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01869 338890

Caribbean Reef Conservation project in Belize with PoD

Emma volunteered at PoD's Caribbean Reef Conservation project in Belize and learnt to dive whilst on the project

Emma diving in Belize with PoD"Diving was a completely new experience for me, I'd never even snorkelled before, but after the two weeks on the island in Belize, it was a part of me and I'll definitely be adding to my dive log book - hopefully for many years to come. I'm buzzing about this experience because there isn't one negative. Best decision ever made.

Volunteering changes you for the better. You experience cultures you otherwise wouldn't and you really appreciate what being a human being on this special planet is all about. Everyone should do it at least once - even if you aren't confident about travelling, with the support of a company as professional as PoD, you will gain confidence and open up a whole other world of travel and experience for yourself.

I came to learn to dive and to take part in as much conservation as I could during my time as a volunteer. And that I did. Polly, the project manager, takes her tuition seriously and you get a first rate qualification from her. I went from barely being able to carry out the first confined dive tasks on the first day - to gaining my Open Water at the end of the first week and my Advanced Open Water at the end of the second week. It was a massive learning curve. And I genuinely never felt rushed, or out of my depth (excuse the pun). Polly is also very patient and by the The reef site in Belize where Emma learned to dive with PoDsecond week I was taking underwater photographs and joining in the underwater races, without my fins on. Learning was an amazing buzz and one that got better and better with each dive, as I became more proficient and was able to appreciate just what an amazing world was around me. As a first timer I don't have a reference of comparison for the dive sites, but if near perfect visibility, stunning coral, an abundance of fish and sea life and the fact we never saw one other diver or even dive boat ever is enough to go on - I'd say I was pretty lucky to have this as my first experience.

The dives are planned as a group in the morning, so everyone knows when to be ready and what kit to take. During the day there is time to kick back on one of the hammocks and read, especially good when you are taking the open water or rescue course as there is plenty of this to do! We had three brilliant and filling meals a day in the social area of the main building. The research depends on the time of year, but may include Fish ID, Reef Check Coral Watch, Lobster surveys, Conch surveys and there was also plenty of time for fun dives after the research.

Emma encountered this reef shark while surveying the reef in Belize with PoDIt was so rewarding having a job to do whilst diving. It made me a better diver, as I was concentrating on the task in hand and not over thinking my buoyancy! It was also really special to dive in such a remote location - we never saw any other divers. It felt as if we were genuinely part of a secret world and not an invasion in it.

I luckily came across PoD from a Google search and the company's professionalism showed straight away from the content and information on the website. I would definitely recommend PoD. I had no problems at all and felt safe in their hands. Everything exceeded expectations for me."

For more information on this project please see:

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Comment made: Monday 21st May 2012

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