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This is the story about Elaine who makes a difference by doing!

In 2011 we visited the DEMA show in Florida and that is where I met Elaine. She is what I think a special breed. Elaine is the founder of DiVo Dive Voluntourism.

She makes is posible for you as a simple individual to really make a difference. She builds reefs, helps locals to use sustainable fishing methods and so much more. Read more about Elaine and here work.

A day with DiVo Dive Voluntourism

I just today answered a website query from a uni graduate in zoology, asking about work experience. She was uncertain whether the gap year volunteer placement companies will meet that. First off, let me say, I created DiVo precisely because a lot of us keen divers can't afford the time to be Robinson Crusoe sitting a gap- or sabbatical- year on a desert island.

I try to fill a niche that I myself as a working professional tried to hunt down but could not find. Time off to help conservation, work and live with locals, make use of my dive skills – but NOT MONTHS!

I am now working on bringing to life a program that combines all those elements. We call it the Human Laboratory – where we are rehabilitating a coral reef and empowering villagers to upgrade their livelihoods.

It won't be an out-of-way place where you have to take internal flights, a seaplane and a boat. It will be in very accessible Bali, yet far enough from the beaten tourist path for you to say, wow, am I really here?!

Check out some of my experiences:

Bali
Following the local fisherman to an early morning temple visit
Dinner_locals
Eating dinner with the village elders and local NGO, Footprints
Local_house_bali
Staying in a beachside villa built by the local village elder
Coral_reef_bali
See how local fisherman moved away from cyanide fishing into sustainable netting
Building_reef
Build a coral reef from rubble
Coral_bali
Learn about reef building techniques and actually planting coral

Where is this fabled village? It is called Les Village, in the undeveloped north coast of Bali where the massive volcano eruption of Agung in 1963 wiped out villages and livelihoods.

The villagers are poor. They are rebuilding a way of living that is sustainable. There was a time, Les villagers used cyanide to do their fishing for ornamental fish.

The reef turned into an empty rubble. Now, the coral is being replanted and the fish are coming back. You, the dive voluntourist can be part of it. The full story about Les with more pictures is here:

Interested in what your dive volunteer holiday could be like? Read about what you can do building a reef, Balinese style.

Trip details will be out soon, where we will share info like schedule (all year round) and prices. DiVo and Footprints are both non-profit marine and local empowerment organisations. We price the trips at cost, with some money to go towards the village rehabilitation and upgrading of skills. Join us at Les Village and be a part of a real life Human Laboratory!

Inquiries at info@divodive.com

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Rutger Thole is an avid scuba diver and loves to travel, dive and write about scuba diving. Based in Amsterdam he runs bookyourdive.com and at least twice a year he plans a dive trip of the beaten track.

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