Saturday, October 10, 2009

Curieuse lovely Curieuse......

Well, it has now been a full week since we arrived on Curieuse Island. Last Friday, eight of us were bundled into a bus, destined for a special, first-time volunteer mission based on the Island of Curieuse. Bus, ferry, taxi and boat, the MV Dexter Crabtree, all took us to our new home for the next 5 or 10 weeks - The Substrate, at Anse Jose, Curieuse Island, Seychelles. Hosted by GVI staff: Ben, Rach, Colin and Tom, and Trevor the nudibranch, we all have been put through our coral paces and getting used to life as a volunteer coral researcher in paradise.

The first few days were tough, early morning rises and lots to learn. Fortunately, pristine beaches, giant tortoises, tropical vegetation, great stars, Seybrew®, plenty of marine and terrestrial biodiversity, and a great bunch of people have assisted our transition to tent living, limited showers, and a serious coral workload. In Tent 1, The Serrated Costas, we have Seth (USA), Diana (USA), Steph (England) and Ross (England), and in Tent 2, The Protruding Septas, we have Fiona (Scotland), Susan (England), Matt (England) and Ange (Australia).

In between learning the difference between Goniopora Poritiidae and Pavona Agariciidae, we have been learning how to use the compressor, cook feasts for the team, check out the giant tortoises at the ranger base, snorkel in Stingray Alley, clean up the camp and we have been learning not to step on sea urchins.

Mario from the Cap Ternay GVI base arrived on Wednesday to teach us emergency first response, oceanography, coral reef research methods and the importance of scientific research. In between funny stories about smoking chickens he managed to pass on the necessary skills to pass our EFR and PADI Coral Reef Research Diver course! Other recent achievements included learning to write coral names whilst diving upside down, and covering reefs with measuring tape – all in the name of science of course!
After a week of lentils and other delicious treats, we are looking forward to a BBQ dinner tonight, and a weekend relaxing on the nearby Praslin Island. Watch this space…