Tuesday, March 29, 2011

22/03/11 Final Curieuse Marine Blog

For our last weekend we couldn’t resist another shark dive at South Marianne; we were not disappointed as grey reef sharks and a huge marbled ray came out to play. The visibility was almost perfect, as was the abundance and diversity of life down there on what feels like a untapped ‘underwater mountain playground’.

While no one can quite believe our 10 weeks diving is coming to an end, we’ve certainly finished in style; none less than Willem’s landmark 100th dive, for which he donned pretty much nothing at all he clearly loved the freedom but not sure Emily, his dive buddy, felt the same way – put that turtle away!

Congrats to Harry, Willem and Josie on successfuly completing their BTEC in Biological Survey techniques!

After intense weeks of surveying twice a day at our 13 dive sites for fish and invertebrates we went to explore a new site, ‘Burt’s Bank,’ opposite Curieuse, where a hotel complex is under construction. While not quite the Great Barrier Reef, we found some lively little pockets of coral clearly home to quite a few emperors, butterfly fish, groupers and sea cucumbers – in the name of marine conservation we hope future Curieuse volunteers will continue to monitor this site for any change, especially when the big bad tourists arrive.

With surveying done, we threw down our pencils and slates and enjoyed fun dives to our favourite sites. A virtual migration of bengal snappers gave us a spectacular send off at Coral Garden, swarming in an around, on top and under us; octopi and turtles saluted us at Point Rouge, and the lesser spotted juvenile Emperor Angel fish finally showed itself at St Pierre, topping off our tropical fish experience. The ride home was somewhat less fun however in the pouring rain –we may look like we’re enjoying it but we wished it would stop!

It seems fitting that as we say goodbye to our tropical island torrents of rain are falling over the ocean, as this is how we spent our first week here – wet clothes, wet dorms, wet everything. We also have 6 new chicks for the new volunteers to love and torment as we did as the beginning of our phase. Good luck – we started with five but are now down to just two, ‘Chick Norris’ and ‘Puff’.

We’ve shared a truly magical experience both under and out of the water with all our comrades and staff...it may be ending but will never be forgotten. Thank you Curieuse and GVI!

BYE BYE from marine team, phase 1, 2011, Curieuse Blog central