Thursday, December 6, 2012

06/12/12 - Hatchlings, Coco de Mer, hatchlings!

Hawksbill Hatchling

We volunteers are now home from a well deserved weekend on the island of La Digue, the cultural capital of the Seychelles. We spent a lot of time together, as well as with the locals, whose children Anjan taught to dance! Reinvigorated, we are now home on Curieuse and back into the hot and wonderful work we do here. As I type, two teams are scaling Mount Curieuse counting Coco de Mer, and one team has trekked over to the other side of the island, Grand Anse, to monitor the day’s activity of the turtles as well as record the weekend’s activities.
On Grand Anse last Thursday there was wonderful news for Carol, an eight week volunteer who left two weeks ago, her first witnessed nesting hatched successfully. The sinkhole was noticed which indicated the hatching, therefore we excavated the nest for stragglers and found 29 live hatchlings trapped under roots and eager to continue their journey of life, behind the approximate 140 brothers and sisters that had already vacated the nest.

Last week the Coco de Mer surveys reached an all time high with over 550 Coco de Mer counted and recorded. Many of these were surveyed in terrain that can only be described as wild and woolly. As this work often takes us on long and hard treks, we start our adventures at 5 am, and usually manage five solid hours before heat sends us home. Although tough, the teams always come home in high spirits with stories to share.

On Friday we said goodbye to our science officer/ base commander/ superwoman April Jasmine Burt, who has spent over two years on Curieuse developing the terrestrial programme and being a wonderful support for all the volunteers. We have also said goodbye to Esme, our scholar/ mountain goat/ cake queen, who, as a farewell treat to April, prepared us all an early Christmas on Curieuse roast chicken dinner. We wish you luck ladies in your future endeavours!