Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A week on Curiuse

Curieuse Island

July 27th – August 2nd

By Julia Goggins

A group of us (Katie, Tracy, Snugsy, Claire, Ben, Aileen, Matt, and I) have just returned from Curieuse Island, where GVI runs a second smaller base.. It was great to be the first lot to visit, as it was the exact middle of our stay and just the right time to have a change from Cap Ternay life.

This is a picture of GVI’s house on Curieuse. It’s been built, painted, sanded, and even had additions put on to it by the lovely Rich (and past expedition members). That pole in the picture, I sanded for probably 3 days. It’s still not done, but it’s getting there. Also my group painted the rafters above the decking. …And tried to cover up the fact that we dripped paint on Rich’s decking… just kidding Rich if you ever happen to read this.

The work on Curieuse is at a more relaxed pace than at Cap Ternay. We did turtle snorkels, but only Tracey caught the one turtle we got the entire week (turtles are caught to be tagged and measured for ongoing research programs). Also the Coco de Mer hunt was pretty interesting (GVI volunteers are caring out a census of these rare endemic palms for our partners here in the Seychelles). Snugsy and Claire seemed to have some problems falling over in to bogs. The rest of us came back relatively clean.

Here’s the group that I went on the Coco de Mer census with. We had just made it to the peak of our hike after tramping through a couple bogs and cutting our way through the jungle with a machete.

On Thursday we all went to visit with the resident giant Aldabra tortoises at the MPA ranger’s station. The hike over took probably a half an hour. We crossed over 3-4 boardwalks that traversed a huge area of mangrove.

The tortoises were absolutely amazing! They were pretty friendly, except for the one that bit Tracey…he was a cheeky one (he’s the one pictured on the left). But they had the cutest tiny tortoises, so of course I adopted one and named him Oscar (middle picture below).

The rangers on Curieuse took good care of us. They taught us how to open coconuts and how they differed. One coconut was filled with water that we all drank and the other was the kind that you normally think of as a coconut. But we all had a great time visiting.

On our last day we took a hike to a beach about an hour away on the other side of the island. It was nice that it was really sunny! Everyone got some colour that day. Plus the beach was empty as the path hadn’t been opened to tourists yet. It was by far the best beach I’ve seen in the Seychelles so far. There were a bunch of granitic boulders and your feet just sank in to the sand.

Sadly, our week came to an end early on the following Saturday. We all said bye to Rosie and Rich. The others decided to take a detour to La Digue (a nearbye island) for the night, while Ben and I headed back to base camp on the Cat Coco (which you should definitely try if you feel like getting sick) to hear the latest camp gossip and begin a new week of coral quadrates!! Woohoo!!