Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme: Giants Beneath the Waves


The Article That Made Teja

whale shark volunteering | swimming with whale sharks | Dhigurah Maldives | Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme | MWSRPNot long ago I went to the Maldives to volunteer for the Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme. It was an incredible two weeks, learning about the great work that they do, with the nicest people both in the program, and on the island. Near the end, the wonderful people at MWSRP asked some of us to contribute an article each to their blog.

I had not written for recreation for a long time. It was not easy to write recreationally, with a full time job in the sciences and in a corporation. The two require two very different modes of thinking that are difficult to switch between, and there was just too little spare time for me to do that. After a while I simply never thought of it again. Not even when I became lucky enough to eventually have that spare time, many years later.

It was in writing this article for MWSRP that reminded me how much fun it was to write.

And so, Teja on the Horizon was the result.

Hopefully it is also fun to read!

 

Feature image credit: Clara Vaimiti

Gergasi Di Balik Gelombang/Giants Beneath the Waves, by Nuraini Arsad

#island
#nature
#volunteering

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9 Responses

  1. Sandy N Vyjay says:

    Researching the whale-sharks sounds so fascinating. It must be a very enlightening experience to study about the underwater life of these creatures. Of course I understand that this is not all fun, lots and lots of hard work would go into it.

  2. This is so great. I actually live in the Maldives part time – my partner is Maldivian and I’ve taught English there too. Swimming with Whale sharks is still the number 1 thing I really want to do here – I still haven’t done it! Your time volunteering sounds so incredible. What a special location to do something like that in. Maybe it also opened your eyes to some of the environmental problems in the Maldives right now too?! Nice to connect.
    Kristie (you.theworld.wandering)

    • Teja says:

      You do?? I’m going again end of this month! One of the volunteers from last year applied to be a field co-ordinator this year and got the job. I’m visiting her :) Yes I can see a bit of the tourism pressure – still not nearly as bad as in Malaysian marine parks. And I spoke to some people on Dhiffushi, they said the govt is in talks with India for an agreement to process plastics waste. On Dhiffushi I asked the guesthouse ppl to give me rainwater, same as what they would drink themselves, rather than bottled. I tried in Dhigurah but the resort wouldn’t do it.

  3. ashley says:

    It is always nice to be inspired to write. I find I struggle from time to time with motivation. I do think that big experiences can really help but sometimes it is being asked/required to do it that really jumpstarts my writing. I’m jealous you were a part of this research, and in such a stunning place!

    • Teja says:

      :) A girl who was on the same batch just got a job to be the field co-ordinator for this year’s season, and I’ll probably visit again – as a guest this time :)

  4. Jessica says:

    That sounds like a really cool experience! I have never volunteered for a trip yet but I think volunteering with animals would be the way to go for me. There are so many places that are sketchy when it comes to volunteering with children etc. I think I would be scared of the whale sharks, though! lol

    • Teja says:

      Oh they’re very gentle. When they surface, they swim fairly slowly. And they eat plankton, so it’s very safe. They sort of open their mouth and filter feed plankton at the surface. At first I was also worried I wasn’t a strong enough swimmer to keep up but I needn’t have worried. But this particular program is probably not suitable for younger children. Definitely teenager and above.

  5. Monica says:

    Whale sharks are really incredible, it’s amazing you got to participate in researching them! I didn’t realize how little we really know about them, and how many questions are still open. Thank you for sharing!

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