Friday, February 19, 2010

Impressions of Curiuse by Jaqui Trassiera

Leaving Mahe on the huge ferry we had our hesitations about coming to the satellite camp on Curieuse Island. Once on Praslin we took a taxi ride to the northern side of the island where Dexter, our trusty little dive boat awaited us. With Carl as our Captain we made the ten minute boat ride to Curieuse. On arriving all our hesitations from before vanished as we all realized what an amazing, beautiful island we would be living on; it was paradise.

Curieuse was once a place where lepers lived and so our kitchen and the staff quarters are built in and around their old houses. The tents where we live are near the back of camp, however they are mainly there to sleep in as most of our socializing is done outside the kitchen or on the beach. The beach, right outside our doorways, with its white, smooth sands is our playground, and the ocean our swimming pool. The water warm and a magnificent turquoise blue is fantastic for snorkeling and diving.

A thirty minute walk from us is the rangers station where you will find the friendliest, loveable giant tortoises. Acting like giant puppy dogs these incredible creatures love having their chins stroked and being petted.

Camp life on Curieuse is relaxed and easy going, however there is still work to be done. We all individually get assigned jobs to do per week, and tent groups rotate between kitchen duties and grounds.

Everyday two people head out with our trusty turtle guide Neil to do turtle walks, one in the morning and one in the evening. Turtle walks involve looking out for their tracks up onto the beach where they lay their eggs. The very fortunate sometimes even spot a turtle about to lay its eggs and bear witness to one of life’s great miracles.

Another daily job is diving. For now most of our diving has consisted of fish spots where a staff member will point to a fish and we have to identify it. We are all eagerly awaiting the day we get signed off on fish spots and can start surveying; the main reason we are all here. Diving around Curieuse Island is a fantastic adventure. Often spotted are sharks, rays, octopus, jellies and turtles. These are incredible moments and I will cherish them forever.

At 18:30 each evening everyone stops what they are doing, grabs a beer or a coke, and heads into the sea to watch the stunning sunset. Friday evening is one everyone looks forward to as it is barbeque and party night, a great time for winding down and more social bonding.

Curieuse is a magical place for dreams to be lived and realized. I personally have found my dream, to work and be a part of a team like this, doing exactly what I’ve always wanted to do.

Curieuse in my opinion is one of earth’s majestic places, with its amazing beaches, stunning forests, and exquisite animal life, and apart from the occasional tourist it really is an island to ourselves.