Friday, December 4, 2009

Megafauna week

Being chauffeured around on a private boat, staying on a tropical island, eating good food, and spending time with great people is not a bad way to spend your 21st birthday and I think Steph would agree. I think we all wish we could spend our birthdays this way. A nice relaxing weekend on La Digue left us well rested and ready to came back to work on Monday for week 3/8.
After long hours studying flashcards, reviewing workshops, and going on coral spots, all the 5 weekers have passed their coral exams. Whew! They’ve now started practice quads and should be ready to survey in no time. The 10 weekers have made sure to fill them in on all the fun that’s in store for them and they can’t wait. Coral recruitment surveys and invertebrate belts have been going really well and several of the sites have already been finished but there is still plenty of work left to do.

In honor of Thanksgiving, which was this past Thursday, the Americans, Diana and Seth, cooked the rest of the camp a delicious dinner. In true American tradition they made a lot of food; mashed potatoes, corn, gravy, pumpkin soup, apple pie, and 2 kinds of stuffing. The staff even got 3 chickens for the occasion. Not to worry, Razzle Dazzle and The Brain are safe. Everyone had a great evening and it was nice to celebrate a family tradition from home with our new family here on Curieuse.

We had a new staff member, Neil, arrived on Tuesday fresh off the plane from England. He is a turtle expert heading a new GVI program that is starting soon in Greece and he’ll be spending the rest of the phase with us. He’s not a diver but we’re not holding that against him as he does make himself useful around camp and with all of our turtle work. He’s yet to cook anything for us but we’re hoping he can show us a recipe or two.
Neil’s arrival has prompted the turtles to come out in force to nest on the beaches here on Curieuse. This week staff and volunteers alike have witnessed at least 5 turtles nesting during the day, as well as numerous turtle tracks up and down the island. However, its not only the adults that have been making an appearance, this week Neil, Ben, Lars and Anita got to see the first turtle hatchlings.

This week has brought with it lots of megafauna. The 5 weekers have been seeing sharks and devil rays almost every dive while the 10 weekers can’t seem to get away from turtles and octopus. Today some of the volunteers even managed to see a 3.5 meter long lemon shark. The species is still under debate but whatever it was it was big!
Weekend plans include a much awaited trip to Mahe for a night dive. Advertised by the locals as one of the best dives to do in the Seychelles, even the staff is excited. Hopefully we’ll be able to get in a day dive as well so we can get a taste of what the Cap Ternay folk get to see. With only a couple weekends left, it’s hard to believe we’ve been here for this long already. I know everyone feels as though the weeks have just flown by and we all wish it would slow done.