Thursday, October 6, 2011

05/10/11 Arriving in Paradise

Arriving just three days ago, the numerous sightings of interesting wildlife and tight knit bonds which have formed quickly within our groups have made us all feel as though we have been here for weeks.

After a quick initial orientation of the camp, a mad dash with snorkels and masks to the back beach was made to spot the baby lemon sharks that the staff had told us about. Two were spotted within the mangroves within the first 20 minutes!!

On the first day, the time before dinner was spent settling within our dorms and getting to know what we refer to now as our ‘Family’. It’s important to form a united front when you have intruded on a nest of wasps, spiders and blister bugs!

The following day the staff gave us a full orientation of our new home, which included the fruit tour. Growing on base are mangos, coconuts, guavas, breadfruit, cinnamon and herbs. A thorough demonstration on how (and how not) to use a machete allowed us to get picking.

Soon enough studies began! Coral workshops, EFR training and, for some, the advanced diving course; we opened our text books and with the help of the knowledgeable staff (and some of their interesting methods for remembering coral names) got stuck in.

Sunday we had our first dive! For many it had been a while since they had last adventured under the water with all the scuba gear. Differentiating between inflating and deflating your BCD has proved essential when tested on your buoyancy skills. Not to mention it is rather embarrassing when you reach the surface unintentionally (doh)!! Another experienced diver had classically quoted before the dive when looking at her compass “How do I know which is North?”

This week we begin our duties. Cooking for 40 or so people and keeping hungry divers happy with limited resources certainly involves some creativity. The first team cooked a tasty meal of lentil burgers which kept even the carnivores satisfied!

It’s been a great start for phase 30. High spirits have been kept despite the influx of rain and the majority have found memorising the first set of corals a breeze!

Keep checking in on the Seychelles blog for updates and progress of phase 30. It’s definitely Seychelles best phase yet!