Friday, August 12, 2011

10/08/11 Welcome to Cap Ternay

Stepping off the plane at 3 O’Clock in the morning after a long flight with no sleep but a smile crosses my face as I look across the tarmac and I know that paradise is out there in the dark. Armand, our taxi driver, greets me with a smile and a handshake for the start of a long drive in the night to the GVI base, enthusiastically telling me the latest news about the Seychelles and how to get around the island. Chris, the Program Coordinator for the Seychelles , welcomes me on base (the only person up at 4 o’clock in the morning).

More 5-Week volunteers arrive as I wake after a short sleep to a warm welcome from the staff as they rise for breakfast and coffee. Out the window, cool, misty rain drifts past the green hills that wrap around the base, coconut and mango trees everywhere.

The base is organized, dry and livable with friendly locals (bats, geckos, two kittens, and the occasional cow or two) to keep us company at night. This week’s crisis is a water-shortage which has made life interesting, bucket showers and endless tub-filling and carrying.

This is the first week for the new 5 – Week volunteers settling into a new home and the GVI life. A weekend of orientation, endless smiling faces and greetings, a fun snorkel, in-water dive skills and then the work starts. PADI Advanced Open Water, fish studies and our base duties keep us impossibly busy with the Friday Night Party and our first weekend off to aim for as we battle our way through the mayhem of daily life in GVI Cap Ternai.

Our dives are filled with mixed feelings as the excitement of Whale Shark sightings on the dive by one group of divers is mixed with disappointment when other groups fail to sight a Whale Shark. Still, the Whale Shark sighting lifts everyone’s spirits on base as it hails the start of the Whale Shark season in the Seychelles and we know that there will be more arriving in our bay in days to come.

Eagle rays in full flight and our resident Hawkesbill turtles add excitement to our fish-spotting and surveying dives, keeping us happy while we patiently wait for the ultimate prize… a Whale Shark sighting.