Friday, November 20, 2009

Nesting turtles spotted

We are now halfway through week seven; how time flies when you’re having so much fun! The ten week volunteers are settled into their coral and invertebrate survey roles, whilst the fresh five week volunteers are preparing for their first coral exam on Thursday. Survey work has now begun around numerous dive sites in the North West of Mahe, not only providing data on the population of juvenile corals, but also giving the volunteers a chance to explore different reefs and the fascinating flora and fauna that reside in them.

Monday gave two volunteers, Curtis and Richard, the opportunity to aid MCSS in their turtle research. This involved joining a member of the organisation on a patrol of the island’s Southerly beaches, noting any turtle nesting tracks found, cases of potential poaching, and tagging nesting turtles found on the beaches. It proved to be a very rewarding day, in which they were lucky enough to see two female Hawksbill turtles clambering up the same beach at the same time! One turtle returned to the water, whilst the other proceeded to find a nesting spot and lay her eggs. It was an unforgettable experience, and the volunteers were able to tag the turtle, take a DNA sample, and mark the nest.

The week also began with celebration, as our ten week volunteer Laura turned 21! We are all looking forward to this weekend, when we can buy her a drink or two and celebrate in style. The chocolate cake, baked by Adela, was AMAZING.

All the new five week volunteers have been treated to coral workshops, oceanography talks, conservation chats…the whole works. It’s a recipe for success and they are all learning fast and are already a cemented part of the camp community. It is a great advantage that the ten week volunteers can pass on what they have learnt, and aid in teaching and study. Good luck for the test on Thursday guys!