My introduction to an island called Curieuse
Life on Curieuse has been a whirlwind so far. The first few days are information intense, containing all of the essential inductions required to keep the camp functioning. By the end I was able to bake bread, husk coconuts, tie two types of knots and climb into Dexter (our boat) correctly after a snorkel (much harder than it sounds!). In between are the various in-depth presentations on the surveying and monitoring work we will be carrying out and the everyday base duties, which are shared amongst the volunteers over each week. These are by far the busiest days, however they come with great reward and satisfaction, especially when you have some free time to swim and unwind on some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
Once inductions are finished, life on base starts to become normality. You’ve had a few good nights sleep and are fully informed and prepared for your first survey, the Mangrove ‘Mud Skip’. On first approach they all look like very similar, regular trees and those brain cells containing the presentation and field manual information seem to have got lost somewhere. However, after going over each species, their unique features start to become evident and these normal looking trees become pretty awesome due to their complex adaptations that enable them to survive in habitats where others would not. Then it was time to get muddy (hence the name Mud Skip) in and around the mangroves, taking temperature and salinity readings at marked points throughout the area, in an attempt to understand how the conditions vary across the habitat.
Muddy, wet and sweaty, it’s time to return to base to re-fuel and recuperate. You may even have time to have a swim, crack open a coconut and lounge in a hammock before the next survey…
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