Monday, August 15, 2011

12/08/11 Curieuse to La Digue

Our 5th weekend in the Sunny Seychelles took us to La Digue Island – a short 20 minute boat ride from our base on Curieuse. Everyone was ready and raring for a celebratory last weekend, as six out of the twelve of us were due to leave the following Friday! Before settling into our excellently priced bungalows, we hit the bicycle hire shop and took out some transportation for the following two days. After having our first hot shower during our time here and a wonderful nights sleep the the plan was to visit the pituresque Coco Island to expericence some more up-close Hawksbill turtle swimming. Well, that was the plan... Until a slightly overconfident captain and somewhat holey boat led us to sink. Although expectations were lowered dramatically by this unforseeable event, we got lucky by seeing two beautiful hawksbill turtles wallowing in the shallows after abandoning the boat to the sorrowful captain... and scholar Charlie. We all left the ordeal slightly shocked and bewildered, but the experiance will never be forgotten and the once in a lifetime photos we managed to take will stay with us forever. The rest of the weekend was extremely relaxed and chilled – mostly consisting of trips to the beach and internet cafe to talk to friends and loved ones. A night out in the famous ‘Extra’ (the only ‘club’ on La Digue) on Saturday was also exremely good fun and everone had an incredible and (mostly) chilled out last weekend.

The first five weeks of our phase have produced valuable scientific data for GVIs local partners and the government. In total, 23 surveys have been completed – a huge accomplishment considering most if not all volunteers completed the EFR training, Advanced Open Water Diver, Coral Reef Research Diver, and learning many species of fish and invertebrates - amongst numerous lectures , orientations and documentaries to help us become familiarised with base. We also managed to fit in two sessions of community work – teaching children on the local Baie St Anne School on Praslin about Sea Turtles and Whale sharks which was very worth while.

A fruitful 5 weeks of diving have let to many sighting of interesting marine wildlife, including: shark, octopus, lobster, bumhead parrotfish, turtles, cowfish, dolphins, and of course the exhillerating sea cucumbers.

Spending so much time with people who before you didnt know atall was a sharp contrast from our usual lives. However, the close-net living suited every one one of us and we have met some spectacular people and made some wonderful friends that we hope to stay in contact with in the far future. Things we will particularly miss include Jans God-like gift to open coconuts, Tuggys fancy dress costume and bagpipes, Nicola’s ability to control all that happens in the kitchen, Edd’s niche choice of haircut, Georgie’s neverending patience (especially with Edd) and Chris attempting to sharpen a pencil with a machete.

We will be sad to see our 6 companions go, and look forward to meeting the new volunteers. Goodbye Chris, Nicola, Tarjei (Daisy/Tuggy,) Edd, Georgie and Jan (Dark Horse) and a warm welcome to our new arrivals.