Monday, June 13, 2011

06/06/11 Curieuse Weekend Getaways

Let’s start with setting the scene for last weekend...6 of us off to Mahe for our Rescue Diver course – Zoe, Carly, Rachel, Cameron, Harry, Nicola – 3 of us off to La Digue – Nik, Bridget, Lindsay – 2 of us off to Praslin – Steve, Sven – and our dearest Tess stayed on Curieuse to guard the camp with Jax....needless to say how the latter two spent their time...let’s just say there were no more Seybrews left upon our return!

The La Digue excursion for our three 5-week volunteers started on Friday when they were picked up by a tiny yellow boat...after what can only be described as the bumpiest boat ride ever (Nik is still complaining about his bruised left bum-cheek), they arrived in beautiful La Digue! The weekend was simply fun fun fun, riding bikes around the island (some of us, excluding Lindsay of course, had to push the bikes up the hill!). Snorkelling at Les Cocos and Felicity islands was fun, especially the latter as the friendly Hawksbill turtles would literally come and bite our masks! The weekend ended perfectly with a sunset boat ride back to Curieuse...

Our six 10-weekers set off to Mahe to take on the Rescue Diver Course, which started with a very rough ferry trip, making a few volunteers feel unusually seasick. The first day involved practising numerous rescue skills in the water. Whilst practising the ‘panicked diver’ scenario, Tony, our burly instructor, had the chance to try and drown each one of us in turn by thrashing about in the water, pulling out regs and tearing off our masks. Cameron, having nearly won the battle against Tony, came away with war wounds on his forehead and arm! Overall, a full-on day in the sun despite the stinging plankton in the water! The second day involved two different rescue scenarios, requiring us to swim out and tow ‘unconscious victims’ back to shore while giving rescue breaths and locating a ‘lost diver’. Those not playing rescuers or victims were ‘worried family members’, creating a memorable scene on the popular Beau Vallon beach. We returned to our humble island home Sunday night, exhausted but proud to be certified Rescue Divers.

Back on base and tending to our weekly duties, we started the surveys of the endemic palm tree, the Coco de Mer . We’ve also nearly done all the marine survey work and closer to being able to do just fun dives. This week we completed Booby and Point Rouge, which gave all of us a huge sense of achievement as these were both such challenging sites due to rough surges! We also began a different marine survey technique, diversity belts, giving the five weekers their first chance to collect data on coral in addition to the invertebrates they’ve been thus far focused on.

This week we’ve also been visited by lots of dolphins in front of base and at St. Pierre and Booby. During our free time we continue to snorkel in front of base and beyond, spotting lots of white tip sharks and turtles. And of course, we are still holding out hope of seeing our first whale shark!