Thursday, August 25, 2011

22/08/11 Curieuse vols get Mucky in the Mangroves

Week 7 got off to a flying start with two birthdays celebrated on camp – our wonderful scholar Charlie and our budding Swiss chef Cedric. Cakes were made to celebrate and we all had a great time on Friday and Saturday nights.

With the newcomers now being new ‘Emergency First Responders’ the path was paved for some scenarios to be created by the 10 weekers and staff to put their new life-saving knowledge and skill to the test. A fake fall from a ladder involved Hanna and Joe as victims (and Tom as the annoying bystander.) All the 5-weeks gelled well, showed that their hard study was not in vain and Joe learnt that ketchup is not a good substitute for fake blood.

The marine aspect of the week was also very fruitful from Monday to Wednesday – with many surveys completed and the newer volunteers learning species of invertebrates to survey on top of the fish they already know well. Sightings have included more White Tip Reef sharks, octopus, lobster, a beautiful meter-long Green Turtle and a pod of over 12 dolphins seen by Willem on the boat. A double-tank dive at ‘Booby’ (the hardest and furthest away dive site) completed all the survey work needed at the site for the entire phase, demonstrating the efficient survey skills the volunteers have learnt over the last 7 weeks.

After returning from the dives, staff and volunteers were shocked to hear news that a second shark attack at ‘Anse Lazio’ on neighbouring Praslin had occured. As a precaution the government therefore had introduced a temporary diving and water activity ban around the two islands. This of course affects us on Curieuse, and although were disappointed that for the time being we are unable to dive, we are happy that we are all safe and that the incredibly rare incidents are being taken seriously by the local government. We are now also able to complete a lot of terrestrial surveys that we would have done later in the phase otherwise – such as vital mangove surveys and census of the endemic and beautiful Coco de Mer trees that dwell on top of the island.

Despite the tragic news, the camp attitude remains good and a brilliantly devised ‘Treasure hunt’ by Izzy and Mervi was intensely enjoyed by all volunteers – with ‘Team Meyers’ winning the prize of 5 chocolate bars! Blissfuly content is a good phase to express life on our exquisite Island despite the recent news, but we can’t wait to get back in the water again, hopefully soon.

With Love from Curieuse...

Happy Birthday Charlie!