A Day in the Life of Rosalie Bailie
Rosalie Bailie is the marine educator at Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu, where she works closely with guests to help them make memorable experiences on the island.
She can be found in the ocean guiding marine excursion trips, managing the coral restoration programme, conducting coral, turtle and manta surveys or holding reef clean-ups. On land, her work includes report writing, survey analysis, and identifying turtles through collaboration with Olive Ridley Project. The resort also collaborates with Manta Trust for surveys on manta sightings and collecting identification pictures. She also works to educate associates about the marine life and how to better protect it. She holds training sessions for new associates, host associate clean-ups and speak at associate events to raise awareness.
“Living on an island means that everything is nearby. It’s just a short walk to the ocean, wherever you are! It’s an amazing experience to work on a tropical beach surrounded by the lush dense jungle. I love the diversity that comes with my job. Each and every day I get to encounter our incredible wildlife. From turtles to sharks and corals to mantas, I get to work with them all and to spread awareness about their threats and human impacts,” said Rosalie.
Here is what a Wednesday might look like for her.
08:00 – It’s time to prepare for our bi-weekly manta snorkeling excursion. This involves greeting guests in reception and ensuring they have all of the right equipment for a morning of snorkeling. Then it is time to make our way to the jetty to board on our excursion Dhoni.
The dhoni leaves after a boat briefing about the trip and safety procedures. The journey to the site takes 45 minutes, which gives time to educate the guests about manta rays, information about the surveys I carry out for the Manta Trust and about how to follow our snorkeling guidelines, to ensure the correct behaviors when interacting with the wildlife.
09:00 – We are ready to search for manta rays! Standing on the top of the boat allows us to easily locate where in the lagoon the manta rays are feeding, filtering plankton from the seawater. We look for their dark figures gliding at the surface of the water and for the presence of dorsal and pectoral fins above the water surface.
Once we find the mantas we help the guests into the water quietly and start to observe their amazing feeding behaviors. For me, it’s time to take identification photos of their tummies, which show their unique pattern of spots which that Manta Trust can use to identify them. These pictures along with recording survey data on the environmental conditions allows the Manta Trust to expand their research sites. Once back on the boat, I will record the survey data, and talk to the guests about what we saw on the trip.
The boat ride home is usually accompanied by visits from neighboring spinner dolphins, who are keen to put on a show, spinning through the air. Once returning to land, I upload and submit any manta survey data and ID pictures to the manta trust. In addition to manta snorkeling excursions I also take snorkeling with turtle excursions, reef hopping trips and guided house reef snorkeling with guests.
14:00 – I may have a coral planting session with guests. Here we attach coral fragments which have broken off naturally (mostly due to wave action) to artificial reef frames made by our engineering department. These metal frames provide the hard substrate needed for coral attachment. Guests can adopt their own frame which gets a nametag and then they will receive updates every 6 months on the progress of their artificial reef. Over time the corals begin to attach to the frame, growing over it and attracting new marine life to the area!
Other afternoon duties may include doing turtle surveys, identifying our house reef turtles, working on reports, helping out at our Olive Ridley Project turtle rescue center or conducting coral reef surveys!
21:30 – Once a week I host a marine biology night at the Conch Bar. I tell guests about our amazing wildlife, discuss how we can protect it and host a fun quiz where guests can win free cocktails! This is usually followed by a lengthy question and answer session with our curious guests, and I am happy to talk all night long about our amazing marine life!