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Tag: Dive

BlogMarine Conservation

Diving into the life of Tilo

Author: Alex Oelofse, Social Media Intern & Photographer

It is always fascinating to find out more about our staff, their backgrounds and essentially what brought them to MRCI. Below, we pay homage to our marine science manager, Tilo Kauerkoff. I decided there is no better way than to do a little interview with the man himself.


So, let’s get right to it, Tilo how old are you?

I’m 31.

Where are you from?


Tilo Diving - Madagascar Volunteer

What were you doing before you joined MRCI?

Well it has been a rather long road, including lots of studying. I guess I shall start at my first major degree in industrial engineering. I have always had a great fascination with space and after my degree I applied for an internship in the space industry where I became a trainee with the European Space Agency (ESA). I then wanted to study some more so I ended up studying a very specialized degree only available in Munich.  For short the degree goes by the name (Espace) which is an acronym for Earth Orientated Space Science and Technology. During this time, I also obtained a European scientific diving course, which teaches you specialized diving techniques making use of full face masks, dry suits, permanent buoy dives, etc. This type of diving is more specifically used for the accumulation of data for cartographies of lakes and water estuaries.  The diving was more geared towards fresh water biology, which was a field I wasn’t trained in, but found it interesting nonetheless.


Wow, that sounds like quite a long journey! Where did life end up taking you next?

I was quite sure that after all the studying I was ready for a break and some travelling and I have never been south of the equator so that was something that was of interest to me. I did quite a bit of searching and found myself lucky as I found a dive master training in Bali where I stayed for three months, after which I spent another three months in Gili Trawangan.

After this experience, I really fell in love with diving so I looked for similar jobs and that’s when I found the opening at MRCI for a marine science manager. I didn’t have enough expertise in the marine biology field as they would have liked so I started off as an intern in September 2017 and initially wanted to stay for 3 months, but I guess that didn’t happen as I’m still here. I will now be staying till mid-July where I will be going back to Europe. I guess we’ll see how that plays out.


Wow that is quite an amazing story Tilo. What would you say is your favourite part of diving with MRCI?

Well that’s a tough one. It’s not always about the spot but more about what you see, I would say, and the group you are doing it with.


And what would you say is your favourite aspect of camp?

Ah, that’s something that one sometimes tends to forget, but constantly being in nature is definitely a highlight!  Simple things like being so close to the beach, the luxury of being able to go for a quick snorkel at any time of day. Not having a car or no cars in any close vicinity and besides the generator every now and then I find myself only surrounded by natural noises, which I think is really healthy.

Check out our Marine Conservation Program


BlogMarine Conservation

Marine Conservation Volunteer Q&A

Author: Alex Oelofse, Social Media Intern & Photographer

Arthur decided to share some of his thoughts and experiences from his time at MRCI’s Turtle Cove Camp where he partook in the Marine Conservation Program.

Volunteer Marine Conservation Program Q&A

So Arthur where are you from?

Hampshire, England.


How did you come across MRCI?

I decided to embark on something new and thought volunteering would be a great opportunity to do something like that. So I searched through many volunteering places online and came across MRCI, which was the most appealing option for me as it had the marine aspect as well as the diving.


What was your best moment?

Oh, most definitely becoming survey ready, and my weekend trip to Nosy Iranja.


So, what exactly does it entail to become survey ready?

Ah, let me explain. So, there are three avenues if you can call it that; Sessile, Benthic and Active Swimmers. Sessile is made up of corals, sponges, algae, essentially living organisms that don’t move. Benthic is made up of crustaceans and bottom feeders. Lastly active swimmers include all fish. So those are the three options one has to choose from and I chose Sessile.

To become survey ready entails a process of acquiring your advanced diving qualification in order to maintain perfect buoyancy during a survey to avoid damage to the marine life that we are trying to protect. I personally did 5 point out dives to become practice survey ready, which was followed by two practice survey dives.  All the data we capture is then shared with our partners CNRO (Centre National de Recherches Océanographiques) and CORDIO (Coastal Oceans Research and Development in the Indian Ocean).

We have three sites at which we conduct these surveys including Turtle Towers, Dragons Den and Galaxea. Turtle Towers is a MPA (Marine Protected Area), which was established in 2016 with all the presidents of Nosy Komba agreeing to it being a no take zone. The data from the surveys are then compared to see how the un protected reefs are doing as opposed to the protected reefs.


Is there anything you would’ve done that you haven’t yet?

I can’t actually think of anything I have enjoyed every minute and the marine program is so well structure I was very satisfied with that.


What are your plans after this?

I will be going straight back to England where I will get a part time job as a waiter/bartender at the restaurant where I used to work. After that I will start University in September.


What are the biggest lessons that you have learnt during your time here?

Patience, most definitely patience. Never judge a book by it’s cover, in particular people. At the same time the journey might not be so great, but the destination might be incredibly worth it.

Be versatile. I would also say I have grown a lot as a person, especially my confidence I have also become more down to earth … I feel alive! I found a bit more purpose in life, not simply my old boring routines back home, best way in which I could describe this is living life in 4K resolution. Lastly I would highly recommend this to anybody!

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About Our Marine Conservation Program!

Marine Conservation Program MRCI Q&A


PADI Top Instructor in the Country

Kyle PADI Top Instructor

Congratulations are due to our Director of Diving Operations and Health & Safety Kyle Devine for placing as one of the top PADI instructors in the country!

Kyle has been living in Madagascar for over 6 years. He has a love for the ocean and has been diving for nine years. He is a qualified PADI OWSI Instructor (Open Water Scuba Instructor) and holds a Coastal Yacht Master Skipper’s ticket with the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) as well as a power boat level 2 certificate.

To date of this year, 2017, he has already taught more students that all of last year. He was placed amongst the top 5 of highest certifying instructors in all of South Africa. There are over a thousand individual instructors registered in South Africa, but very few were able to come close to what Kyle achieved in 2017.

MRCI PADI Diving School

Learn More about our dive school in Madagascar

A PADI certification is the worlds most respected and sought after dive credentials. This means wherever your dive travels take you, you can be confident that the local dive community will recognize your dive qualification. MRCI’s PADI diving courses apply the concept of performance based learning.  Performance based learning means that our students’ progress to the next level on the basis that they meet specific performance requirements.

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