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8 trips designed to help you reconnect with the ocean

Lake of Sete Cidades, on Sao Miguel Island, Azores, Portugal.
Lake of Sete Cidades, on Sao Miguel Island, Azores, Portugal.   -   Copyright  Canva

‘Fly and flop’ is used to describe holidaymakers whose sole aim is to fly abroad and sunbathe on a beach. But ‘conscious travel’ is hot on its heels. Competing for the top spot as one of the trends for travel in 2021.

Conscious travel means aiming to have a positive impact on the place or community you’re visiting, and making your holiday mean something beyond fun in the sun.

In celebration of protecting our oceans, our focus for EU Green Week, we’ve found the best trips, in Europe and beyond, where you can have a positive impact on oceans, beaches, riverbeds and even ponds.

One of the best ways to lessen your impact on the Earth is to improve your connection with it. By immersing yourself in nature, you’ll feel more compelled to protect it. So dive in and become a conscious traveller today.

Water is one of our most precious resources. So let’s protect it whenever we find it - at home or abroad.

Protect sharks in Fiji

Feeling brave? In Fiji, you can volunteer alongside WWF and ProjectAWARE to feed, identify and tag sharks. The first step is getting a PADI Open Water certification. This will allow you to go out on survey dives and collect useful data on sharks and their environment.

You can combine this with planting mangroves. Conserving this vital plant will mean you’re helping to create the first carbon-neutral resort in Fiji.

More information here.

Help conserve Peloponnese turtles in Greece

This trip with Responsible Travel is based at the beautiful Athens Rivera, where you’ll be volunteering at Europe’s largest sea turtle rescue centre. There you’ll be protecting nesting sites and raising awareness of conservation in the local community.

In the afternoons, you’ll be off on excursions to immerse yourself in Greek culture.

Find out more here.

Gather data on coral reefs in Puerto Rico

The non-profit organisation ‘Amigos de Tres Palmas’ has partnered with the Oceanic Society to offer this volunteering program where you’ll get the opportunity to take care of beautiful coral reefs, teeming with schools of fish.

You’ll be working on the remote reef of Desecheo Island, learning field techniques used to assess the health of corals reefs.

More information here.

Become a crew member on one of the Sea Shepherd’s vessels

Picture this: you as a crew member, out on the Pacific Ocean, having fun while doing vital work.

International NGO Sea Shepherd has 12 vessels where they can make this dream a reality. Their mission is to continue Sea Shepherd’s founder and activist Paul Watson’s legacy and fight injustices perpetrated against whales, dolphins, seals, sea turtles, sea birds, fish, and every living thing in the world’s oceans.

Beware, this kind of mission is for those who have already found their sea legs and aren’t afraid of extreme conditions. Volunteer here.

Improve the water quality of the River Thames in London

If you’d rather take action locally and happen to be in London, take a look at what Thames21 offer. They mobilise thousands of volunteers every year to clean and green the capital’s 400-mile network of waterways.

Picking up litter or helping to introduce reedbeds to tackle pollutants is sure to be a satisfying way to spend a day. Best of all, it’s completely free.

Participate in a new coral reef program in Costa Rica

Observing and protecting coral reefs deserves another place in our list, as they are essential to the healthy functioning of submarine ecosystems. Coral reefs protect coastlines from storms and erosion. They are also a source of food and preserve endangered species.

At the Four Seasons Residences in Prieta Bay, Black Tomato guests can participate in coral reef regeneration through Bahia Culebra's Coral Reef Propagation Project, led by the Centre for Research in Marine Science and Limnology (CIMAR).

Hike, kayak and whale watch in the Azores

Did you know that the highest point of Sao Miguel island is at 1,103 metres? This trip, with Much Better Adventures, includes a hike to the top of this Portuguese island. You'll also experience the majestic Furnas Volcano, dating back 100,000 years.

Next you'll go canyoning in the Ribeira dos Caldeirões, a protected reserve with crystal blue waters.

Round off your trip with whale watching from a kayak, with a marine biologist on hand to talk you through what to look for. Book your trip here.

Where's your next trip? Let us know on Instagram.