Keith Gibson - Project Scientist - Tobago
In February 2007 a friend recommended I volunteer with a UK based organisation, Coral Cay Conservation. On the website there were pictures of beautiful tropical beaches, gorgeous fish, and happy tanned people. Sign me up! I applied to be a Project Scientist for a new project in Tobago. The CCC crew were kind enough to take me on.
I don't think I've ever worked harder in my life. I was tossed in with a wonderful crew of happy people. Once the volunteers arrived they learnt, they surveyed they performed puppet shows, they were fantastic and had a wonderful time!
Five months flew by. By the end I had helped to set up a training programme and survey protocol for coral reefs and helped set up a local scholarship and outreach programme for elementary schools. It turns out that when you work 14hr days, you get a lot done! I was so inspired by the folks at CCC and the Buccoo Reef Trust that when I came back to Canada, I switched my PhD. I'm now looking at ways to support sustainable development in Tobago's coastal zone.
To top it all off I met the love of my life. I met her through the local scholarship programme. Now I'm not saying if you join a CCC expedition you will meet the love of your life and live happily ever after. I am saying that you are pretty much guaranteed to meet some wonderful people, work very hard, learn an awful lot about fish, corals and life in general, and come away with great friends and great memories.