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Welcome to the Baywatch Marine Conservation Project,

based in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

The aims of the Baywatch Project are to:

  • Educate the community, especially the youth, about the marine environment and the need for its conservation and protection.
  • Assist organisations responsible for marine law enforcement and marine research.
  • Undertake our own independent research and conservation projects, all funded by Raggy Charters Marine-Eco Cruises.

CURRENT AND ONGOING PROJECTS 

Beach Cleanups and Plastic Waste:

We aim to focus on stopping the production and distribution of the plastic waste in addition to  picking it up

Education:

We aim to educate SA’s youth of the importance of marine life and the effects of plastic pollution

Live Shark Project:

Uncontrolled long-line fishing is killing off our smaller shark species, a vital food source for large sharks. We have the Government’s attention with this project and await resolution

Southern Hemisphere Humpback Whale Migration Route:

Bringing awareness to all on the migration and working together with Marine establishments along the African Coast and the World Cetacean Alliance

STS Bunkering vs Endangered African Penguin:

The endangered African penguin is under threat of extinction and careless oil spills caused by ship to ship bunkering has to stop.

Tree Planting:

Raggy Charters prides itself in ‘putting back’, in order to eliminate our carbon emissions we plant at least one tree for every cruise we do, we are now going to get our guests involved and they too become actively part of this project.

Other:

Books written by Owner and Founder Lloyd Edwards, our Annual Calendar funding conservation and our Annual Whale Festival educating on Marine Life

VOLUNteering for the Baywatch project

As far as we know, the Baywatch Project is the only marine volunteering project in the world where volunteers have the opportunity of seeing the big 7 animals (Lion, Elephant, Leopard, Buffalo, Rhino, Great White Shark, Southern Right Whale) in one day. We are the only organisation in Algoa Bay with a whale and dolphin watching license, which allows us close encounters with these wonderful animals.

Unlike many other marine operations, ours is owner-run and managed by a small team. We are a compact, yet vibrant company driven by our passion to ensure the safety and preservation of our marine heritage. Our volunteers are needed to help with the actual running of the business on a daily basis. This will include driving and maintaining the two motorised catamarans, providing the guests with information on marine animals and assisting with research projects.

We generally run only one marine tour per day, the morning session, putting as much personalized attention and detail into it as possible. Besides, the afternoons are usually not conducive to charters and we feel that we cannot give our best trying to cram more than one cruise into a day. We would hate having to cut an interesting excursion short because there was an afternoon group waiting to be taken out at a specific time.

During the cruises we collect information on the cetaceans we encounter, using photo identification (which is where we need your help), which gets added to the national database. This important information can then be used by researchers, who are still learning about their habits, numbers and migration patterns. This vital data collection is needed to conserve our marine animals in the long term.

During your stay with us you will also learn about various aspects of the marine environment, which you can then pass onto others and help to educate them about the importance of conserving both our coasts and oceans. The content of our many whale lectures is not only gleaned from other people's research but also from our own extensive observations made during cruises.

We are also the first organization to produce a marine photographic and textual guide to the marine animals of Algoa Bay. This is a 'first-of-its-kind' publication in South Africa, dealing with a specific bay along our coast. The book "Scenes From Algoa Bay" is available to order online by emailing fogartys@global.co.za.

The course program intensifies during the months of July through to November, during our peak 'whale season', when migratory humpback and Southern right whales visit our region. This allows volunteers as much exposure to whales and dolphins as possible.

TYPICAL WORKING DAYS FOR VOLUNTEERS OF THE BAYWATCH PROJECT

Volunteers will be required to assist with the day to day runnings of Raggy Charters, including data recording during cruises, as well as current research projects as previously mentioned.

In addition to what the guest lecturers will cover, the following topics will also be presented:

  • The Physical Marine Environment: introduction, waves, major South African currents, rip currents, upwelling, sediment transport, tides, and changes in sea level.
  • Rocky Shores: the marine environment, geographic distribution of animals along our coastline, wave action and intertidal communities, effects of tides, biological interactions, food and space, zonation, and exploitation by man and pollution.
  • The Ecology of Sandy Beaches: introduction, physical conditions, the interstitial system, macro fauna, phytoplankton, zooplankton, and food webs.
  • Estuarine Ecology: evolution of estuaries, physical processes in estuaries, biological processes in estuaries, and ecology of selected species.
  • Coastal Conservation: the philosophy of coastal conservation, reserves, the management of exploited species, and the management of recreational activities.
  • Cetaceans: evolution of different species, anatomy, behaviour, identifying individuals, the different species found throughout the world's oceans, their migration routes and why they do it, feeding strategies, reproduction, cow-calf relationships, strandings, hunting, how to approach them while at sea, and marine regulations.
  • General Marine Life: sponges, cnidarians, worms, crustaceans, bryozoans, molluscs, echinoderms, ascidians, sharks and rays, bony fish, reptiles, coastal birds, and seaweeds.

Volunteers will eventually all be expected to participate in the various briefings and talks to tourists on the boat. They will also be taught the basics of boat handling and be expected to drive the boat on occasion. They will also be expected to undertake some pro-active marketing and make constructive suggestions to improving our marketing strategy.

