The first week was the training week. On the day of our arrival, it was stunning to witness whales swimming in the sea from every corner of the resort.
This week was the training week. As volunteers, we attended lectures about the work we will be doing, the animals we will be working with, and research methods, etc. The lectures were informative and proved to be extremely useful in preparing us for the challenges we may face in the upcoming week.
The mind map we created on the first day was an excellent presentation that showcased how the various works being carried out in this local community are closely interconnected. It provided me with a better understanding of the mission and vision behind this volunteer work. It also heightened my excitement for the volunteer work ahead. These lessons were both fascinating and informative. Prior to this, I had never really contemplated how oceanic conservation could be closely linked to the quality of life for local communities.
On the fourth day, we conducted fishery research in Paindane. We observed a spear-fisher bringing back five fishes from the sea, prompting us to rush over and record the species. Later, we returned to the resort and began logging the fish. It was challenging initially, but we gradually became more acquainted with the different species.
One of the little things that I really enjoyed was picking up bottle caps from the beach and cleaning them together with the team. I had never noticed there were so many bottle caps on the beach, but once we started searching for them, we discovered a countless number of bottle caps. We managed to collect hundreds of them, but it was just a small fraction of the ocean trash. It made me reflect on the fact that I sometimes purchase bottled drinks for convenience and pleasure. Seeing the bottle caps we collected, I realized that I might also be contributing to their presence on the beach.
The fifth day greeted us with a fun dive and a transect dive in the morning, despite the less-than-sunny weather. We were delighted to spot numerous fish in the sea and even hear whale sounds. It was truly fabulous. During the transect dive, we logged non-cryptic, cryptic, and coral species along the transect line. This aspect proved to be both challenging and interesting for me. Upon our return to the resort, we logged the creatures we observed near the transect line, which provided me with valuable knowledge about different types of fish and coral.
On the sixth day, we tried the sunrise Stand-Up Paddleboarding (SUP). It was incredibly fun, although I realized I still need more practice. Afterwards, we focused on cleaning the bottle caps we had collected from the beach and categorizing them by color. The resulting spectrum was beautiful, but it also shed light on the pollution problem our beaches face. I hope that no bottle caps will be found on our beaches in the future.
Lastly, the view here in Guinjata is absolutely fabulous. Being away from the everyday hustle and bustle, observing the activities of whales and listening to the sound of waves has been truly enjoyable. I am thoroughly enjoying my time here and eagerly look forward to the following weeks, where we will put theory into practice.