July/August Week 3

Red Team – Momo, Jake, Rob and Emma

Our third week commenced with three days of painting at the schools. The yellow team joined us on Monday, as their coral reef surveys were cancelled for the day due to bad weather, and it was nice to have such a large group for a change. Over these few days we worked on two classrooms: one with a mural of the human anatomy showing the skeleton, organs and heart in detail, the other of the solar system. We found some amusing ways to entertain ourselves (the car was in town both Tuesday and Wednesday, so we spent both days at Paindane school all day), greeting Liz with fully painted faces at the end of the day.

Thursday, however, called for some coral reef surveys: we were very eager to get into the water! Despite some difficulties filming the quadrats due to some significant surge, we had two very enjoyable dives. We even spotted two blue spotted rays and a zebra shark on the early morning dive! That made everyone’s week. The afternoon was spent logging in all the filmed fish.

We spent Friday, a beautiful warm and sunny day, at Guinjata conducting the fisheries and whale watching activities. The sea was extremely calm and flat, which meant quite a lot of fish got brought up, however only a couple of whales were spotted. The ocean was so clear, we couldn’t resist slipping off the boat for a quick snorkel. One member from the coral reef survey team even got to swim with a turtle!

We’ve had a very enjoyable week, which has marked the midway point of our programme to our disappointment. We look forward to a weekend full of fun dives!

Green Team – Ben, Toby, Faye and Lois

Monday was a very windy day and so not much happened on that day. Fishermen were not about and thus we had a relaxed day and got to meet a new housemate that just arrived 😊

On Tuesday we went diving and Lois got to spot a lot of nudibranchs which she loves! For Wednesday and Thursday we visited the Guinjata and then Paindane fisheries, respectively. We saw and measured Mackerel, Barracuda, Triggerfish, and Groupers (aka “rock-cod”). It was great to see the Humpback whales breaching and fin slapping in the distance. After a bit of a lie in on Friday we wandered down the sand dune to the dive centre to see perfectly calm seas, perfect for some research dives! Both dives had very successful transects and incredible visibility – and were over an hour long! The reef was teeming with life and was stunningly beautiful with the sun beaming down on it. Lois and Ben had a great time snorkelling, watching the group dive below and admiring the fish. Lois was also lucky enough to encounter a turtle on her swim back to the boat! Safe to say we’re all hoping the conditions stay this awesome for the weekend of diving we have planned!

Yellow Team – Charlotte, Matt, Leander and Camille

Unfortunately, diving was cancelled due to bad weather on Monday, so instead we joined the red group helping painting and decoration of the school classrooms. We began by outlining two bodies on the wall, one which will show the skeleton and one that will show the organs. Tuesday featured a sub-divided team, with two of us remaining at Guinjata for fisheries research, whilst the other two headed to Maxixe for the day to attempt to renew their visas (the attempt was not successful). Wednesday featured a quiet day at Paindane, with only four catches. Lastly, both Thursday and Friday included more decoration of the school classrooms, all looking considerably more lively and colourful than before with the addition of the solar system.

Blue Team – Georgia, Hana, Logan

This week we headed out of Guinjata Bay to the closest tourist hub, about an hour and a half away, where we visited the best cake shop around (peanut butter chocolate cupcake say whaaat), and tested our surf skills on the beach. This was the second week of activities so now everyone was feeling a lot more confident with tasks, especially the fish ID. It’s been really great going on dives and being able to identify the fish we see while we’re down there. Fisheries as always was super interesting, this week a devil ray was brought up and it was great seeing it up close. The fishermen never fail to impress: how they managed to get a hefty tuna and king mackerel into a kayak out at sea we will never know, especially as they struggled to get them out on land! We’re now looking forward to a weekend of diving, swimming lessons and doing some serious chilling out!

 

We’re over half way through this program now and we couldn’t wish for a better group! We’ll be sad to see these guys go but we’re excited to see what the next 2 weeks have in store for us!