Volunteer Review: Helen B., Diving & Marine Conservation in Cambodia
No place is like the island Koh Rong Samloem. You can not help but love the island, which has a small village with wonderful people. The island has no cars and motorcycles.
The view is something special. When you wake up in the morning and look out from the bungalow five meters from the sea, the smile is hard to hide.
Even if you have mosquito bites and sand in your bed the feeling is freedom and its there always. When you discover that you can put on your dive equipment in a few minutes and go diving, its even more satisfaction. Isn’t life beautiful!
I left Sweden on the 4th January 2010 and didn’t know what adventure I had in front of me. At the end of my journey to Cambodia I had a boat trip for two hours before I could take my first steps on the island. When I arrived, a lot of people met me with a smile and were excited to show and tell me about the islands.
The life and living on the island is simple and easy if you make it that way, everything is up to you. If you have to have a cell phone that’s working every second, internet, hairdryer, candy or nice painted toe nails I would choose another place. I will also be sorry for you, that you will miss the best opportunity to explore yourself and the underwater environment Cambodia can offer.
The island has lots going on like seahorse surveys, reef surveys, reef clean-ups, beach clean-ups, culture, jungle treks with special orchids, children interested in learning English.
When you have worked on the island for some months you can tell that you have helped and actually done something for the environment and you can feel happiness to go back home, but not without tears.
When you have thoughts during your stay that you would like to have a pizza instead of rice, a hot shower, yoghurt and meet other people and use the internet you can take the boat to the mainland town of Sihanoukville, where you can also party and have a beer.
But when you arrive on the mainland and smell the exhaust gas, see all the traffic, tourists, feeling the heat even more between the buildings you will grab your western food, buy things that you like and send a quick email to your friends and then get the boat back the next day to the island you just love! The feeling you have every time you come back and view the pier – home sweet home!
Let’s go diving! YES!
Diving is great, the best relaxed feeling you can have and after the dive you feel like a new human being. Though if you do the Rescue Diver course, then you feel totally worn out but with a huge smile and the satisfaction that you did it.
If you’ve never dived before and are going to start on the island, I just say lucky you, you can’t find a better place to train to be a diver, good instructors and you can do the courses as fast or slow you want to. This makes you a better diver and more confident.
Good luck and enjoy life on the island!
This is a personal account of one volunteer’s experience on the project and is a snapshot in time. Your experience may be different, as our projects are constantly adapting to local needs and building on accomplishments. Seasonal weather changes can also have a big impact. Find out more about what you can expect from this project, or speak to one of our friendly Program Advisors.