A surge of energy cascaded into Cap Ternay on Saturday with the arrival of 17 new volunteers; jet lagged but eager to begin their adventure on the spectacular island of Mahe. The “oldies” greeted us with smiles, stories and stacks of delicious food as we settled into base camp, a former youth village set just off the beach with a great atmosphere and people from all backgrounds/ages with one commonality, their search for adventure.
I am here to complete a dive master internship so am settling into my home island for the next six months…. and trying to get used to the idea that I will be living in paradise. There is a lot to learn in your first week here with the advanced open water course starting immediately and coral/fish to learn with lectures most days, at times it has felt like my brain will pop with scientific names and ident but I’m assured that at some point they will become second nature to me.
We “newbies” have only been here a grand total of four days but we’ve already seen and done so much; from learning to husk a coconut and machete skills, to cooking pancakes for more than thirty people and watching a hawksbill sea turtle move gracefully through the coral reef, unphased by the elated eyes staring at her through goggles and dive-gear.
We’re surrounded by fruit trees here on base including three guava trees that are currently heavily laden with delicious, sweet fruit that is ripe for picking each day….provided that you get there before the fruit bats! On a dry day, just before dusk, large shadows move swiftly and purposefully through the sky as the bats prepare for their nocturnal feed and to be marked with audible squeals through the night; somewhat different to the micro-bats I’m used to enjoying in the UK and a real treat to hear.
As the nights draw in, full tummies and very tyred volunteers give in to the exhaustion and make their way to bed for a super early sleep followed by an early morning and so it continues in the only familiarity with home…. the rolling days. It feels less like I’ve been here for four days in a strange environment and more like I’ve come home to many special moments interspersed with spectacular surroundings. Words can’t describe how beautiful it is here, a picture can’t possibly do it justice, but for now the below will have to suffice.
Heather – excited divemaster newbie