Tuesday, February 22, 2011

20/02/11 Week Six from Cap Ternay

So, unlike almost every other weekday, today we didn’t dive. Poor ol’ Manta (the boat!) has a broken starboard engine (or right-hand engine for those not so familiar with sea terminology). So last night at our daily after-dinner briefing it was announced that instead of diving we would be getting our daily dose of exercise from climbing the nearby Cap Matoopa – not a mountain, just a small 30 minute walk up a ‘hill’! Personally at 7am on a Friday morning, I felt like ignoring the idea of a hike in favour of my favourite teenage pastime – sleeping. After 30 minutes of tossing and turning, I felt guilty for being lazy and decided to put on my old pair of £20 ‘no-grip’ trainers and do something a little different.

At 8am, 13 volunteers and 4 staff members left the comfort zone of base and began their morning hiking. Many of us met our first challenge before the ‘hill’ even began – getting past the high tide was pretty difficult! I mean, wet shoes and soggy feet is an awful tragedy for anyone! Albeit relatively minor compared to the rest of the hike… not that we knew that then!

The first section of the hike was ok – we had a path to follow and knew the route (our fruit walk of the first week had taken us there). After 20 minutes of this ‘easy walk’, the path pretty much stopped and we began a mixture of rock climbing and jungle hiking! The whole group still pushed through and overcame the worst of this climb to reach the top; or what we thought was the turn. If we turned right it led us to a dead end, and turning left meant walking through thicker shrubs with larger climbs and falls. We turned left. This meant we would be climbing over reasonable sized boulders and scrambled through another overgrown jungle. It would be safe to say that at this point we had all worked off our breakfast and worked up a healthy sweat! Yet we still pushed on. Just when we thought the walk was over and we’d made it, we looked up. A nice litter (or not!) rock formation was staring back at us. Not wanting to admit defeat, fear or exhaustion, we kept quiet (well, aside from a few sarcastic comments!) and continued to walk – although it was now definitely more like mountain climbing – out came the secret adventurer in all of us! After 50 minutes of uphill hiking and rivers of sweat, we had successfully reached the top! Not one member of the group had given up or turned back. Nothing could have prepared us for the view that would welcome us to the top! I have no idea how high the Cap actually was, but we were definitely on top of the world! I can’t even begin to describe the views; just have a look at the photos. A good hour of photos, wow-ing and general admiration of the area we happily call home followed, as well as a realisation of just how far we walk out in to the bay with our kit on every day! No one even complained about the hill because everything we’d just been through was worth it. No one was in a rush to leave and head back down to sea level.

After a while, it eventually became time to leave. Great! It’s much easier on the way back down… supposedly! After struggling to find the route we’d taken up and jumping between rocks and gaps which looked a lot smaller going up, we found the original path, but not before having the navigate through an area of densely packed trees. Thankfully my cheap trainers with no grip held out and safely allowed me to stay on my feet, other than a few minor slips. Once on our correct path, we went back down to ground level in no time – we proved it is easier to go down than up! A couple of us even multi-tasked and picked up some logs for the Friday night BBQ. Back at base, everyone flocked to the showers – never have cold showers been appreciated so much!

As I sit here writing this, I feel a sense of accomplishment. I am not the fittest of healthiest member of the group by a long way and hiking is definitely not much favourite way to get exercise, but today me and most of my Seychelles family put our determined heads on and conquered Cap Matoopa and we conquered it well. The bruises, the scratches, the blisters and the extreme sweating that were sharing around were all worth it. So next time you consider lying in bed over doing something that requires a little bit of effort, think again!!

P.s. This afternoon consisted of us watching a film called ‘SharkWater’. If you find yourself reading this and are bored/wondering what to do with your day now… watch it and educate yourselves! You won’t be sorry.