred by the volunteer. It is recommended that volunteers budget (as a minimum) £40 (Fj$110) per day when traveling and £5 (Fj$14) or less per day when on site. Expenditure whilst at our project site is confined to your Bar bill at the end of the week. One of the benefits of operating at a remote location!
The majority of nationalities do not require a visa or permit to enter the country; however, we would like to advise all volunteers to check before booking. On arrival volunteers of most nationalities are typically given a four month tourist visa, this is a requirement to participate on our expedition. If you intend to stay for longer than four months please contact us for advice.
As a condition of entry all volunteers must also have a passport that is valid for a minimum of six months beyond their departure date and a valid return ticket.
Travel and dive insurance is required by all volunteers participating in our expeditions. The type of travel insurance policy purchased by volunteers is completely up to the volunteer, a basic package should be the minimum. Additional specific dive insurance through the Divers Alert Network (DAN) is compulsory if diving with us.
South Pacific Projects will provide all buoyancy control devices (BCD’s), regulators, SCUBA tanks, weights and weight belts to volunteers. Other essential personal dive equipment such as a mask, snorkel, fins, dive knife, dive torch and a wet suit need to be purchased by the volunteer prior to arrival in Fiji. Volunteers are guaranteed one dive per day, six days per week and this is of course dependent on weather conditions. We normally dive only in the mornings, so afternoons are free to relax at the end of the two to three week training period, or visit the local schools (once a week) or help out with a habitat mapping survey.
All you need to do is get to Fiji’s capital city, Suva, on or before the start date and we will take care of the rest. There are many airlines routed to Fiji, including Virgin Atlantic, Air Pacific, Air New Zealand, Korean Air, Qantas, Pacific Blue and Virgin Australia. The earlier you book with an airline the greater the chance of availability and cheaper prices. Korean Air in particular offers very competitive deals from the UK. Once arrived in Fiji, internal travel is very straightforward; please see our Pre-departure guide for internal travel advice.
Communications whilst in Fiji
There are several mobile phone networks within Fiji, including Vodafone and Digicel, both of which can be used at our remote location. Pre-paid our mobile phones or SIM cards can be purchased in Suva prior to your arrival at our site, so you can keep in touch with your loved ones back home.
Safety with South Pacific Projects
Our expeditions are run with the highest level of safety constantly in mind. All of our employees are professionals of the field and are trained in first aid. The safety of the volunteers while on expedition is the responsibility of all our staff team, though the Expedition Manager and the Dive Manager take the full responsibility for risk assessments, emergency evacuation plans and dive management. Our Expedition Dive Manager also co-ordinates diving safety with us at all times. We all have extensive experience of working in remote environments, our 2011 staff team has worked in more than thrity countries. Our site is well equipped to deal with most emergencies, and if necessary, we can have you taken to a Private Hospital in Suva within 100 minutes.
What does science training involve
With South Pacific Projects you can be assured that our training programme has been tried and tested (our very first volunteer group trialled all the different methods we wanted to use) and is tailored specifically to the research that we do alongside our Project partners. The teaching is a combination of lectures, presentations, workshops, games and in-water species identification. We make learning fun and are constantly adapting our training methods to suit successive volunteer groups. The more you put into the learning, the more you will get out of your experience. The South Pacific Projects team in Fiji hold relevant Undergraduate and Postgraduate Marine Biology/Science Degrees and have a lot of field experience in tropical environments. Our Research Advisor, Ruth Kamrowski,is currently studying a PhD in Australia. We never forget that as well as studying, you also want to go diving, meet the local communityand have a drink with your fellow volunteers on the beach in the evening and above all enjoy Fiji! We are well experienced in finding the right balance of work and play for groups.
What research will volunteers be doing
We pride ourselves on our credibility, and it follows that we should be able to tell you, the volunteer EXACTLY what your contribution to the project is. We will do this when you arrive and inform you throughout the expedition the tangible benefits of your contribution. You will produce relevant data that will become the basis of our research reports leading to more sustainable fisheries and long-term protection of biodiversity in our region. Not only will you be surveying previously undived areas of reef, but helping the local community by providing relevant information that empowers them to conserve and protect their natural resources.
Please consult your doctor or a travel clinic about recommended inoculations for Fiji prior to your departure (some inoculations require more than several weeks to take effect). The standard inoculations that you should ask your Doctor about before your trip are:
• Polio, tetanus and BCG (Tuberculosis)
• Yellow fever
• Hepatitis A
• Hepatitis B