For those who adore the sun, sea and sand, this is the opportunity of a lifetime to be hosted for two months in the island nation of the Bahamas.
Following in the footsteps of Airbnb’s Italian and Antarctic Sabbatical programmes, now those with itchy feet can look to a new adventure in the Bahamas islands. The project is not for the average holidaymaker though: hosted by Airbnb and the Bahamas National Trust, a local NGO that protects 32 national parks across the territory, this sabbatical is only offered to five exceptional applicants who are there to help revive its shores, ravaged by Hurricane Dorian last summer.
Hurricane Dorian, which struck the islands between August and September 2019, is known as the most devastating natural disaster in all of Bahamian history — leaving ecosystems and homes destroyed, over US$4 billion in damages, at least 73 recorded deaths and with hundreds of people still reported missing. As a country that depends on tourism to thrive, this initiative will be instrumental in helping the country move forward from the aftermath.
Participants in the programme will assist in creating a coral reef restoration initiative in Andros together with underwater and travel photographer Katie Storr. Here, they plan to build a coral reef ‘nursery’, where fragments will be grown and transplanted to affected areas all across the region. Sabbatical participants will get the opportunity to explore blue holes, harvest sponges and more.
Over in Exuma, the first national park in the Bahamas prized for its crystal-clear waters, participants are also set to replicate the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park ecosystem in neighbouring affected waters, which have been overtaken by invasive species, namely the Red Lionfish. Beyond curbing its population, the team will learn to introduce other reef-friendly species, conch conservation, traditional boatbuilding and more.
The team will also get to learn propagation techniques for native trees, and establish a bush tea farm in Eleuthera, known for its pink sand beaches. While there, they will also research native species, practise traditional pineapple farming, and help harvest sea salt.
At the end of the two months, participants will have successfully created Experiences that forthcoming visitors will be able to book via Airbnb — this directly benefits the local community while also supporting a sustainable ecological and economic future.
Candidates must be over the age of 18, speak English, and available to volunteer in the Bahamas for two months from April to May 2020. If you can demonstrate a commitment and passion for contributing to island life, you could be chosen to join the Bahamas Sabbatical. Applications must be received by 12:59pm HKT on 19 February 2020.
More information at AirBnB.