My name is Kieran. I am 22 years old, and from London. At the time of this writing this, I am 1 and a half weeks into my 4 week volunteering course – here at Curieuse Island in the Seychelles.
Everyday there has been something new and it has been a whole lot of fun. It started when we arrived in Mahe where I joined a party of 7 other volunteers. There were an additional 3 volunteers, along with the staff, already at the base. Volunteers averaged from 18 to 29, and were from all over the world. Everyone got along fairly quickly, and we are already good friends. The 7 of us got a ferry over to Praslin, then a short taxi across the island and a quick hop onto ‘Dexter’ – The base’s boat. You may get a little wet whilst loading items onto Dexter, bare that in mind for large heavy suitcases.
I was greeted onto Curieuse by the Base’s local Giant Tortoise – ‘Obama’. There are around 130 tortoises on the island and are free to roam; whilst most chill by the Ranger station where they get easy food and lots of love and affection. I don’t think I have seen one without a smile yet. Other than these amazing giants and their little baby hatchlings, I have also helped with the Sharks and Turtle surveys. Our first Sharking survey was crazy, and we caught and measured a Hammerhead, Black Tip Shark and Lemon Shark. I have yet to see a turtle nest on a beach, but some of the team has. Peak nesting season is October, so any day now! Although, I am lucky enough to see some turtles on one of our many snorkels to the surrounding islands and reefs. The passion, energy and excitement form staff and volunteers are inspirational.
Life on base is a better than I first expected. There is enough solar energy to go around and plenty of clean water. There’s usually a survey in the AM and base duties or a snorkel in the PM, leaving plenty of free time to chill however way you want. Food is also better than I had thought, whilst my group has diverse food requirements, they all manage to cook something tasty and high energy. Dormitories are mixed. Definitely bring a good mosquito net! But this is all part of the experience and I have never felt more safe. Cell signal is good on the island, but for internet I recommend a local SIM card and a top up at the start of your trip. The papers that you receive and the information on the GVI website are accurate for life on base. The staff here are all really knowledgeable and experienced. The sun can get intense but at the moment (September-October) there is also a little rain. The base is right on a beach and so there is also a gentle breeze. The island as a whole is just stunning and something out of a David Attenborough documentary.