For 6 weeks during July and August I partook in a marine conservation in the Seychelles to monitor marine species and the health of the coral reefs. Having recently graduated from University I wanted to spend my summer doing something exciting and out of my comfort zone. I knew I wanted to do something that helped local communities and gain new experiences at the same time. I started to research expeditions abroad and came across the GVI website. They offered everything I could’ve wanted and more. From helping elephant sanctuaries in Thailand to saving the turtles in Fiji, they had a wide range of opportunities that people could partake in. I soon came across the marine conservation project in the Seychelles and knew this was exactly what I wanted to do.
Our day on Mahe Island always starts with duties, the group is split into duty groups and we are responsible for many duties on base such as kitchen, tanks and grounds and boats. We have a router every week that notifies us what group we are in, who we are with and what we are responsible for on that day. Once duties have been completed in the morning we then all sit and have breakfast together before kitting up for our day of diving. There are 3 waves a day and every evening we are notified what waves we will be on. Most volunteers get to have 2 dives a day and often get to have lunch on the boat between dives which has to be one of my highlights. After all the waves are done, we return to base with all the diving equipment, and boat gear and de-kit. We then have some time to ourselves before having dinner at 18:30 together and then depending on what day it is we either have a documentary or movie night.
The thing I enjoyed the most about my time with GVI was doing something I love twice a day everyday with some of the most awesome people I have ever met. Diving has always been a love of mine and being able to do it whilst contributing data to local governments on conservation initiatives makes every dive so worthwhile. The people I have met here have made every dive fantastic and the memories I have made I will keep forever.
I was part of the invertebrate’s research group, which meant I spent my science dives surveying inverts, and one of the most interesting discoveries was that a sea cucumber called Actinopyga have teeth in their anus. Coming to the Seychelles I knew I would be faced with a lot of challenging moments, such as adapting to the lifestyle out here, meeting new people and spending a lot of time in the same company. One of the hardest challenges I faced was when the new
group of volunteers came and one member had been misinformed about what they were going to expect here. This lead to his vibe being very negative which bought the rest of the group down and caused many run ins with other volunteers, his rude remarks and comments made it particularly challenging not to say anything.
The volunteers and staff I met here were amazing, I have met some of the funniest, silliest, happiest people and they made my time here. The staff were supportive, approachable and always friendly and they felt more like friends than they did staff.