“Diving Inspires Conservation”, an Interview with Diving Manager Mauro Jije

As a dive manager and marine operations manager, Mauro Jije is at the heart of every day action at the station. Whether it’s an expedition out to open ocean, diving with sharks during a course or managing remote island marine logistics; Mauro rolls up his sleeves and gets it done. His passion for the ocean and conservation is infectious, and he has inspired many guests and interns who have visited the BCSS station to pursue a career in diving and conservation. To share a bit more of his personality with the world beyond Benguerra Island, we interviewed him. 

What is your job at BCSS?

I’m both the dive centre manager and marine operations manager, which means my day-to-day schedule is very busy! As dive centre manager, my tasks vary from PADI dive center administration, dive planning, coordination and leading, teaching PADI diving courses, operating the compressor and conducting maintenance work on the dive gear. As marine operations manager, I’m responsible for the overall smooth planning and coordination of water-based activities, which includes scheduling of skippers and fixing parts of the boats, for example.

I have been working at BCSS for over three years. I applied for a position here, because I wanted to broaden my horizon and contribute to the greater goal of marine conservation. The location also played a role, as I liked the idea of diving reefs in the Bazaruto Archipelago which have barely been dived before.

“I think scuba diving has a major importance on marine conservation, as it helps to observe and study complex dynamics beneath the surface. Plus, it influences people to spread awareness in regards to ocean protection.” – Mauro Jije

Mauro conducting maintenance work underwater. Photo by Maeva Terrapon.

What makes the Bazaruto Archipelago so special?

Every day in the archipelago is different; you never know what you may encounter and there is high potential for seeing very exciting animals, like pelagic sharks, a dugong or whales. My favourite marine life encounter this year is a black marlin hunting a school of sardines – something we were lucky to encounter as its very rare!

Because the archipelago is packed with wildlife and surprises, I don’t really have a favourite season. Every season has its own benefits. Though, of course humpback whale season, from June until October, is always a great period every year. The same way every month has its own benefits, so is every dive site unique. Some dive sites might have a manta cleaning station, while others are great for spotting micro life like shrimps and nudibranchs. I enjoy seeing sharks as much as I enjoy seeing a rare crab species of 1cm. I love every dive site for different reasons, which is why I don’t have a favourite.

I think the combination of untouched reefs, a wide range of corals and unpredictable wildlife makes diving in the Bazaruto Archipelago so special. 

Bazaruto Archipelago marine life. Photos by Daniel Escayola, Ekaterina Kalashnikova, Iris Uijttewaal, Sarah Vital. 

Why did you become a dive instructor?

Because I love the ocean so much, I wanted to find a way in which I could introduce the underwater world to others. By teaching people how to dive, I help them discover a completely different world. But I enjoy teaching people to become a dive master maybe even more. Mentoring a student for three months so they can leave the island feeling confident to guide on their own is special. You often form great friendships in this time too. In general I hope that, as a dive instructor, I can help spread awareness regarding the state of our oceans today and that my students will be able to contribute to marine conservation – whether that’s during their stay at BCSS or afterwards in their careers.

Mauro teaching a student how to use a Surface Marker Buoy. Photo by Ekaterina Kalashnikova. 

Why should someone join our Dive Master Internship?

There are many reasons to become a Dive Master (DM) in the Bazaruto Archipelago. First and foremost, the variety of marine life and reefs is second to none. Every dive site is different, and the ocean surprises us both above and underwater on a daily basis, so you will definitely see amazing stuff during your training here. Secondly, doing your Dive Master training at BCSS means you get to live at a research station and have the opportunity to apply your skills by getting involved in real-time conservation with researchers. Staying at the remote research station also means you will learn what it takes to run day-to-day dive centre logistics and tasks on a small island. Altogether, having the opportunity to do your Dive Master course in the Bazaruto Archipelago with BCSS is simply unique.

How does scuba diving relate to marine conservation?

I think scuba diving has a major importance on marine conservation, as it helps to observe and study complex dynamics beneath the surface. Scuba diving is a great way to monitor reefs, fish populations and megafauna. It allows researchers and scientists to work efficiently and gives them access to valuable data.

Apart from that, I believe that people who scuba dive are more respectful towards the ocean and its marine life. Their love for the ocean hopefully translates to taking actions, big or small, to help conserve the ocean. Seeing the beauty underwater also may make them share it, for example by speaking about it with their friends and family, spreading awareness with every conversation. 

Mauro diving with a school of fusiliers. Photo by Daniel Escayola. 

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