Two months already? Richard has flown the coop but he leaves CICP with these words...
"Hello everybody. Today is my last day in Seychelles! So let me tell you about my experience with the Cerf Island Conservation Programme.
I went to Seychelles because I thought it would be a really nice place to learn about marine biology and take a break from uni to relax. When I heard about the Marine Conservation Society Seychelles (MCSS), I sent them my CV and after being accepted I arrived on Cerf Island.
I’ve learnt about corals, fish and invertebrates but also those organism interactions on the reef such as the crown of thorns (Acanthaster planci) which eat corals. Though it sounds terrible, it allows the trimming back of faster, more competitive branching corals to give other, slower growing corals a chance on the reef. However, too many on a reef ecosystem (more than 30 per hectare) can yield devastating results such as the outbreak on Beau Vallon Reefs. I've also learned about the corals and their zooxanthellae, anemone fish and their anemone and cleaner wrasse!
Every day I took part in beach cleans, snorkeling/hiking with guests, learning about the reef ecosystem, and maintaining the snorkel trails. On other days I helped maintain the nurseries as they need to be cleaned to remove fouling organisms. I’ve learned about the future reef surveys that will take part to assess the substrate and the biomass of fish, corals, invertebrates along certain sections of the reefs. Not only that, but I’ve been able to dive into Coral Point Count with Excel extensions (CPCe) which is a computer program used to determine coral cover using underwater images as well as measuring coral growth.
I also took a large part in maintaining the hiking trails. Not only did Aisha, Michel and I clear the paths, but we also made new hiking signs so the guests may follow the paths without getting lost! The wooden signs were a nice touch but I’ve also cleared a second trail which leads to a fantastic viewpoint of St. Anne’s Marine Park. It took a few days in the hot sun with a GPS and Machete but now clients can visit the view point and even make a new friend! Thanks to Aisha (Seychelles Maritme Academy), Michel and Cheril (MCSS staff) for helping us along the way with any assorted tasks that needed to be done.
On the weekends, I was able to branch out and dive, visit Mahe, Praslin and La Digue! For sure my two months with this crew was very interesting, fun and most importantly educational. Thank you CICP!"
Thank you Richard for all of your hard work, dedication and enthusiasm with this project. We sure have made some headway on this project during your stay here. We'll miss you!