Monday, March 5, 2012

03/03/12 La Digue Weekend Fun

This just in, joint marine and terrestrial blog from the Curieuse Island volunteers here. After six weeks on Curieuse for the terrestrial volunteers and two weeks for the marine volunteers, everyone was excited for a little weekend escape to La Digue, a small island 6 miles from Curieuse. The volunteers worked a full day (including diving and fish/coral exams), and then loaded on to a boat for a 30 minute ride over smooth waters, direct to La Digue. The excitement of the first night included hot showers, flushing toilets, meat-laden meals, and fans over the beds. Pure luxury.

The group woke up to unforutnately rainy skies, but made the most of it and enjoyed a bit of a “break” from the preceeding weeks of sunlight. The rainy morning made for dramatic skies and cooler temps, perfect for the group of volunteers who rented bikes for a little self guided tour of the island. They learned quickly that La Digue is quite hilly and some roads are less than well

maintained. It was nice practice for both road biking and off roading and the volunteers did not stop laughing once, largely due to the lack of gears and working breaks on their bikes. The views of the dramatic skies and churning ocean juxtaposed against the lush green inner hills of the island made their hard work well worth it in the end. Meanwhile, the other volunteers visited a local restaurant/hotel, famous to GVI staff for their epic cheese burgers, and indulged in the glory of a massive beef patty, topped with cheese, fried egg, carmalized onions, tomatos, lettuce, and a delicious toasted bun. They then rolled themselves a few feet from the restaurant and enjoyed the rain by frolicking in the pool. After bumping and bouncing over about 15 kilometers, those ambitious bikers joined the pool-goers for an evening of relaxing and exploring the local social life on La Digue. How was it you ask? Think a little “Grease Lightning”, reggae style—a nice cross between John Travolta and Bob Marley. A fun filled cultural experience had by all!

Our last morning dawned with slightly more promising weather and we all packed up for a visit to Source D’Argent, a popular and much photographed beach that nicely demonstrates the beauty of these granitic islands. Hungry from a long walk and clambering over rocks and tree roots, the group returned to the burger-friendly hotel for an afternoon of eating, relaxing by the pool, and enjoying the blue skies that finally broke through and brought a little sunshine to an already awesome weekend. The moment of departure arrived too soon (and interrupted many tired volunteers, mid nap), and we packed up to head back to Curieuse, our home sweet home. The GVI staff greeted us with open arms and smiling faces, and even after the luxury of flushing toilets and hot showers, we were all happy to be back on camp and ready to start our “work” week activities of diving and turtle walking.