May/June Program Week 1

On arriving in Guinjata bay we received an amazingly warm welcome from Francesca, Jay, Ronel and all the staff at the dive centre and resort. Our first week has consisted of lectures, our first practice dives and site visits to fisheries and the schools that we will be working in during our time here. We’ve also had a week to get to know each other, although with only three of us sharing a house that’s been a pretty quick and (so far) painless process!
Our lectures have introduced us to sampling methodologies and statistics we will be using here to conduct our research as well as an introduction to teaching and general issues faced in fieldwork for marine biology. The lectures have been fascinating and our frequent side-tracking even more so!
The First dives took place on the local reefs with Jay and Ronel where we were introduced to some of the wide array of marine life that populates this area. After our first practice coral reef survey, we attempted to analyse the footage, recording vertebrate and coral species abundance. With Saskia and Ellie aiming to complete their peak performance buoyancy courses this weekend, hopefully our future videos will contain more fish and less floundering flippers.
Our visit to the fisheries site was unfortunately uneventful, with a grand total of no fishermen returning to land whilst we waited. However, we got a good look at the site, had a relaxing morning on the beach and were very ready for our lunch and some shade.
Our first visit to the two local schools we will be teaching and painting at over the next few weeks was an immensely enjoyable experience, surrounded by enthusiastic and inquisitive children. Following on from this was the cultural tour where we spent time at a local’s house with his family and experienced local food.
Overall this week has been very informative and has introduced us very well to what this next few weeks will entail as well as the culture we will be living in. To our delight a very unexpected volunteer decided to join LTO’s program at the last minute. Weighing an incredible 3.5 kg and with the softest fur you could ever imagine, we’d like to introduce our newest arrival: Momo! She is a puppy that was found by the local fishermen a couple of days before we arrived in Inhambane that LTO has rescued.  She has made every single activity very eventful (mostly when she switches to demon mode and will not stay still). Her likes include: biting coconuts, bags, toes, ankles and stealing flip flops.
We are all looking forward to everything that we will get to learn and experience over the next four weeks and hope that the rest of our time doesn’t go as fast as this week has!

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