Thursday, October 14, 2010

15/10/10 The new GVI Seychelles terrestrial expedition is up and running!

We arrived on Friday morning 1st October to Praslin after a pretty ropey excessively air conditioned ferry ride over from Mahé and were met by the bronzed Adonis that is Carl the project manager. We then went in shifts with our bags onto Dexter the powerful GVI boat and off we went to Curieuse Island our home for the next 10 weeks. The island is absolutely picture postcard beautiful with white sands and clear blue sea. Camp is just off the beach and used to be a leper colony so there are husks of solid granite houses some of which have been given a roof and made into the kitchen, kit room, and 2 houses for the volunteers to sleep in – it’s very basic but there’s everything we need, apart from a toilet but we’re soon to be building those but for now it’s a 5 minute walk to the doctors house where the old leper doctor used to live.

I’m one of two people in the 1st 5 weeks involved with the terrestrial project where were responsible for monitoring turtles, the endemic Coco de Mer trees, helping the rangers with the giant tortoises and will soon be helping with regeneration of the mangrove forest.

We’ve been doing an awful lot of walking on our daily turtle walks around the island and today we were lucky enough to spot a couple of hatchlings who were trying to make their way to the sea. This was very exciting as they are normally only present at night so even the staff were excited. We even saved a little fellow who I found stuck on his back and led him down to the sea to make his way into the big wide world. I have faith that little Heathcliffe (as I named him) will be the Lina Loo hatchling that grows up and becomes father to many and rules the seas!!

We were also lucky enough to visit Praslin yesterday with Chris Kaiser, who is the world’s leading expert on the Coco de Mer trees. He took us into the valley de Mai a world heritage site to watch and help with their monitoring of the huge Coco de Mer trees so that we can get a better idea of how to monitor the trees on our island – very interesting if a little bit of a sweaty day.

We also go on turtle snorkels as well as walks where we saw a couple of lovely hawksbill turtles today just going about their business. Our job is to watch them and log down everything they do, whether it is resting eating or breeding.

All in all it’s been great so far, looking forward to the turtles coming up onto the sand to nest and chasing them down the beach to measure their shells.

Curieuse is home to a number of Giant Tortoises

And a healthy population of Hawksbill Turtles



Anonymous said...

Sounds a brilliant project - where and when will we be able to read about your findings?