So us ‘newbies’ have been here for almost 2 weeks now and I cannot describe how quickly it has gone! We’ve seen so many turtles, tortoises (very frisky ones I might add), crabs and of course the dreaded mosquitoes. However after pretty much all of us have been bitten (minus the extremely lucky Sarah and Nathalie) I have done some extensive tests about what sprays and creams work the best. I am now equipped with 100% DEET spray and some great menthol Belgian cream from Nathalie!
We all found out pretty early that you have to watch where you put your feet, whether it be on a crab, skink or whacking your feet right into the rocks ; which Olli found out whilst nearly breaking his toe and slowing us all down on walks!!
I have learnt a fair few new skills here, coconut husking being one of them; as a naïve Englishwoman I thought that coconuts just fell from the tree as a nice round nut. But they actually have a big layer surrounding them which you have to pull off. I was so put off by this that I bribed Daniel into opening a coconut for me if I taught him how to wash his clothes (typical man!). After opening the coconut and me eating the whole thing I taught him the simple process of hand washing clothes in a bucket. He was so impressed by washing his dirty clothes, off we went to get his CLEAN, ironed clothes and then scrubbed them into the sand and exclaimed ‘they’re dirty now so I can wash them’; I was very confused.
I can’t quite get over where we are living- as close as humanely possible to the ridiculously beautiful ocean and our own beach! We have been introduced to camp life, base duties and of course all the surveys. We had a great couple of days where we got to walk along all the little beaches at low tide around Anse Papaie and the most incredible rock features with lots of little fish swimming around our feet! The fish are absolutely amazing; there are some that I didn’t know could be that bright in colour or so funny looking. Swimming with a shark today was an awesome way to end my day, and then with Daniel swimming around intensely taking pictures he nearly bumped into a Hawksbill Turtle just before we were due back at Dexter (our boat). The snorkelling is just mind blowing, the water is so clear and you can always expect to see something pretty ace like a turtle, shark, squid or an octopus.
After only just meeting Reggie the old base manager we learnt that he was leaving to go to a project in Kenya. The oldies put up lovely decorations around the camp and had a delicious meal to say goodbye, we only knew Reggie for just under a week but he seemed like a great guy and definitely will be missed, especially by Digby (the camp dog!).
This island definitely isn’t your average volunteering destination; living on a beach is pretty darn cool!
Lots of love to the outside world, Sophy x