Monday, January 31, 2011

27/01/11 Geek Week

Well, week two in Camp Curieuse has been - if you will believe it - even better than last week. Us terrestrial lot have been spoilt rotten with the weather and knowledge! The week started off with a visit from a top Coco de Mer scientist, who kindly took the pair of us along with a few members of staff off up into the highest peaks of Curieuse to teach us about these incredible trees, and the habitat in which they survive. I can definitely speak for us all when I say that it was AMAZING! Because Curieuse is magic, and knew that we were going to be out and about, the sun has had his hat on, and camp is loving it!

After we geeked it out with our pals the Coco de Mers we decided that our brains were not yet satisfied, so the next day we went out and played Indiana Jones in de Mangroves, and by playing Indiana Jones I mean performing transect surveys to monitor species diversity and abundance. The local expert on mangroves also came to teach us species identification and the methodology. Feeling totally geeked up now! Also majorly privileged.

Leading from our Coco de Mer excitement on Monday, as we terrestrial girls are so charming we were honored to be invited along with the world expert and his field research team to work along side them, gaining more experience in the magical Vallee de Mai. If you picture a tropical rainforest with 20m tall Coco de Mer palms, and all of the mesmerising wildlife that goes with it you will be able to picture about 10% of how mind blowing this place was. We set off into the jungles with Chris (expert in all things CDM) his recorder Wilna and the spectacular Oobie; we were in the jungle for 6 hours, no break, climbing through the rough terrain up the hills of the vallee, and this guy had a 6m long alluminium ladder on his shoulder! Before we could even reach the tree Oobie was gone, up his ladder swinging through the 12m long palm leaves. It was my birthday and it was easily the most memorable birthday I could have asked for! On this trip Pascal, the World expert on the Black Parrot (extremely rare, found only in Madagascar and our neighbouring island Praslin, although it has also been sighted on Curieuse) took us to where they are located in the Vallee and taught us how to spot them while we are surveying our Coco de Mers, their favourite nesting site.

It’s not all work and no play as we had our Bond themed BBQ on Friday night, which was a little surreal; ladies done up as Bond girls, all glammed up, males in smart dress with palm leaf bow ties - in the middle of the Indian Ocean on a 4 by 2 mile deserted island. We had some casino themed card games while listening to Lady GaGa – it’s all fun in Camp Curieuse!