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Frequently Asked Questions

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What will I get out of the program? 

The underwater photography and video program is aimed at assisting in the development of students who are interested advancing their underwater photographic and video ability to a professional level whilst enjoying some of the most incredible SCUBA diving that Africa has to offer. Interns will be able to walk away with a professional level portfolio that will showcase their ability to photograph and film the marine world.

Eligibility

The course is open to all qualified SCUBA divers and those wanting to learn. However, applications from those who have the following expertise will be given priority as our numbers are currently limited  to keep the courses small and intimate:

  • Current or graduated students enrolled in academic institutes and studying towards a journalism, conservation, media, photo, video or design degree
  • Self taught aspirant photographers and videographers who can prove that they have achieved a reasonable level of expertise in photography and Scuba diving

 

What is the cost?

Living costs are set on an annual basis. The equivalent of USD 2,750 is requested from all applicants, which will cover SCUBA diving (20 dive package), free-diver training, gear hire (Scuba, photographic etc.), tuition, accommodation, food. Air travel to and from your home to Inhambane (Mozambique) or (King Shaka Airport Durban, is not included. For those who supply their own dSLR underwater photography kit (with 2 strobes), the cost is  USD 2,500. In addition, applicants will be responsible to cover any additional bank charges or transfer commissions to third parties (e.g. paypal) associated with payments( see later notes ).

The cost includes:

  • 20 dive package (incl. of 3 ocean safaris and 1 estuary trip in Moz) (incl.of 1 ocean safari and two game reserve an/or aquarium trips in Durban)
  • Practical and theoretical training instruction in underwater photography and videography
  • free diving course
  • Food and soft drinks ( juice )/ water for your entire stay
  • Accommodation:  the rooms will be shared with other students (genders will be separated), or on request we can provide private or semi-private accommodation in the same dive lodge (at an additional cost)
  • Transfer from airport to  your residence when you arrive, and again back to the Airport upon departure (please refer to  information on “Arrival dates and arrangements”)
  • Hard and soft SCUBA equipment
  • SCUBA airfills

Not included in the cost:

  • Recreational weekend SCUBA diving
  • PADI Open water qualification course: approx R5200
  • Internet fees
  • Laundry service
  • Non-course excursions
  • Extra food and beverages and alcoholic beverages
  • Bank charges for transfer of fees
  • Nitrox
  • Staff Tips

Daily schedule

As a student and guest your daily routine will vary between diving and photographing or videographing, being tutored in photography and video techniques and free diving, and processing and editing your photographs. Fiona and her hand picked team are passionate about conservation and any projects that are available to work on practically, we will certainly be doing so.

For how long can I stay?

The program runs for a month in duration, with catering and accommodation offered  during the dates of the course advertised. Students requiring training in SCUBA should schedule to arrive at least a week before their photo program commences so that they can receive SCUBA training first

Where do I stay?

If you are joining us for either Aug, Sept or Oct (Oct is a 2 week course only) then our home for the duration of the course will be the beautiful dive center at Guinjata Bay. This is a resort located within the Inhambane Region of Mozambique. If you are joining us in May, June or July then you will stay in Scottburgh at Blue Wilderness. 

I am not a scuba diver- can I still apply?

It is not recommended you apply as this is a program for underwater specialists but if you want to learn SCUBA you can do your SCUBA training in the week before the program starts and each year there are people who do so. You could take a look at other internships offered on www.africa-media.org.

I am not a scuba diver- can I still do underwater photography?

Both Blue Wilderness and Guinjata Bay Dive Center offer non-diving interns the opportunity to train as SCUBA divers at the beginning of the course (4-5 days).and it’s best to arrive early to complete this. However, for the benefit of the reef, we recommend that you have training and are a competent diver  prior to your arrival . Prior experience and good buoyancy which usually comes with practise,  will also enable you to more fully enjoy the benefits of the course.

What equipment and facilities do students have access to?

All photographic, editing, and scuba equipment is supplied during the course this includes

  1. 7 x Underwater DSLR photographic kits with strobes and 2 x Prosumer type cameras with housings and a strobe
  2. Go Pros
  3. 1 x Panasonic video camera
  4. full scuba kits including a full range of wetsuit sizes.
  5. Rubber Duck RIB or dive boat

Camera’s – we use both Canon and Nikon cameras but you are welcome to bring your own gear.

Computers: Please bring your own laptop. It must be pre-loaded with Adobe Lightroom 6  or CC as we use this extensively on course. Please bring Adobe Premiere Pro OR if you don’t want to buy that then any other video editing software that you usually use and know.

To where do I fly to?

Either to Durban if you are coming in May to July or to Inhambane Airport, Mozambique if you are coming in August or September.

Arrival dates and pick-up arrangements?

Pickups and drop offs from the Airport will be organised for the 1st day of the month. Interns arriving or leaving outside this time could be asked to arrange transport between the Airport and our host at their own cost.

Do I need to bring my own photographic equipment or gear?

In terms of underwater photographic gear, soft diving gear, and underwater housings, interns can bring their own gear if desired. A minimum standard of photographic gear required is an DSLR system with two strobes. You would also be required to have a wide angle and a macro lens and the relevant ports. All dive gear and photographic gear is supplied. If you bring your own photographic equipment of the standard set out here then, a cost break of $250 is offered.

