Our first volunteer Claire is gone and we miss her laughter very much, however Natalie is still with us and boy has she been a busy bee...
"Claire’s last few days were pretty jam packed, we tried to get as much done as possible whilst we still had a happy-smiley extra pair of hands. We also had some R&R time on Sunday and managed to fit in a couple of amazing dives in before she ran away, back to France. We did a double dive off the boat in the morning with the Underwater Centre; with crystal clear waters, dolphins, sharks and Napoleon Wrasse! We then had a chance to explore a little part of Beau Vallon before heading back to our tranquil little Island over the other side of Mahe.
We had our first Staff snorkel which had been advertised for a week before hand, but due to rotas and timetables we had two staff members turn up; Vijay and Dinesh. It was a lot of fun, and as soon as we got them in the water all we could hear were giggles through the snorkels. It was nice for us to get to know them better and help increase their confidence in the water. Claire and I then headed over to L’Habitation for our usual 10.30 Wednesday guided snorkels, which had quite the turn out! We were in the middle of Spring tides so the water was quite low at this time of day. This worked in our favour as one couple had never snorkelled before and were not strong swimmers; this allowed them to still see a little as they were not comfortable to go any deeper towards the reef. It was nice to see the smiles on their faces when they were getting out, talking about the horned sea stars, radiant sea urchins and the variety of parrot, rabbit and goatfish they had seen. Once I had helped them out I jumped in to join the others, but as I was doing so I saw one of the groups heading back in. I went to check he was okay and as I did, he fell and cut his hand on a Razor clam! I assisted him out of the water and thanks to the L’Habitation staff we had him bandaged up in no time. I decided it wasn’t my day for snorkelling so chatted with him and told him about the project, the snorkel and kayak trails etc. as we waited for the others to finish their snorkel.
After lunch I produced some signs and reading material for our newly re-furbished Gallery/snorkel room, introducing CICP and explaining our duties such as beach cleans and their importance.
The next day had finally come and after a week’s extension it was time for Claire to leave. We had one last snorkel before taking her to Eden Island where she met Dr. David Rowat who drove her to the airport. As we were leaving on the boat she had eagle rays, white tip reef sharks and the most stunning sunset to send her off properly!
The next day we managed to get our jungle trail signs cut in the shape of sharks and varnished to direct people from the beach onto the trail and through the trail to the other side of the Island. In the spirit of recycling, we found an old pallet which we pulled apart, sanded and varnished (with the help of maintenance) to use for the sign posts.
I have done a fair amount of beach cleaning this week, and due to the Spring low tides much of the beach is exposed allowing us to do the whole West/SouthWest coast of Cerf. Our beach cleans have increased due to the helping hands of Maritime students and SNPA coming along on Mondays and Thursdays. I managed to get 4 bags of rubbish by myself one day, with at least 2 bags being collected every other day.
Another area we plan on cleaning up is a waste pile at the end of the Cerf trek. One day we kayaked to this area the other day to take an inventory on how much rubbish had been dumped and if there were any recyclable items. We then went back and with the help of the SNPA/MTC students started to sort and bag up all the rubbish and recyclables such as PET bottles, glass, electronics and scrap metals. After an hour we had made a massive dent in the pile and we plan to finish clearing the area and disposing of the wastes to the appropriate recycling areas . This will obviously help with the aesthetics of the walk for guests, reduce the electronic rust/wastes runoffs into the sea, and allow the mangrove crabs and other life to use the area.
Another big tick off the list we have achieved this week is our Donation boxes. We have wanted to create donation boxes for each hotel’s/Guesthouse’s reception for the CICP, and with the help of one of our board members (Ed Coleman) we have been able to make a start on this. With the help of his planning, woodshed and all the tools in the world we have been able to make headway on wooden donation boxes with emphasis on recycling. The glass panels used are panes recycled from an old broken door and the wood is unused flooring and driftwood. The wood, now cut to size, just needs fixing together, sanding and decorating/varnishing. The boxes should now, with any luck, be completed by the end of next week!
The help received to create the signs, the donation boxes and the beach cleans just goes to show how projects like this not only bring together communities and the private sectors, but also show us how strongly people are willing to help a good cause that they believe in. It’s refreshing to see the way CICP has opened the doors of the residents here and has allowed them to meet each other and re-build a community as we strengthen the partnership of CICP."