Dates: 20 December 2021-30 March 2022
Naucrates, an Italian NGO, has been running a Conservation Project on sea turtles, mangrove forest and coral reef at Phra Thong Island since 1996, in collaboration with the Phuket Marine Biological Center (PMBC). The project is registered at the National Research Council in Thailand.
It is not only sea turtles that Naucrates protects although this is their main focus. Over the years Naucrates has created many activiies in order to study and help conserve the nature on the island. Naucrates staff, interns and volunteers have helped to study and conserve mangrove, coral reefs, sea grass beds, beaches and birds. As well as this, they have supported local communities such as education, conservation awareness, small scale business.
The project team is composed of Naucrates staff, interns, volunteers and local members. The size of the team varies, according to the number of volunteers per turn, but the maximum team size is 12 people (there might be an exception for special occasions). Because of the nature of our bookings, there might be a possibility that you will be working as part of a very small group – and that could mean quite a few early mornings!
Volunteer activities are scheduled daily, according to the program of the season, depending on the different projects being undertaken, plus the weather. Nature is unpredictable and sometimes plans must be changed, due to unforeseen circumstances. Please understand that staff are doing their best to make sure everyone gets to carry out a variety of project activities, but sometimes unexpected things happen and plans don’t always work out!
It is expected of volunteers and interns to follow the lead of the staff and work as requested on project activities. There are no “free days” on the project, but typically there is plenty of time to enjoy the Island and different tours that there are on offer.
The project team will focus on several activities during the season:
- Tourist awareness and eco-tourism: The Naucrates team delivers turtle talks to tourists, as well as organising beach cleaning activities and tours of our museum.
- Beach cleaning project. Data on beach debris will be collected.
- Impact of tourism on the island, An evaluation of the number of resorts and their position on the island.
- Sea turtle monitoring: Sea turtles usually nest on the island from December to February, with their eggs hatching in February-March. All beaches will be monitored daily in order to find and protect any nests we might be lucky enough to find. Nests will be protected until they hatch. (The number of turtle nests have dramatically decreased over the years, so we can’t guarantee that during your volunteer period you will witness a nest, or any hatchlings).
- Reef activities (wherever possible)
- Seagrass monitoring program: Volunteers can join in to help monitor the sea grass beds with a researcher based in one of the villages. This activity takes place according to his plans and is dependent on the low tide.
- Wildlife surveys and monitoring: Depending on funding and plans made for each season, there may be additional wildlife surveys and monitoring. For example; reef surveys, bird monitoring, dolphin monitoring, tortoise surveys, Ebirds and i-naturalist development
- Interaction with the local community: Regular visits to Lion’s village, where the community conservation centre (museum) is located, will be organized. Lunch and a night’s homestay can also be arranged.
- Environmental education: Environmental education activities in the schools, whenever possible.
You will follow a scientific and conservation research programme, coordinated by project staff. You will help in monitoring the beaches (15 km) on Phra Thong and Ra Islands during early morning and sometimes during the day. You will also conduct behavioural observation on turtles feeding in water during the day.
Additional activities can be planned for the period of your stay, for example, the reef survey, which consists of snorkelling along transects, taking care of gardens or restoring the Community Conservation Centre with a new coat of paint, beach cleaning, fund raising, planting.
You don’t need to have any experience of these activities, as training will be given to volunteers on their arrival.
The following description of a daily routine should be considered as a general example. There will sometimes be changes, due to the nature of the project. In fact, we should bear in mind that we are working on wild endangered species, in a foreign country in South-East Asia.
- You will work in shifts and in teams (the size of the team will depend upon volunteer numbers). One day you might undertake activities that you will not carry out the following day, There is early morning (about at 5.30 am) monitoring, walking one of the 3 beaches (5 -10km long, about 2-3 hours walk).
- Around 9.00, weather condition measurements.
- Late morning (around 9.30): ‘Observations from the rock’. Two volunteers will go up on the rock near GBB resort to observe the sea, looking for sea turtles swimming in the water, dolphins or other animals.
- If you are not on shift for ‘observation from the rock’ you might have free time for swimming or walking on the beach.
- Once or twice a week, we take a boat out and check Ko Ra beaches. Some of the beaches are monitored by walking and this requires a jump from the boat and swimming ashore and back to the boat.
- 13.00 – 14.00 Lunch
- Afternoon: Various small projects
- 14:30. The second turn of ‘observations from the rock”. Two volunteers will go up on the rock near GBB resort to observe the sea, looking for sea turtles swimming in the water, dolphins or other animals.
- At 19:00 Dinner
- Other activities to be planned on site might be: preparing materials for the school/monitoring/displays, path creating/clearing, conduct guided tour for visitors, bird watching, turtle talks, reef survey etc.
Activities are organized in daily schedules and shifts. The work is not structured from 9.00 to 17.00; volunteers should be flexible and adapt to working a few hours, having some time free and then working another two hours. You will have plenty of time to enjoy the beauty of the island.
Volunteer contribution per 2 weeks is 855€. After the 2 week period, the fee for any additional week is 395€. The volunteer contribution includes three meals a day (drinks not included) and accommodation. You must arrange your own travel insurance and cover your travel expenses to the island (flight, boat, bus, car, etc).
What’s included in the price:
- Pre-arranged volunteer placement
- Boat transfer from Khura Buri to KPT and back
- Three meals a day (vegetarian option available)
- Drinking water
- Pre-departure and local support
- Orientation and training in field work
- Volunteer coordination
- Participation in local activities
- Volunteer information package
- One year Naucrates’ membership
Not included in the price:
- Other travel expenses to reach the island (flight, car, bus etc.)
- Personal insurance
- Visa if needed
- Local excursions
We also accept long term volunteers and interns for specific project placements. For more information, write to firstname.lastname@example.org
Previous experience is not required; however, you must be willing to work hard as the research requires long walks (up to 15 kms) in hot and humid conditions. You also need to be friendly and communicative, able to work in a group and to live within a small Thai community.
You must be 18 years old if you participate in the project without your parents. In some cases, however, we do accept volunteers aged 17 years, but in this case consent from parents is required.
We accept families with children above 8 years old. Please inquire for special prices for families.
You will be on a remote tropical island and need to be prepared to live without night life, shops, television and other western comforts.
Any health issues must be communicated before booking. There is no hospital on the Island.
You are required to have a travel insurance that covers possible accidents and health care fees.
You are expected to respect Thai culture whilst on the project. You might find Thai daily habits different from yours, but please consider that we are not all the same and we should respect the culture of the country where we are staying. The exchange of cultures and different ways of seeing things enrich us and brings positive effects.
Volunteers are kindly asked to respect the local community culture and religion, by wearing suitable clothes and covering up shoulders and upper legs when in the village. While monitoring beaches or out of the village you can wear swimwear and shorts.
Dates: 20 December 2021-30 March 2022