Tuesday, January 29, 2013

29/01/2013 Oh Stormy Night

The week commenced with two groups setting off for a long wurtle and a long tweet.  The tweeters reached their first destination, scourging through the mangroves and along the old, worn board walk to the edge of the shark wall.  Seeing a wide variety of the birds, the group was about to leave when they spotted around 7 juvenile black tipped reef sharks.  Walking back along the board walks, the rain began to fall.  By the time the group reached the rangers house they were drenched, unable to spot many birds for the rest of the day.  Upon reaching Grand Anse, the two groups reunited, to discover that the long wurtlers had seen a turtle half moon and lots of tracks.  The beach was a mess, the weather was getting worse, with thunder and lightning approaching.  The groups headed back to base, wading quickly around the ocean, and trudging on despite the weather.  The steps over the hill near the doctors house had turned into a waterfall from all the rain, it was quite spectacular, but very wet climbing through.

The rain continued to pour down the next day, leaving the group at base for most of the day.  As a result everyone set about improving the base.  A great new cushion was made for the bench, a drain was dug behind the staff house, steps were fixed, shelves were flattened, to name a few.  Despite the rain it turned out to be a productive day.

Thursday saw staff and volunteers take a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Vallee de Mai Praslin.  The volunteers spent the morning walking the well paved tracks, paying particular attention to the extremely tall Coco De Mers.  The staff were shown black parrot nests and were able to see and take a blood sample from a chick.  Just as the two groups met, the weather closed in providing a bumpy boat ride back to Curieuse, but both groups arrived safely.  By the evening, everyone was tired and very grateful for a delicious chocolate cake to end the day.

The weather was better on Friday, allowing the groups to trek across to Grand Anse for a long wurtle.   Shortly after arriving a turtle was spotted laying eggs down the beach.  After digging its egg chamber on a large root, the turtle moved forward, getting stuck next to a low lying tree.  It proceeded to flick sand in an attempt to cover its nest, yet was at least a metre away from it.  Once the turtle had left a group excavated a nest to find one live hatchling which soon after made it to the ocean, and plenty of hatched eggs, along with a crab being dug up.  It was a rather successful looking nest. Upon returning the sun had finally come out and so the group was able to go for a snorkel.  While the visibility was not amazing, a couple of rays were spotted, plenty of fish, and a turtle from Dexter.  The night was set to continue with an Australian animal themed BBQ to celebrate Australia Day.