Wednesday, October 27, 2010

25/10/10 - Desert Island Life

‘Shiver me timbers Matey’ – I think that’s Pirate speak for ‘Hello’!! A worn out greeting from last Friday’s Pirate party. Strangely all the GVI staff and volunteers disappeared from Curieuse and were replaced by peg legged, hook-handed, one-eyed ships mates feasting on freshly grilled Jackfish, Barracuda and more.........and boy (buoy!) did that set us up for what was to be an amazing weekend......

The next morning 12 pirates (oops) volunteers arrived eagerly at the Marine Conservation Society of the Seychelles (MCSS) station hoping to snorkel with whale sharks. The MCSS is run by David Rowat the world’s leading expert on whale sharks. The MCSS microlite had not sighted any in the morning but David & MCSS were keen not to let us down so after a briefing about whale shark conservation and protocol we headed out to a place where several sightings had been made earlier in the week. We weren’t holding out much hope. The sky was grey, cloudy and the rain had a sharp sting as we tore across the water towards the island of Conception. Before long everyone’s patience was rewarded as the first whale shark of the day was ‘spotted’ (excuse the pun) a 6 metre male who wasn’t keen on our company. We swung our legs over the boat, slipping into the water and snorkelled like crazy to keep up with him before he dove deep into the blue... Our 4th whale shark was the best of all, a 3.5 metre juvenile and not used to humans, so he was as curious about us, as we were him! We snorkelled around him for a good 20 minutes sometimes he would just gaze at us while we’d freeze in amazement as to how docile this huge creature was. It was awesome!!! He almost looked like he was smiling.

The rest of the week was a mixture of activities; PADI Advanced reviews, Emergency First Response training and exam (we passed ..yeahh), Coral Exams (we passed...yeahh), and Coral Recruitment Surveying...the reason why most of us are here. GVI is the only organisation that offers the PADI Coral Reef Research Diver Speciality Course. The course enables you to identify newly grown ‘recruits’ corals on the reefs. The data is captured and included by the Australian Institute of marine sciences publication ‘Status of Coral Reefs of the World’ published every 4 years.

Vols have also been busy with BTEC courses in Team Leading and Biological Survey Techniques...our beach is only 5 metres away and it is hard to believe we are so busy that we rarely get a dip...not that any of us our complaining...