ACTIVITIES AND PRACTICAL SESSIONS FOR VOLUNTEERS AT THE BAYWATCH PROJECT

Our experience demonstrates, beyond any doubt, that the longer a volunteer is on the program, the greater chance they have of doing more of these activities. Similarly, a greater diversity of exposure is both stimulating and adds to the individual awareness of the complex inter-relationship that exists between seemingly separate ecosystems.

Intertidal Zones

After a lecure on rocky shores, the volunteers will be taken to a practical outing to this zone. The various zones and animals will be located and observed. Snorkelling gear will be provided. The same will be done on sandy shores.

Outing to SANCCOB and Bayworld

Volunteers will be given a guided tour around the rehabilitation centre and oceanarium, museum, and reptile house, to view exhibits and meet the staff, and discuss various issues with them. It may be possible to shadow one of the Cape fur seal trainers during and after their presentations, and experience a close live animal encounter.

Beach Clean-ups

We aim to focus on stopping the production and distribution of single use plastics in addition to doing regular beach-clean ups with our volunteers in areas which are reported with large amounts of debris and assist with organised coastal clean-ups in the Port Elizabeth area as part of a larger project. 

Fishing Charter

This will be a bottom fishing charter, conducted from one of our catamarans within the confines of the bay. Volunteers will be shown how to prepare fishing tackle, locate and find fish, fishing regulations, how to bait up and catch fish, and how to clean, prepare and cook fish.

Game Fishing Charter

This will also be from one of our catamarans but it will necessitate a journey out to the continental shelf and Agulhas current, which ranges from 50-80km off shore. Generally yellow fin tuna, between 15 and 80kg, are landed although dorado, marlin, and mako sharks are sometimes caught, which are tagged and released.

Research Cruise

At least one research cruise will be undertaken if not more. It depends on what is available at the time but it could either be shark, penguin, plankton or cetacean related. At the moment our research is focusing on the white sharks around Bird Island.

Boat Maintenance

Volunteers will be shown how to carry out general maintenance on one of the catamarans and be required to do an actual engine service.

African Safari

This is a full day trip to the Addo Elephant National Park, as well as a guided tour of Schotia Safaris. Besides having seen the two marine animals (Southern right whale and great white shark), which make up the big seven, you will hopefully see the other 5- elephant, lion, rhino, buffalo, and the elusive leopard.

Woody Cape Reserve

The Woody Cape section of the Greater Addo National Park is headquarters to the marine component of the park. It also includes the Alexandria Dune Fields, which is the largest mobile coastal dune system in the Southern hemisphere. The area is littered with middle late Stone Age sites and middens.

Tree Identification Course

A very basic course with special attention to trees that are in close proximity to the marine environment.

Cetacean Lecture

Volunteers are required to sit in on a public/school cetacean lecture. They will then have to research and prepare their own lecture and present it to a class of school children at one of the schools at which we are involved.

Commercial Skippers Ticket

Should you opt to participate in this recognised training programme and meet the qualification criteria, you will be able to be appointed to skipper vessels in excess of nine metres and of less than 25 tons. The formal lectures including first aid, firefighting and lifeboat operation training, as well as the examination elements of this course will be run separately at a private institution that specializes in these courses. The practical part, which includes the 450 hours at sea that are needed before the exam can be written, will be done and signed off by Raggy Charters. The price to complete this professionally recognized programme is available on request.

Scuba Diving Course

For those who are already certified, we have scuba gear available should they wish to dive our shores with colleagues. This gear is also for use by those who may wish to complete a formal dive training programme while with us. The costs, dates, and duration of such programmes are available on request.

volunteer Accommodation

Volunteers are accommodated for in private quarters which overlooks the Indian ocean- a stone's throw from the sea. Whales and dolphins are seen regularly, often breaching clear of the water right in front of the house. Cape clawless otters breed in the fresh water system which enters the sea nearby. The house is located in the coastal village of Seaview, some 25km outside the coastal city of Port Elizabeth. Seaview village has a small shopping centre with supermarket, laundry, ATM and take-away.Volunteers will be provided with their own vehicle for getting around.

The house comprises three double bedrooms, two bathrooms, two kitchens, and two entertainment areas, which are also used as lecture facilities. There is also a spacious deck that overlooks the sea. The garden is totally indigenous, with over 100 species of trees. This is a wider variety of trees than found in the whole of Europe.

 

View of Dolphins from the House

Besides a beautiful snorkelling area directly in front of the house, there are many other leisure and pleasure facilities located nearby. There are numerous game reserves located nearby which are worth a visit! There is a 25km stretch of sandy beach further up the coast, which is ideal for sand-boarding, and the study of sandy beaches. There are three Alexandria type indigenous forests within easy access, all of which can be reached by numerous trails.

Serviced communal accommodation and occasional meals are included in the course fee. The volunteers themselves must carry their food, laundry and medical costs. They will also be expected to assist with the meal preparations (when meals are provided), and keeping the premises neat and tidy.

View of baitball action from volunteer house

South African's eat a lot of meat! Therefore, if you have any special dietary requirements, please tell us in advance and bring some of your favourite recipes with you.

 

For the google earth fans, the house is located at:

34° 1'0.69"S, 25° 22'0.46"E

Check it out!

 

 

 

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