Friday, August 7, 2009

Settling in to a new way of life.

On Friday the 31st of July the new 5-weekers arrived - Ramnique, Kate, Jenny, Richard, Ed and David from Britain, Manjela and Leoni from Germany, Esther from Switzerland, Franscis from Spain and Mayke from Holland. We were warmly welcomed by the staff; they even carried our luggage upstairs to our rooms! After choosing our beds and checking out the cold showers there was a lot of paperwork to do.

We went straight into workshops, orientations and chats so that we could learn everything we need to know about life in the GVI-camp, diving and of course the fish species which we need to know off by heart soon. On Saturday we had our first dive to check out our underwater skills, and some of us spotted our first turtle! On Sunday all of the 10-weekers returned from their weekend off and in the evening we met them and heard their stories of the last 5 weeks. It was surprising how quickly we all felt at home considering that less than 24 hours before we didn’t know each other at all.

We were kept very busy the first few days, it rained a little during this time however after a couple of days the sun came back out and we were amazed yet again about how beautiful the surroundings are and we all counted ourselves lucky to be living here for the next 5 weeks.

Delicious food was cooked by the staff during our first weekend and it is now up to the 5-weekers and 10-weekers to cook a proper meal for a group of 30+ Yikes! The luxury of having everything organized for us is over but we are all looking forward to chipping in and helping. All of the expedition members are divided into groups of 5-6, each group having a different task for the day; kitchen, compressor, ground and boat duties. It’s nice to feel part of a well-oiled machine and the 10-weekers are kindly helping us out and showing us the way to do everything.

The 5-weekers have been kept quite busy with the adventure dives for the PADI Advanced open water course, the fish lessons and all the other roles that are new to us. Most of us have now qualified for the Advanced Open Water and the rest of us will this week. Although we didn’t think it would be possible: most of us now know the different species of butterfly fish and angelfish and we are all studying hard to learn the other families as fast as possible.

Besides diving, studying, cooking and cleaning up there are also other things that need to be done on camp. On Tuesday Martha, Elias, Richard and Leoni built a huge hammock for relaxation and a group of volunteers gave a snorkeling lesson to some local children from Mount Fleuri School. The kids loved it almost as much as the volunteers.