Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Half way mark

The first half of GVI Seychelles marine expedition is over but we are far from finished. Coral surveying is well under way but there is a lot more to do and the eight new volunteers who have just joined us all need to go through our extensive training program. It was sad to see the first group go, they were seen off in style with a lavish barbecue. The new volunteers arrived on Friday, and slowly but surely settled in for a weekend of orientation and diving overload. For the ten weekers, it was a weekend full of sunbathing, nights on the town and saying farewell to their comrades of the last month and a half. For the staff and new volunteers, however, there was no rest.

We had five volunteers—Shelley, Katie D., Alex, Tim, and Jan—complete their Advanced Open Water Course by Monday, and all eight of the new crew were officially certified Emergency First Responders by their first, and well deserved weekend.
Meanwhile, most of the ten week volunteers have now left the nest, and are out diving on their own, checking one metre quadrates for new coral recruits (juvenile’s) and surveying 50 meter belts for our target invertebrates.

Though there’s a lot to get done, we’re smashing through the dive sites our partners need us to survey. The new five week group are settling in well, and making record progress with their coral studies.
By the end of their first
week, five of them have passed theirpower point coral test and are well on their way to passing their in-water as well.
The past weeks at our lovely Curieuse
house (which Rich has now named “La Belle Maison”?) have been sunny beyond reason and perfect for turtle snorkels and survey work. Last week both Jules and Chris caught turtles in order to tag them—though sadly; the poor little guy must not be that quick, as they caught the same one. But the surveying is going well, and it’s been amazing
, as usual, to see the different corals between Mahe and Curieuse, and appreciate the 25 meter visibility that abounds around the Curiuse camp. The past two groups have worked hard at transforming an overgrown section of bush, into a cleared and de-stumped plot, ready for planting a vegetable garden. If Rich and Rosie have their way, we should have fresh tomatoes, greens, and beets popping up by Christmas.
Week six is always a bit hectic with the arrival of the new volunteers, but it went wonderfully, the weekend was fun and restful, and the new five-week
ers are officially recovered, settled in, and having a blast.