Thursday, November 26, 2009

Wisk vs forks on Curieuse

Picking up where we left off last time, the 5 weekers experienced their first days off. A hike to Badamier beach and Praslin’s internet cafĂ© marked the end of their first long week. The new week brought with it some firsts for surveying and diving as well as two birthdays. Our new chickens have finally acquired permanent names, Razzle Dazzle and The Brain and they can often be seen wandering around camp in search of giant centipedes or just being held in the air.

The first Coco de Mer walk of the 2nd half of the phase was a complete success with the team of Lars, Diana, Lyns, Seth, Ben, and Carl surveying, a new record, 31 trees. I’m sure the rest of the volunteers can’t wait for their chance. The first coral exam is planned for this afternoon and the 5 weekers have been dutifully studying hard. They got a slight break this week when Mario came from Cap Ternay to go through the Coral Reef Research Diver and EFR (Emergency First Responder) courses with them. They are now all certified to handle any situations in which they might find someone with a deckchair up their nose.

Electrical equipment that has been on the fritz for the past couple weeks has finally been fixed by Mr. Ben from parts that recently arrived on a jumbo jet. With the new lights we can now clearly see what Ben looks like without his beard…let’s just say he may need to bury all his clothes. Ingenuity continued with Dickon fashioning a whisk out of a small metal strainer for the purpose of speeding up the process of making Ange’s Island Mayonnaise, a Curieuse favorite. Previously made with a fork, a war wages on between him and Diana as to whose mayo, fork or whisk, reigns supreme.

Both Lyns and Steph celebrated their birthdays this week and in honor of that we ate a delicious cake made by Rach and homemade presents. Some of the volunteers misunderstood the “be creative” assignment and as a result painted their left knees green for the occasion.

Also this week we’ve started surveying two new dive sites, Coral Gardens and Northwest Rocks. Just swimming around and trying to find them without exact coordinates is almost like extracting your wisdom teeth. Found on our second try, Coral Gardens turned out to be a really cool site with lots of large, colorful colonies and tons of invertebrates. On the megafauna front, a pod of dolphins seem to have taken up residence around Curieuse and keep being spotted by the daily turtle walkers. Some mornings you can also see them swimming around our boat, Dexter.

This weekend we’ve all planned to make a trip to La Digue. I’m sure the 5 weekers are looking forward to no coral lectures and possibly forming a string quartet. It looks to be a fun and relaxing trip. Until next time, Keith.