We had an incredible start to the week with some super close encounters with humpbacks both in and under the water, with one mother and calf pod coming almost within touching distance on our safety stop. The rest of the week was packed full of training and lectures from Francesca, Ines and Jo, which were amazingly helpful.
After a bright and early start (5:45am) on Wednesday morning, we conducted our first fisheries survey, and were blown away by the free diving skills of the local fishermen. We then came back to base to identify and log the fish we had seen over a cup of coffee. Thursdays dive transect went pretty smoothly (after a moment of group distraction by a large sting ray) and we were able to build on our fish, nudibranch and coral ID skills. One particular nudibranch caused a surprising amount of controversy, resulting in Sam owing Anna a beer.
We kicked Friday off to a great start with sunrise yoga with Jo (Joga). This was followed by a very informative CV workshop on how to be less unemployed in the marine sector. Later that day, Kira, Sam and Ines had their superhero moments during a SUP/snorkel in coral gardens when they helped to untangle a shark from a deserted net. To round off a cracking first week we went to “top of the world” for a sunset dancing session.
On Saturday Marta, Anna and Sam started their Advanced Open Water courses. After the technical stuff we had an underwater explore, where we saw rays, an octopus, a cuttlefish and no shortage of nudibranchs. Later we helped Pascoal, Bento and Mario with swimming lessons for local kids – it was great to see how quickly they improved and how keen they were to learn.
All in all we had a whale of a first week, fuelled by glucose biscuits and great food/ table layouts from the restaurant staff.