Here at Marine Conservation Costa Rica, we have a number of opportunities available for those looking to make a difference to Marine wildlife. Hear about the experiences of two of our previous interns, Andre and Mary-Grace below.

What is the sea life like?

Andre

It’s a lot of fish. The visibility is not that good, so it is hard to see other animals. A lot of damsels farm and eat algae and surgeonfish. Occasionally you’ll see octopus, sharks and turtles but it is much rarer than the other common reef fish.

Mary-Grace

At Quepos it is very interesting. The diving is amazing and there are more surges, which makes it harder to dive. I feel like this makes you a more experienced diver because it is a challenge. In Caño the water is much more still and calm.

How would you describe the variety of sea life? Do they seem healthy and diverse?

Andre

The sea life is very diverse with a lot of different types of fish!

Mary-Grace

The animals here are quite diverse, we have seen a bunch of different fish like the butterfly fish and sergeant majors, sea slugs, and some crabs on the nursery corals.

coral in Costa Rica

How would you describe the Coral you see?

Andre

There is not a lot of reef building coral so generally, it’s pretty sparse. We see some of the branching coral and some of the bouldering coral which are big and look like boulders.

Mary-Grace

We have two types of corals: the branching and boulder corals. The branching coral grows like a tree, and the boulder coral grows on the ground.

Do you encounter Coral bleaching more than healthy reefs?

Andre

You definitely see a lot of both. At Caño Island there is definitely a lot of bleached coral but here in Quepos there is less bleached coral. A lot of the coral is fairly young, but you see a fair share of both.

Mary-Grace

Here in Quepos, we have some coral bleaching and coral disease, but we can’t tell which it is without doing research on it. We definitely do see coral bleaching, more at Caño Island than here in Quepos.

As a diver do you practice a marine conservation lifestyle? If so, what does this look like for you?

Andre

Yes, mostly using reusable plastics and bottles. I would also say making conscious choices of where you are throwing things away, so pollutants don’t end up in the ocean.

Mary-Grace

Personally, I try to be conservative about what I use such as avoiding single-use plastics. If I do I try to reuse them as much as possible. I will keep my trash collected until I am near a trash can to avoid it getting to the ocean.

Describe the process of new Coral colonies being planted.

Andre

I haven’t done much with the coral because I am with the marine conservation side but most of the coral are very small.

Mary-Grace

In the restoration program we find coral of opportunity which is coral floating around, and not breaking off coral from a healthy reef. From there we pull it out and fragment it (cut it a little) to help the growth accelerate. We let them grow in the nursery for a few months before planting them back onto the larger coral structure.

Describe the process of new Coral colonies being planted.

Andre

I haven’t done much with the coral because I am with the marine conservation side but most of the coral are very small.

Mary-Grace

In the restoration program we find coral of opportunity which is coral floating around, and not breaking off coral from a healthy reef. From there we pull it out and fragment it (cut it a little) to help the growth accelerate. We let them grow in the nursery for a few months before planting them back onto the larger coral structure.

What inspired you to be a diver?

Andre

I have always really liked the ocean since I was a kid so it is my plan to enter marine biology. Diving is very helpful for researching the ocean and its’ biology and is a big interest of mine.

Mary-Grace

For me, I have wanted to dive since I was young. I did a discovery course and realized I was too scared. With it being on my mind this past year, I finally decided to face my fears and did it. I quickly realized there was nothing to be scared of at all.

What inspired you to take action with Marine conservation?

Andre

I care about conservation in general, but diving is a part of it. Being out in nature and the environment is important because we as humans are a part of nature. It’s important because without it we would die too.

Mary-Grace

When I was little, my sister showed me the movie Blue Ocean and it showed me that our oceans need help with restoration. Corals are extremely important for the health of our oceans and that is why I want to take action and help build a healthy ocean.

Has anything surprised you?

Andre

The visibility was a little surprising at first. I’m always surprised when I see a lot of garbage at the dive sites. A lot of plastics are seen.

Mary-Grace

Yes, when diving in Quepos I was expecting a coral reef with lots of animals and abundant life. Instead, I saw a lot of emptiness which I wasn’t expecting. I was expecting more Great Barrier Reef style but that just isn’t the reality for most coral reefs.

During your time here, what was your most memorable experience?

Andre

Last week we saw a turtle that was swimming around us and as I swam back to my group it started chasing me out of its territory, so that was pretty cool.

Mary-Grace

My most memorable experience was last week when I found my first nudibranch. They’re barely an inch big and very hard to find. I was super excited to find my first one.

Like what you hear and Interested in taking part yourself? Just click the button below to read more about the Internships available to you!