Sunday, December 13, 2009

Great 10 week adventure to an end on Curieuse

4 degrees south of the equator. 1200 miles off the east coast of Africa. 2 boat rides away from Mahe and in the middle of a marine park lies a beautiful island that we’ve all learned to call home; Curieuse Island. When we were first told that we were coming to this new base camp, we were all a little wary as to what we might find. Knowing very little about the island or what we would be doing, we boarded a little boat named Dexter and our Curieuse expedition began.

Five or 10 weeks later as we leave on the same, now much beloved, boat, I know we are all thinking the same thing. How lucky we were to have gotten to spend the time, experience the adventures, and make the memories we did.
For some people this GVI program was an escape from the daily grind. For others a chance to rethink their priorities and jumpstart further travels. For all of us, though, it was in the hope of making an impact on the world, however small.

There are a special few who have managed to make this expedition part of their daily life. The staff on Curieuse has spent the past 3 months working nonstop to provide for us volunteers an official base on the island and to make it the best that it could be. What started as just an idea, has turned into a true reality. I think we can all safely, and happily, say that all their efforts have been a complete success. To Rach, Ben, Colin, Carl, and even to Tom and Mario, a big thanks for making our time here unforgettable. There have been so many great moments over the past 5/10 weeks that it’s hard to narrow them all down. A very first night dive. Getting to see turtles nest during the day after years of seeing it only in the dark. Learning about Coco de Mers and 49 families of coral. Seeing countless sharks, turtles, rays, dolphins, and of course Trevor the nudibranch. Island life. Celebrating old traditions (birthdays, the 5th of November, Thanksgiving) with new friends. Witnessing snails fly through the air and, coincidentally, into trees. Spending the weekends exploring the nearby islands of La Digue, Praslin, Aride, and Mahe. Raising our chickens, Razzle Dazzle and The Brain. Fun diving off Booby.

Waking up to the sound of the ocean every morning. Seeing the veggie patch finally produce something edible (and delicious). Blowing out the candles on your breakfast birthday cookies, going on a dive, and then back for more birthday cake after dinner. Commando crawling up to a nesting turtle. Spending two weeks dutifully studying and then finally getting to do your first unsupervised quad. Swimming into a cave and sneaking up on a 3.5 meter lemon shark…or nurse shark. Experiencing the pleasures of daily diving. Learning to make 30 different recipes out of lentils, potatoes, and onions. All of us packing into Midgey trying to get the mooring buoy in place. Dancing in the kitchen on Friday nights. Rat and giant centipede pest control. Watching the tourists leave and realizing that we really are living on our very own private island.

But first and foremost, having Curieuse base camp up and running and getting to be a part of it.
It’s been a great adventure and we’re all sad to see it come to an end. From all of us here on Curieuse: Rach, Ben, Colin, Carl, Neil, Diana, Seth, Steph, Lyns, Lars, Anita, and Dickon. We wish you goodbye and happy travels.