Four Canadians, two Brits, an American, a French guy, a German girl and a girl from Denmark arrive on an island in the Indian ocean…This may sound like an overly-complicated set up for a bad joke, but it’s actually what happened in the pouring rain.
When you book an eight-week internship in what used to be a leper colony more than half way across the world, you’re allowed to have doubts. Even more so when you arrive on the island and everything you own has been soaked, either from the rain or from wading in the ocean to get to the beach. Everyone is at least a little sea sick or jetlagged; or both, but you’ve been travelling for so long to get here and you’re already soaked so you just throw yourselves in the water and then out of nowhere, everything starts to fall into place. A nice meal, some orientation walks and presentations, another nice meal, and you start to think, ‘Hey, this might not be so bad’.
The first few days were a bit of a whirlwind. It’s an adjustment to go from normal day-to-day life to living on a tropical island, especially so if you’ve left in the middle of a Canadian winter. I can honestly say though, that by day 5 you’ll be absolutely fine. By the time you witness your first turtle laying eggs on the beach or handled a few lemon shark pups you’ll have forgotten about any of the doubts you had before coming.
A few tips and tricks for making the most out of your first few days on Curieuse:
– Even if you’re excited, wear water shoes when you decide to go swimming fully-clothed in the rain.
– Leave the doors open at night – it’s still hot!
– If you have to ask yourself if you’re drinking enough water, drink more.
– Shake everything out before you pick it up, centipedes will find their way into unexpected places.
– Eat breakfast before a 6 am turtle survey and bring snacks.
– Go to bed early. You’ll be using more energy than you think so the extra sleep will come in handy.
– Expect to not be comfortable 100% of the time. It’s the tropics; it’s hot out, there are bugs, the rain will be loud at night. (But it’s 1000% worth it, I promise).
– Get a Seychelles sim card. Not only will it give you access to contact the outside world if you need it, but it’ll make it that much easier to book activities on the weekends.
None of us are by any means experts at living here yet, nor have we experienced even half of the things that will have happened by the time we leave in 3, 4, 6, or even 8 weeks from now, but so far, even the more challenging parts are completely manageable, and there are infinitely more good experiences than there are uncomfortable moments, and it really does get easier every day that you’re here.