Monday, February 20, 2012

20/02/12 It's a Curieuse Life

Terrestrial Curieuse (by Saskia Geluk)

I was really excited to start this project on the beautiful uninhabited island of Curieuse in the Seychelles. To get from Praslin to Curieuse we were picked up by the GVI boat, ‘The Flying Dutchman’, with GVI Dive Officer Anthony skippering. I joined the three terrestrial volunteers who had been working on Curieuse for the past month; Vicky, Duncan and Connor. They told me their ‘explosion story’ which they had experienced a couple of weeks ago; this being an explosion of hawksbill turtle hatchlings (baby turtles who have just come out of their eggs) making their way to the ocean. How great would that be to watch! I also heard that a green turtle nest had hatched not so long ago. I won’t see the more recently laid nests hatching because I learned that it takes 55 days for this to occur so that would be the end of March or early April, after I leave.

We waited to see what tomorrow would bring..........

After breakfast we will leave for our long walk to look for turtle tracks and of course for the small volcano-like craters, where there still may be hatchlings and of course the shells of the ones that have already run off to sea.

The sun is shining and we are ready to go! As we arrived at the Rangers station we saw and heard two tortoises mating! They don’t do this quietly - I never knew a tortoise could be so noisy! After capturing this in a picture, we moved on, walking through the fairytale-looking mangroves and tropical vegetation that grows abundantly here. We dug holes on the shoreline where we thought hatchlings might have emerged already. Just when we thought it wasn’t our lucky day, we heard Vicky calling us to come quickly. Duncan had found a nest and 14 brand new cute baby turtles emerged! It was so great. We hopefully helped the weakest ones to survive by guiding them to the water, then watched them swim off. After this nice experience we went back to base where we were just in time for lunch.

These were the first three days of my four week experience here... I’m already longing for the rest.