Volunteer Blog

New Year, New Volunteers

Tanja & Fred on our last dive – come back soon!

We kicked off 2013 with Tanja Havemann & Fred Werneck, who joined us in Sorong on 31st January for a flying visit to Penemu before returning home to Zurich on 9th January. But here at Sea Sanctuaries we can get quite a lot done in a week, so we managed to cram lots into their short time on board.

Once they arrived on the Hang Tuah we got straight into the water for an afternoon dive and were immediately greeted by two hawksbill turtles and an eagle ray. A pretty good start! That evening we got stuck into fish identification studies and learning to identify the main families.

Over the next few days we conducted rover surveys of key species to start to build up a picture of some of the more regular sightings and prolific species in the area. We conducted Tanja & Fred’s PADI Adventure Drift Dive so they were able to develop their skills diving in current which is very handy in Raja Ampat.

Day 2 was tricky test time and Tanja and Fred spent the day identifying fish and practicing their skills. They picked it up amazingly fast so we completed their Project Aware Fish ID speciality and they’re now certified fish identifiers…

Turns out Fred has something of an eagle eye and managed to spot ghost pipefish, octopus and lots of juvenile filefish, but Tanja got her own back with the first wobbegong sighting.

Tanja puts her artistic talents to good use creating her slate for the rover surveys

Tanja & Fred both work in conservation, mainly from a financing and fundraising perspective, so they had lots of great ideas to support Sea Sanctuaries Trust marine conservation and the community projects on the island of Fam too.
We found time to visit the village of Saukabu, dropped in to say hello to Julian at the Sea Sanctuaries field station, and Fred & Tanja picked up a pair of traditional indonesian diving goggles as a souvenir.

Tanja & Fred model the traditional Indonesian goggles they bought in Saukabu

On our last day of diving we had a fun dive in Melissa’s Garden, a famous site in Raja Ampat that attracts many divers to Penemu, followed by a beautiful dive around Batu Rufus with plenty of black tip reef sharks to keep Fred happy (he got his first ever shark sighting in Penemu!)

Tanja & Fred – keep practicing your fish id back in Zurich in preparation for next time!
I was very sad to say goodbye after such a short visit. Tanja & Fred’s enthusiasm and energy definitely meant we got far more done in just one week than I’d expected.  I really hope they’ll come back again and help us as we embark on our base-line data surveys…

Fred does his best Jaws impression

Find more pictures from January 2013 in the gallery >