Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Settling In

Well where do I begin. I was asked to write a blog for Curieuse, so I guess I will start right from the beginning and the slight surprise that hit me when we were told to put on clothes that can get wet, when we were picked up. Soon I understood why. All of us “new” volunteers, who are Alex, Jan, Sophie, Serena and me (Dina) got picked up and brought to the ferry in Victoria, which took us to Praslin, the 2nd biggest island of the Seychelles. We got picked up by the one and only Sally, who couldn’t hide her shock when she saw ALL of our bags J Anyway we got everything into two taxis and hoped that everything would fit into “Dexter” – the Curieuse dive boat and our new best friend, and Carl’s reason for nightmares. We met Seth, one of the other good “souls” around here, and loaded all our bags and ourselves to the boat. Slowly and steadily we made our fifteen minute journey over the ocean up to Curieuse Island. With every minute more excited about where we would stay for our next 5 weeks, and our headtorches on we hit Curieuse where Carl, the “manager” gave us a warm welcome. Almost dark we just got a slight idea of what the place would be like during sunshine – or for the next few days – during rain. We were shown our tents, made ourselves more or less comfortable for the night and then got an introduction about living on Curieuse. Generator off, lights off, time to go to sleep, at 8:30 p.m.

7:00 - Wake up call and island life could begin. The first few days were quite packed for us new ones. We had to learn how everything works around here, getting all our duties done and we started to study invertebrates. We were all eager to go diving for the first time and enjoy the colourful world under the sea.

7:15 BREAKFAST!!!! Or should I say porridge which everyone loves a little bit. Some of us have just crawled out of their beds, others have already gone for a swim, the whole camp is coming alive. The routine slowly comes to us, and we are fulfilling our tasks, still studying invertebrates and had our first dives.

When we aren’t diving we are having lectures and study time. By Tuesday, as we are fast learners (at least that’s what we are told) we had passed our invertebrates exams and were ready to face them under the water. We also had a walk with Seth through the mangroves to see the giant tortoises and to get to know the island a little more.

12:00 LUNCH!!!!!! Whoever is on duty cooks for the whole team. It takes quite a while to get used to cooking for 12 people but with the assistance of Sally and Katie, encouraging words from others and the tolerant taste of all, this works out fine as well.

12:45 Kit up time, 13:00 team B is heading out to dive. The most challenging thing is to get everything that we need on and off the boat. With the help of each other we make it and as Seth would say: “Cheers man” to everybody.

And then, when your face touches water and you dive into this other world, full of peace and tranquility you are amazed, staring at sea cucumbers, sea stars, shells and since yesterday also at corals (Well once in a while I catch myself looking out for the different fish as well, but pssst, pls don’t tell!)

16:30 - Study/workshop time for the new ones. Jaq and Lotte who are doing the 10 weeks are lucky; they have been already through this. Sally fills our heads with Latin names, underwater pictures and hints such as “looks like baked beans”, or “fish eggs” etc. All together we go through flashcards and we discuss which species it might be. After we are all more or less self assured in our studies we head off to cook dinner, have a shower, swim or just relax for some time on this beautiful island.

18:30 DINNER!!!!! The “quality” time on Curieuse begins. Work almost done, we - very hungry again – are waiting for another delicious meal to come. And again it’s shown, that someone doesn’t need a lot of ingredients to cook something tasty. We are all sitting around a huge table, chatting, sipping a beer or soda.

The kitchen is waiting for a last clean and then we have our briefing for the next day followed by chill out time for everyone. Some of us, directly go from the chill out mode into the sleeping mode, while others stay up, chat, read a book or write their log books.

Around 21:00 the generator’s off, lights off and it’s sleeping time. Another sunny day is waiting for us at the end of the night.

Dina Weindl