Can I cancel or change the dates of the internship I am accepted onto?

Due to the number of applications received and limited places, we unfortunately do not accept all applying interns. Therefore, we do not welcome cancellations or date changes after the final confirmation has been sent to us. Please, make sure that the dates you indicate in your application form suit your own schedule/budget before applying.

We request that a non-refundable deposit  of $750 ( for the full month course ) is paid within 2 weeks of being accepted into the program as confirmation (foreign and local bank fees or paypal charges are also to be paid by you). The remaining fee must be paid at least 30 days prior to your arrival. We also ask, however, if you could let us know of any changes or cancellations in your plans as soon as you are aware of these, so that we are able to welcome another applicant.

How can I pay for the course? 

You can either do a bank transfer after we have sent you an invoice OR you can use paypal. Both of these methods attract a small fee and the bank method is more hassle but slightly cheaper. Fees vary but you can count on about US$ 60 for the bank transfer and about $US95 for the paypal method. Interns must cover these administration costs.  As the fees vary, it is impossible for us to bill you when you pay for the program. After we have received the admin costs from paypal or the bank we will advise you of the exact amount and ask that you bring it to your program. Your field specialist will arrange this with you and you will be asked to make the payment when in South Africa or Moz. Please ensure that you bring cash to make this payment as we don’t want admin costs to spiral into a never ending loop!

Do I need a VISA?

Yes, please speak to your travel agent.  For Moz we ask that you get a 30 day single entry VISA and you must fly out within that time. Extensions can be done from within Moz if needs be. For South Africa you can get a 3 month visitor VISA without any hassles. If you have further questions then mail us on info@fionaayerst.me or fiona@africa-media.org

Who owns the media that I collect or make?

All media (photographs, video etc.) collected by interns during an internship will belong exclusively to the author thereof. i.e you. All media collected can be used for portfolio and marketing purposes by  FAUP and her sister business Africa Media. Interns will be required to sign contracts on arrival at the program.  A copy of the contract is available so please ask if you want to see it and we will send it on.

Do I need insurance?

Yes. When you are accepted into this program, you will have to sign liability documents, as well an agreement that you are knowingly partaking in potentially dangerous activities. You will not be covered for accidents or illnesses, so please do organize your own medical and health insurances. You may apply for a normal travel insurance policy. Chances that you will be injured by a marine predator are very little if you follow the safety guidelines, and do not try anything foolish of which we would not approve. It is important to be covered for SCUBA accidents in case of an emergency where you may require to be airlifted as the closest chamber is in South Africa.

Do I need Malaria medication?

Yes but only for Moz and not for Durban. It is highly recommended, as there are occasional reports of Malaria from Mozambique. You may also require yellow fever vaccinations. Check with your local travel clinic as this changes from time to time.

What clothing do I need to bring?

Light beach clothes and light clothing are typically worn in Moz.  Durban can get a little chilly in the winter months of May to July so we recommend you bring some warm clothing. However, protection from sunburn is necessary, and sun hats, sun screen and good polarized sunglasses are highly recommended. Occasionally Mozambique can be cool; windy and wet (especially during late winter going into spring i.e Aug and Sept) thus some warm and waterproof clothing is required. Diving certification and your log-book must be brought. Bedding will be provided. If you are joining us in Moz then you should bring toiletries and towels and  all personal medication as there is very little available in Mozambique plus we will be far from shops. In Durban we are close to a major center.

How much extra money should I bring or have available for extra’s and weekend excursions?

The info provided in the costs section should give you a good foundation from which to work this out. If you need to do a SCUBA course then bring at least $400 to cater for this up to an advanced level – plus extra for off-course dives if you wish. It is probable that you may wish to do a weekend trip or two, and many activities are available on such trips including diving with sharks for example. We recommend you have around $100 extra per weekend trip you wish to go on. Please note you do not have to go on ANY of these extra trips. This is simply for your information should you wish to. Please do not bring dollars to spend if possible, rather exchange and bring Rands or pre-arrange with Fiona Ayerst that Rands are bought up for you and exchanged. use info@fionaayerst.me to prearrange this. Please bring $100 for tips. We do not insist that you tip but if you are happy with the service our partners have given you then it is customary to tip the staff. At the end of each month your course director will take a ‘tip’ payment from each intern and this will be pooled and divided fairly between the staff- who we promise will be looking after you very well!

Can I dive recreationally?

Yes, weekend dives can be organised at your own cost.

Staff Tips

Although we cannot insist that you tip the Dive Centre staff we find that they excel when you do. Also we find that many of our interns strike up good friendships with the dive centre staff and this is a great way to show your appreciation. Tipping staff that provide a great service is standard worldwide and Southern Africa is no different. We ask that each person bring $100 to cover tips. At the end of each month Sophie will pool the tips and divide them out equally. Please note these tips are NOT for FAUP or Africa Media staff. They are for the staff of our service providers.

How can I get more information?

On acceptance of your formal application, you will be asked (if you are not already) to be registered on Facebook (www.facebook.com). You will then be invited to join a communication group run by FAUP and or Africa Media. This forum will enable you to ask questions and seek out any additional information, meeting and networking with us and other interns. You can also email Fiona on info@fionaayerst.me or fiona@africa-media.org