Back home again, 6 months later
What can I say about the 6 months I spent volunteering and interning in the Seychelles… 6 months absolutely flew by and when it came time to leave on that last day it was a very surreal and a much more emotional feeling than I anticipated. After living with the same people for 6 months you grow pretty strong friendships then all of a sudden all of you are scattered all over the world again. I’ve been back working in the real world for 6 weeks now, and not a day goes by where I don’t think about the friends I’ve made, everything I’ve learned, and the diving! After diving almost every day for 6 months then coming back to the prairies of Canada where diving is at a minimum, I am itching to get back in the water.
Before leaving for Mahe` I had zero idea what to expect and was actually surprisingly nervous about my upcoming adventure. But once we got to the base and unpacked the nerves disappeared pretty quickly.
During the first 3 months all volunteers were split into 2 survey groups, fish or coral, I was designated to coral which I was pretty happy about, thinking it would be easier as coral doesn’t move. I was proven wrong after the first coral lecture, but after some extra study I got it down pretty quickly and actually enjoyed turning into a coral nerd. Even after I left the Seychelles and did some fun diving of my own I found myself looking more at the corals than the fish. Unfortunately once you get into the internship portion of the program and start leading dives the customers who ask about coral are few and far between, so a little extra self-study of fish isn’t a bad idea.
After 3 months on base I was really excited to move into town and start the divemaster internship portion of our program. Although I loved my time on base, going from living with 30 people to only 3 other people was a pretty nice change. Walking to “work” along one of the worlds nicest beaches every morning in board shorts instead of an hour’s drive in work boots was pretty incredible. My time interning at the dive shop had a little more ups and downs than I had expected, like getting to dive with a whale shark for the first time, helping new divers get over their nervousness, complete a skill they’re having trouble with, and finding a turtle for a first time diver who was really hoping to see one, or almost sinking a boat in rough weather conditions, but the ups obviously outweighed the downs.
I knew before I left that I liked diving and had an interest in marine biology, but I had no idea that I’d miss it all so much once I left. So much so that I’m now planning on completing my dive instructors course at the end of the year as well as thinking about taking some marine conservation or biology courses for a part time career change, I’ve even considered another GVI program in a different part of the world.
All in all, this 6 month volunteer program was easily one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and I’ll never forget what an amazing experience it was.
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