Friday, October 9, 2009

Phase 94 has begun!

The latest GVI Seychelles phase has just begun, and things are going swell. 23 new volunteers are now based at Cap Ternay, Mahe and 8 volunteers on the smaller island of Curieuse.

This phase will focus mainly on coral surveys, with additional studies and surveys of inverts, turtles, Coco De Mer and plankton. The volunteers will also get the chance to teach children from a local school about the importance of the oceans and protecting the environment.

The fresh set of volunteers have arrived from around the globe, travelling from America, Australia, Belgium, England, France, Germany, Holland, Singapore, and Switzerland. With a common interest in the marine environment and a thirst for knowledge, they ‘dived’ head first into the workshops, duties, and of course, Bay Ternay where the practise coral spots and the PADI Advanced students are learning peak performance techniques and navigational skills amongst others.

The volunteers were not short of excitement when they arrived on their first day, only to be greeted by juvenile Lemon Sharks, Spotted Eagle Rays, and Green Turtles. Hopes and expectations could not be higher.

A strong sense of community has already developed in camp, centred around group projects to construct a chicken coop and provide eggs for the camp. Ideas to extend the vegetable garden and build a tiki hut are also in the mix. The camp duties have been introduced to the volunteers, and everyone is eager to pull their weight and build upon the community feel.

For those who did not arrive with their PADI Advanced Open Water certification, the first week has been spent working towards obtaining the certification. This has involved a variety of speciality dives. A group favourite was the ‘deep’ dive, during which Laura, Annika, Adela and Curtis ‘got narked’ at 90ft. Fun times! Meanwhile, those already qualified began their first coral spot dives, which allowed them to take what they had learnt out of the classroom and into the reef.

Cooking duties have been a joy rather than a chore, with each group trying their hand at something new and exciting, with a particularly daring group attempting a delicious homemade quiche. We’d be lying if we said people didn’t go back for a second portion. It was a great success. Hats off to Curtis the pastry chef (well done to his mum for teaching him!).

There have been some trials, not everyone being used to the early rises but everyone has settled in and things are starting to run like a well oiled machine. Workshops are almost complete and the first exam is on Tuesday but first the weekend begins at Cap Ternay, more news and photos to follow from Curieuse tomorrow.......