Friday, October 23, 2009

Let's get down to business.....

We are coming to the end of another fun filled and exciting week here at GVI Seychelles, and the volunteers are progressing in leaps and bounds. The majority of volunteers have now passed their coral exam, and continue to be assessed on their ability to identify corals underwater.

The week began with two Coral Reef Researcher dives, during which volunteers learnt how to use tape measures, quadrates, and their buoyancy to survey the reef reliably and accurately. It is remarkable that so much life can be seen in one small area of the reef, and there are many tiny corals lurking under overhangs and hidden within the living rock. The crystal clear waters in the bay provide great visibility, allowing the vibrant colours of both the coral and fish to be admired. We are always entertained under the water, and all appreciate the diversity of corals that occupy the reef; something we might have overlooked three weeks ago before our study. Each dive promises something new, and every day throws us something special.

Wednesday saw our second turtle dive of the phase, which proved very productive. Three turtles were seen in the bay, and the data collected will be processed and used by MCSS (the Marine Conservation Society of the Seychelles). The volunteers are proud that their sightings will contribute to the conservation of the endangered turtle species that inhabit the Seychelles’ waters. Wednesday also means plankton. More plankton has been collected and continues to provide information on the movement of whale sharks.

Emergency First Response training also formed an important part of last week. Everyone was educated in the responsibilities of an Emergency First Responder, and what should be done to deal with a variety of first aid scenarios and situations. This included accessing causalities for injuries, administering CPR, and dealing with bleeding and illness. Each volunteer was given the chance to practice what they had learnt, and the outrageous scenarios acted out provided a great deal of amusement for the group, whilst relaying an important message and equiping the volunteers with vital life saving skills.

Finally, the volunteers are eagerly anticipating a talk about whale sharks at the end of the week, which will be given by David Rowan.