New Year, New Start, New Team!
The new team first met just before we jumped on the 1 hour ferry over to Praslin from Mahe. With most of us grouped downstairs in the cool air conditioned hull of the boat some felt like having some fresh air at the back of the boat… never do this in short sleeves with minimal sunscreen as a couple of our group unfortunately found out and arrived at Praslin looking like they’d been dipped in red paint!
We collected our bags and headed from the jetty to the beach-side town of Cote d’Or where two of the Curieuse staff were waiting to meet us; Science Coordinator Cheryl came bouncing down the sand to a slightly subdued group (due to potentially mild sea sickness from an awesome ferry ride) and Base Manager Dan (aka Tom Hanks from Castaway). We were introduced to the Curieuse faithful steed (Dexter) and made the quick ten minute journey across the crystal clear water to Curieuse where some very amusing attempts to disembark were made.
Once on the island, all in one piece (all be it with a an even redder sun burn) we were showed to our new accommodation for the next few months. Some shocked faces at what greeted us, 3 bunk beds, 6 mattresses & some empty shelves… “This is home for the next how long??” we said?? “Just wait until you’ve unpacked all of your stuff” an ever bouncy and enthusiastic Cheryl told us, and how right she was!! 30 minutes later and we were all unpacked, shelves stocked with goodies and essentials, beds covered with fresh pillows, bed sheets & mosquito nets (of varying shapes & colours) and we were now home. Excited for what lay ahead, and more than happy with our new accommodation and room-mates.
After everything was set up and everyone had refreshed themselves it was time for lessons on lots of the things that we would be monitoring, seeing and using during our stay. After the introductions our eyes fell upon the volleyball court which over the next week has held some epic battles with some fantastic spikes, some appalling returns and some hilarious face planting in to the soft sand.
The staff cooked for us for the first two days whilst showing us how to use everything around the kitchen (including thorough cleaning before and after a day in the kitchen). Then, it was our turn… to say there were some apprehensive faces would be a little bit of an understatement but to everyone’s relief cooking has been incredible. Base duties are split between two people a day so everyone has had to make their own bread for the day and a portion of rolls for people to take on their walks the next day and so far there hasn’t been a single over (or under) cooked loaf and the food has been delicious! Last night we were even treated to an incredible carrot cake that was devoured by the entire group in minutes.
The week has been full of surveys, presentations, orientations and beautiful scenery! We have all been out on Wurtles (Turtle Walks) and all seen a turtle nesting and baby hatchlings. We have been introduced to the amazing tortoise population here, as well as the birds, mangroves and the Lemon Shark pups! So much to do and see and we have only been here 5 days! Lots more work to come over the coming weeks, along with lots more opportunities to see the Island and to enjoy this beautiful location with some fun, friendly and enthusiastic companions – pretty amazing really!
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