Curieuse Island, Seychelles
Why did I choose to volunteer in the Seychelles? Because it is a place far from my home and a point on the map, on the east side of Africa, which looks very interesting. I knew it would be a magical place where I could forget my problems and take time out from my busy life. Even more, I would be engaged in conservation field work in a spectacular setting. It’s hard to get there on your own, but thanks to GoEco, getting there was a dream – an easy, pleasant, safe dream.
The team on the ground that runs the Wildlife Conservation Expedition is fantastic. Even if you have a minor problem, they are there to help you. So, how would I describe volunteering in the Seychelles? In one word: amazing! But I know that amazing is not enough of a description so I’ll tell you more.
Once you settle in, you will see the diversity of staff and volunteers. The people I met were from all over the world and every culture. I learned so much from the other volunteers; it was great. The ocean and beaches are incredible and our accommodations were right on the beach! Every night we fell asleep to the sounds of waves rolling ashore.
Every day, the volunteers are assigned tasks to do. You are trained in how to do them and you always have other volunteers with you. Of course, if there is a problem, the staff will solve it and they come up with some pretty creative solutions. But, believe me, there’s no need to worry about anything. All you need to do is enjoy the experience, immerse yourself in the nature, the animals, the environment and the local people who are different and unique.
On a rotating basis, two volunteers are chosen to stay at the volunteer base while the others complete conservation tasks for the day. The two people that stay behind are in charge of maintaining the base, tidying up and cooking a meal for the other volunteers. When 6pm comes around, the volunteers return from the field pretty hungry. After all the work is done, we had free time to hang out with the other volunteers and even indulge in a cold beer or two.
The most memorable day I had was so special that I need to tell you about it. There had been a turtle nest that we had been looking for for a long time. Although initially we couldn’t find it, I decide to continue digging in the sand and searching for it myself. And, guess what? Just as I was about to give up looking for the nest, I found it. Four baby turtles were stuck inside the nest. Of course I quickly got them out and let them find their way into the sea. This is an experience I will never forget.
The project staff taught me a lot about the flora and fauna which is unique to the Seychelles. There are a few species of animals, especially some types of sea turtles, which are only found in these islands. These beautiful, tropical animals are very much in danger of becoming extinct but thanks to the conservation efforts of the project, hopefully we can stop it from happening.
I learned that sharks don’t attack people in order to eat them. If one were to bite you, it would actually want to you because humans are not a tasty snack for sharks. Instead, they hunt other fish. Mangrove trees, which can be found all over the islands, are quite unique trees because of their graphic shapes.
The Coco del Mer trees are a type of palm tree which produces coconuts shaped like hearts. The coconuts are very large and impressive. Many locals use the fruit’s shell to create unique curios for tourists which can cost hundreds of dollars. These little crafts are definitely worth a look!
The weekends are just amazing. You are free to do what you want but as a group, we went to sleep at a local guest house which had everything including a kitchen and living room. It was a great place to relax and unwind. You can go out and experience things as a local by soaking up the atmosphere at local reggae parties and such.
I would like to say a huge thank you to GoEco for offering this great project!