Monday, February 27, 2012

27/02/12 Let the Games Begin

I think it is safe to say that the highlight of this week for most of us was donning our BCDs and all but skipping back into the water. For those of us working towards our Advanced Open Water certification with GVI Dive officer Ant, we have had the chance to do some extra studying and more skill work in the water, including practicing our buoyancy control through underwater charades. Beyond the refresher skill work, we have wasted no time learning our fish and coral workshops and practicing underwater identification. But don’t be fooled, these dives are not all work and no play...a few lucky volunteers even got to cruise around with four friendly Whitetip Reef Sharks.

Besides the diving, we had our first dose of weekend fun while at camp, and everyone enjoyed the opportunity to get off base, explore the island, and unwind after a hectic first week. The weekend kicked off with an amazing BBQ, complete with handmade buffalo burgers and a little disco-themed fun. We will go into more detail about the food shortly, but lets just was good. With an entire island essentially all to ourselves, there is a lot of fun exploring to be had. A few volunteers made a hot and difficult trek across the island and were rewarded with amazing views and a turtle spotting or two. Most volunteers also relearned a valuable lesson about sun screen. Quite simply...apply early, apply often. Duly noted.

While it was a fun weekend full of relaxing, civilization, and some delicious meals, we were all excited for the weekend to end and the diving to start again. As someone fresh from the 9-5 working world, the idea of looking forward to the end of the weekend so that the “work” week could begin was a bit foreign. And you know what...I think I liked it.

Now, I think it might be worth mentioning what several of us have been most surprised about. Amazing diving I was expecting. Hard work and lots of studying I was actually looking forward to. Life on a deserted island I was eagerly anticipating. But delicious food? No sir, I figured I would quickly tire of the rice and beans I thought we would be eating every day. Boy was I wrong. Every me

al has been better than the last and between 12 volunteers, we have gotten quite creative. As a “meativore” used to cooking for 2 people, I couldn’t really fathom how we would come up with breakfast, lunch, and dinner for 18 people on a mostly vegetarian diet. But let me tell you...vegetarian spicy curry with homemade garlic naan, chicken, mushroom, and sweet corn pie with a homemade pastry crust, cheesy garlic mash, veggie bean enchiladas (for Mexican Monday), pancakes (for Pancake Tuesday), chilli con carne with heart shaped homemade rolls (for Valentines Day), and one delicious shark shaped fried dough. Drooling yet? And the list goes on. And on.

All this talk of food has made me hungry. Check back next week as our fish/coral spots and surveying dives continue.