Friday, September 9, 2011

07/09/11 The Final week at Cap Ternay

Week 10 has arrived yet this adventure seems so fresh still. Some new faces joined us on Cap Ternay and what a week to join; Brian revealed that we would be at each other’s throats once more as we wander around the base, beach and boat handing items of various nature to unsuspecting friends (Murder Mystery Game round 2!). The Curieuse volunteers (between their diving experiences with the Underwater Center) really got into it which was fantastic. Some of the murders included: death by fin sock on boat, Seybrew on the beach, hat behind the stoves, piece of cheese by the hammock, etc… Holly was the overall winner as the murdering temptress killed relentlessly (5 kills) with an honorable mention to Julie for staying alive with 3 kills. The Friday night BBQ/Braii was half Curieuse half GVI peeps as most went out for the weekend to explore the island one last time. Whale shark sightings have been few around the north part of the island but they are expected to increase tremendously as Whale Shark Season has officially taken flight the 1st of September. This means the microlite (tiny plane with two bicycle seats) takes its daily trip around Mahe spotting whale sharks in the sea below whilst recording the GPS to report back to MCSS (Marine Conservation Society Seychelles).

Sadly our week of new faces had to come to a close since they left abruptly early on Sunday morning (all of us at Cap Ternay who didn’t get to say farewell wish we had. Thanks for an amazing week you guys, we hope you enjoyed yourselves as much as we did ). Although our stay here is coming to an unbelievably fast close there are still a few projects to tidy up. Julie, Josh and Dainty-Dane have made some serious headway and have completed the garden areas. Cap Ternay will be drowning in tomatoes and lettuce in no time. Cleaning is no longer restricted to base as we now have expanded our target area. As a part of Project Aware (thank you PADI), we had Dive for Debris; 3 teams covering the whole bay. Each piece of rubbish without any encrusting coral growth was removed from the reef, taken a photo of, and then recorded to send off to Project Aware. Back beach was in far worse shape seeing as the tides bring in Port Launay’s garbage. The entire base spread out along the beach and through the mangroves as we collected 5 full bags of rubbish. Maddy was a very brave gal as she endured 75+ mosquito bites in less than 15 minutes; she is alive and well though thanks to Holly’s Asian Stuff. Our last briefing took place that night informing us of the last plankton pull as well as set of fun dives taking place Wednesday. It’s a race to the top of the leaderboard as Dainty Dane tries a third time to take over David’s 9 week record of 43 seconds; Can Dainty do it?

More competition is afoot as Joe revealed the photos entered for the photo competition. We voted for the best of the best in 5 categories: flora and fauna, people, landscape, macro and conservation. We’ll find out the winners on Thursday night (the absolute final night here at Cap Ternay) alongside a few presentations reminiscing about the past few weeks and their involving memories. Following the plankton pulls and dives will be the 10 week BBQ in which much food will be ingested at ridiculous amounts; reminds me of an American thanksgiving really. Its hard to think about leaving Baie Ternay and all of its inhabitants. How does one say goodbye? How are we to leave with nothing but photographs and engraved memories? Well, that’s exactly how we’re to leave seeing as we are on a conservation trip. We take no shells or coral from the ocean, we just remember that hawksbill turtle encounter that comes so close to your mask it practically gives you a kiss, or maybe the ribbon eel that attempts to eat that dangling pencil from your dive slate. How about being engaged in what seems to be the world’s largest school of fusiliers as another school of sweepers suspends above you? But who could forget the 4.5m whale shark gliding underneath you as it comes to the surface and you make brief but lasting eye contact? Its not all about the sea though. Walking across base and hearing various laughs from volunteers and staff, cooking together in the kitchen, naps on the hammock in the sunshine with a slight breeze, Friday night BBQ’s, boat rides in which the bow dips into the ocean and we all fear for our lives, chuckling uncontrollably with your mates about who knows what; all of these together have made this expedition unbelievably remarkable. Its hard to go back to regular life once you are done at Cap Ternay. Like Frodo Baggins who needed one more adventure, who couldn’t just sit in the Shire; that’s how I feel. The 5 and 10 weekers will return to their home to return to daily life. I’ll be going on to fill a scholar position on Curieuse for 10 weeks and the dive masters will be placed at their dive centers for 12 weeks. No matter where a GVI volunteer returns or goes, the adventure lives on and we carry pieces of GVI with us. We take conservation home, we tell our mates what a trip its been and we are filled with marvelous memories.