Do you know how it feels to join a marine conservation expedition here in Seychelles for a month? Maybe not! Let me share my experience with you.
Recently I joined the GVI Marine Conservation Expedition (based at Baie Ternay, NW Mahé, Seychelles) on a scholarship for a month. GVI have been surveying marine life in the marine park of Baie Ternay for over a decade, contributing towards various conservation-related surveys aimed at providing data to the local government on coral reef research, invertebrate surveys and turtle breeding areas. Here I received training on how to conduct fish surveys, identify reef fish, EFR (Emergency First Responder) training, photo identification of turtles and Coral Reef Research diver skills. As well as all this training I collected data on megafauna diversity, and prepared and taught marine education and awareness classes to International School Seychelles students. It was a great opportunity for me to share my knowledge with the kids about the importance of our fragile ecosystem in Seychelles, and improve my leadership skills. I was amazed at how much they knew and how eager they were to learn!
I also got assigned daily duties such as, cooking, cleaning, completing the dive log and was taught how to start the compressor and fill up tanks for diving. These were good things to learn, especially cleaning up dive gear; it helped me to familiarise myself with the equipment vital for my future career. Not to miss out the fact that I had lots of fun carrying tanks, especially at low tide where we had to walk all the way out to the boat (about 250m) with our tank – l thought that I would get extremely muscular by the end of the month!
I had fun making friends who came from different parts of the world, all of whom shared the same passion for marine conservation; I was able to learn from them with an exchange of culture. We had fun diving together every day – it was like a dream come true to dive twice a day every day. Too bad it was only for a month but luckily I can go back and join GVI for some more surveys and diving in the future. It’s not all bad though as I get to go back to my regular work with WiseOceans and tend to the corals in our Reef Restoration Project, who have had a challenging time during this recent El Niño event.