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!
In the last week we have had two sets of helping hands arrive on set. In the quest for conservation we have a local student from Mahe as well as an another ex-pat from France. Read on to meet these smiling individuals who have decided that marine conservation is the way to go.
"Hey, My name is Aishah and I’m 17 years old. I’m in my 2nd year at the Seychelles Maritime Academy (SMA) on my work base attachment with the Cerf Island Conservation Project (CICP) for 1 month. The Seychelles maritime academy is a training centre for young students (age17+) where you learn more about the marine industry itself. There are 3 advance course available :
For my second work base attachment which was in November 2015 I was at the Marine Conservation Society of Seychelles (MCSS) wildlife centre at the Banyan Tree working on sea turtle and terrapins. I enjoyed my attachment there so much I wanted another one with MCSS and found the CICP. I’ve gained so much knowledge about coral reefs, and it’s only been one week! Everyone is so friendly and the environment is so warm and refreshing.
So far we have been really busy working on and installing the coral nurseries. We’ve been in the water every day and I’ve already taken my first clients on the hiking path; everything so far has turned out great! :)"
Happy to have you aboard for the month Aisha!
Now meet Richard!
"I am Richard, I am 23 years old and I live in Toulouse, France. I am student in biology of organisms, populations and environment.
Roller skating, scuba diving and others outdoor activities are my hobbies. I have always been fascinated by nature and animals, passionate about reptiles (especially snakes) and marines turtles. I like to travel a lot, particularly to tropical countries like Australia and Thailand.
I decided to do a gap year to travel and work on different projects about environment conservation and protection. When I was in Thailand, I worked on organic farms to learn about permaculture whereas now I am in Seychelles because I want to actively participate in marine life protection.
Coral reef protection is a very important step to conserving the marine fauna. So after achieving my Open Water certification, I went on Cerf Island to help MCSS and the CICP in their conservation project and to learn more about marine biology.
I hope to learn as much as I can regarding reefs and all the effective conservation efforts I can apply and teach others as I strive to become a marine biologist."
Welcome to the Cerf Island Richard and Aisha,
Here's to an exciting and productive few weeks together.