Monday, 22 February 2016

North Island- Half Way Through

The critically endangered Hawksbill
Turtle getting ready to dig her nest
I am now half way through my stay and every day has been a diverse adventure and the time is passing too quickly. I still think that I am in heaven as the whole experience is totally absorbing and enriching in every way.  I am learning about the turtles of course but also a little about myself – I have also learned new phrases like `super nice` and wow has taken on an all new meaning. 

On my first day off I explore pretty much the whole island, did the North `3 Peak Walking Challenge` , soak up the views and take in the atmosphere. Each day would not be complete without learning something new from Elliot who I have come to admire and respect.  He is a guiding light, a humble and loveable man. 

Elliot and Patrick
Flexibility and being able to adapt to an ever changing timetable is the key to an eventful and fulfilling day on North Island.  Whilst working in the bush I find a little fellow hot footing it towards cover – I am unsure what it is so I carefully transport him to the office where Tarryn identifies him as a mud terrapin.  He gets the full treatment with measurements and weighing scales.  He is treated to a wash and cleaned up for the photo shoot, all in the aid of science of course as his growth rings and markings make him identifiable for future sighting.  

This is a big guy for a terrapin and one of the biggest seen on the island, he has also not been seen before so I am proud of the find.  I then take him to the marsh to re-join his buddies where he disappears into the water never to be seen again . 

Mud Terrapin found in the bush

Suddenly the phone rings and a turtle has been spotted on the beach – the team assemble and observe from a distance before carefully approaching to take all the data and tagging.  The bush will have to wait until tomorrow.  Another great day in paradise and I sleep like a baby. 
The week is not over and we are joined by Dr Janske, a visiting  biologist from Denis Island.  I am assigned to work with her collecting information for a survey to establish if the vegetation and insect world will support a new species of bird, the Seychelles Warbler.  I learn new species of tree, insects and the bird song of the elusive White Eye.  I gain an insight into the science behind the conservation world.  Two delightful days spent with an inspiring women.

On my second day off I visit Silhouette Island for the morning and enjoy more amazing beaches, find new walking trails and am rewarded with the sighting a Hawksbill on the beach, she is a beauty too.  What a day off.

Jeremy from England

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