I’m always on the lookout for cool volunteer programs, and recently came across one I am excited to talk about. Unfortunately, I am terrified at the idea of scuba diving, so I am not a candidate for this program, but it is tempting. The program is Manta Watch Camp in Papua New Guinea.

As a Manta volunteer, you will help monitor the reef and protect the resident Manta rays through exciting SCUBA research. You’ll learn how to ID each Manta and take great photos. This enables the program to document these majestic creatures and share incredible discoveries with the public. You will also learn about the complex biology of Manta Rays, and how Manta is conducting responsible ecotourism in Papua New Guinea through extensive educational programs and providing jobs for locals.

The objectives of the volunteer program are to:

  • Protect the reef and monitor Manta Rays,
  • Collect ID data via safe tagging and SCUBA Underwater Photography,
  • Learn about responsible ecotourism and marine conservation, and
  • Get involved in the local community by joining education programs.

Volunteers are welcome all year around, and they recommend a stay of 2-8 weeks.

The cost is 325 Kina (PGK) per day (approx. $100USD), and long-term stay options are available. This fee includes:

Accommodation in a homestay hosted by a local,

  • Food & drink freshly prepared daily,
  • SCUBA diving (minimum of one dive per day),
  • Travel from Alotau airport to Gonubalabala Island,
  • FREE PADI Dive course* (Worth 1500 Kina),
  • In-country orientation/training,
  • In-country staff support, and
  • Written materials pre-departure

All Manta Heroes stay in shared accommodation located beachside and close to the dive center. Your accommodation consists of a shared room with 1-3 people, and the island is equipped with a basic kitchen and toilet.

Check out their Facebook page and get in touch. The pictures and stories have me contemplating if I can push past my fear of open water and go for it!