After arriving in the Seychelles just over two weeks ago, this experience has already been amazing. While there is heaps on the camp, I thought that I would talk a bit about the other things on that might not be immediately known about this program. These include the different activities that you can get involved in on the weekend and the other ways that you help out during the week.
There are many different ways that GVI makes a difference beyond the research that we conduct on the fish, coral and invertebrate species. The first of these is the plankton pull. This is great fun, where a sample of plankton is collected to be sent to a lab for testing and turned into a ‘time trial’. We even have a leader board in the camp kitchen for those that do very well. During this we also do turtle walks to look for any nesting activities that involves snorkelling to some remote beaches and looking for their tracks. Beyond these research based tasks we do community work. From working on a stand in a festival (actually we were just having fun with groups of kids while we took swimming sessions) to making Christmas gifts for a group of orphans. This is just the start of many different ways that you can help, and I’d say make the most of it.
Then there are the weekends and any free time that you get! This can range from the more basic poker games, volleyball or the comedy nights, or this can escalate to the more extreme. If you fancy swimming with sharks, going to a remote island, hiking the local mountains, snorkelling in different locations and random group activities it is all available, in fact I have done all of this over the last two weeks. Some of the great times can come from unexpected times include going for a random snorkel and seeing a group of magnificent devil rays swimming past within a few metres of you. It was truly unforgettable. Today I went for a dive with sharks with one of the local dive centers, we saw 7 white tip reef sharks some almost two metres in length, moray eels at a similar size, a turtle, rays, bumphead parrotfish and humphead wrasse. These last two are rarely seen in our bay and can get very big, the ones today were a chunky metre and a half in length. Then there is Bird Island where we stayed for two nights seeing packs of spinner dolphins jumping out of the ocean, catching waves on canoes while watching the sunset, snorkelling with turtles (we saw 30 in one day) and rays including a massive feathertail ray that swam right past us as if we didn’t exist.
There is so much to do here and in my true style I have almost never had nothing on. If you get any time it’s a great chance to go for a walk, swim with some megafauna if you’re lucky or laze on the beach with new mates. There is much more to this program, and much more than you can make of it with just going the extra mile in always taking the opportunity to explore, energize and enjoy. With about two weeks left there is still plenty I’ve got coming up to accomplish!