5 Days in Ireland!

image

After leaving the Seychelles and arriving here in Ireland we had 5 days to do as much as we could before our return home, and we stayed busy! Starting the day we arrived we went to a couple popular attractions here in Dublin before preparing for a day trip we took on Monday to Northern Ireland. The trip lasted all day and we got the chance to explore Belfast City, along with visiting the Giants Causeway and Dunluce Castle. It was a busy day but it was nice to travel across Ireland for the day!

image

image

The following two days we explored Dublin and saw pretty much everything we could from the Guiness Factory and Jameson Distillery to the National Museum of Ireland and the Dublin Wax Museum. We kept busy and definitely learned a lot!

image

image

Now we’re getting ready for our last trek back to the States and though the traveling has been fun we look forward to going home and planning our next big journey!

image

Advertisements

Our 8th and Final Week in the Seychelles

image

Our final week has come and gone and it’s crazy to think 8 weeks ago we were just starting our journey and now we’re getting ready to leave! This trip has been full of learning experiences that we will never forget. From helping the conservation on the island move forward through surveys and censuses to meeting people from all over the world and even just learning to live not only in a different country but the lifestyle changes of living in an old leper colony with an off the grid solar power system and toilets that don’t flush. The memories and learning experiences make this trip worthwhile in every way possible. Though it hasn’t all been fun and games, the hard work and tough experiences we’ve all been through, it all pays off and makes the journey an adventure, not a vacation.
image

This week, for our last week, we finally had our Charity Challenge in which we organized and raised almost $500 for the SSPCA here in the Seychelles! Not to mention the awesome fun games we got to participate in! We all painted ourselves in our team colors and ran around the island facing off in different challenges. We then had a volleyball tournament followed by a trivia night and when all said and done the yellow team came out victorious, but we all still got champagne and candy.
image

We also did a final hike of Mt Curieuse and got to see more amazing views of the island one last time! Though the hike can be a rough one the views make it well worth it.
image

Now we are finishing up our packing and getting ready for the next leg in our trip that will take us to Ireland before finally returning home!
Though the goodbyes will be bittersweet and we feel like we could stay even longer the return home will be welcomed.
Overall our experience here in the Seychelles will be one not forgotten and we hope we were able to share a part of our journey with you.
Tomorrow we leave for Ireland and after a couple long flights we will be far far away from the place we called home for the last 2 months but ready to begin the next step in our trip!
image

Seychelles Week 7!

image

Seven weeks already? It’s hard to believe that there is only a week left for us in the Seychelles when it seems like we just arrived. As the last month comes to an end we still find ourselves busy while we continue to organize the fundraising event for next week along with finishing up all of the surveys for the month.
This week we spent a lot of time on turtle walks, whether it be excavating nests that have already hatched or marking a new nest from the tracks left in the sand we kept busy! We visited Anse Badamier, one of the “best” beaches in the Seychelles, on Wednesday to excavate a few turtle nests, along with capturing some really good views!
image

We also found ourselves some spare time to construct a raft similar to the one Tom Hanks makes in the movie Cast Away! Surprisingly it floated alright and it’s safe to say we were all proud of our creation.
image

We also had the opportunity to see not only turtle hatchlings while on a long turtle walk, but some other Curieuse wildlife like hermit crabs, tortoises, and a praying mantis!
image
image

Lastly yesterday we had the opportunity to head over to Praslin to assist a local organization called TRASS, in helping them build a greenhouse and clear space for a plant nursery to grow more native plants to plant across Praslin. They are a small group of locals who are trying to revegetate areas of the island that are bare due to forest fires. It was really cool to be able to help some of the local people along with getting filmed and making Seychelles National TV!
image

image

With only one week left we look forward to the busy days to come along with our final experiences here in the Seychelles. It’ll be a bittersweet goodbye but all of the priceless memories and pictures we’ve gained will stay with us forever!
image

6 Weeks of Living in the Seychelles

Though saying we’ve been living here for 6 weeks already sounds crazy, it has all gone by so fast. From our first step on our Island, Curieuse, to now, it seems as if that was only a short while ago. So with 6 weeks done and only 2 weeks to come we look forward to all the time we have left and the journeys ahead.
image

This week on Curieuse we kept busy with Lemon sharks, Coco De Mers, turtle nests, and bird surveys. Finally after a dry spell, the group caught a few shark pups to measure and tag!
image

One of the hardest, but really fun surveys, measuring Coco De Mer’s, was also a highlight this week. There’s nothing like hiking through the jungle on a mountain early in the morning climbing trees!
image

We also got the chance to snorkel off off Anse Lazio, one of the best snorkeling sites in the Seychelles, and saw sea turtles, sharks, and a countless number of fish!
image

After a long week we all pitched in on Friday night in cooking a delicious BBQ dinner with freshly caught fish, garlic flatbread, potato salad and an awesome cake dessert. Our resources may be limited but that doesn’t stop everyone from making a delicious meal! image

So after a busy sixth week we greatly appreciate some much needed rest but can’t wait to be back at it again next week! With only a couple of weeks left we can’t wait to see what else there is to be done, we only hope it doesn’t all go by too fast! Thanks for checking out our blog and our journey and we will do our best to keep everyone updated in the weeks to come!
image

Week 5 Already?

image

After another busy week on Curieuse full of surveys and hard work we finally have some time to update everybody on our journey!
This week a new group of volunteers joined us and it’s been a great time getting to know new people from all over the world! And of course teaching everyone previous base traditions was a must like our daily sessions of intense volleyball.
This week we also both had the opportunity to organize a survey day and then lead volunteers and successfully complete a survey, which was more work than we thought! From planning when and where to go to making sure everyone was on the same page we managed to pull it off!

image

Afterwards we spent the rest of the week on surveys like measuring Coco De Mer, turtle nest surveys, and mangrove salinity tests, or as we call them, mudskips! Though hiking through the rough terrain on the island can be difficult the views are stunning!

image

image

And finally this week we began the planning process for a fundraising event we are organizing in 3 weeks to help raise money for the SSPCA or the Seychelles Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. It is a day full of games and friendly competition in which the group that raises the most money for the SSPCA will get certain advantages throughout the day to give them a better shot at winning an awesome prize! The website is
http://www.justgiving.com/theamazingcurieuserace
and has all the information pertaining to the event on March 4th!
So after another busy week with 3 weeks to go we have a lot of experiences here behind us with hopefully many more to come!
image

Our 1st Month in the Seychelles

image

It’s hard to believe it’s already been a month that we left the cold and snow of Wisconsin and traveled halfway across the world to the Seychelles. The past month has been full of new experiences and memorable lessons and hopefully we will continue to learn even more over the next four weeks.
This week we finished up a few surveys, before having a going away barbecue on Wednesday for all of the one month volunteers, followed by a camp clean and now the departure of the majority of the group we’ve lived with for the past month.

image

Last night the staff surprised us and treated everyone to a glass of champagne and music at a perfect viewpoint of the sunset to celebrate the last night for the group! The view was amazing and it was great to celebrate with the group one last time!
image

Though a few are staying on, us included, there are new volunteers arriving today from all over the world that we are eager to meet!

Overall this month in retrospect has been full of learning experiences and memories we won’t soon forget and we look forward to the next month and all it has to offer!
image

Week 3 Here in the Seychelles !

image

Week three on Curieuse has come and gone and it’s crazy to think there are another five to come! This week was an eventful week starting off with Carolyn’s 22nd birthday on Monday! After a day full of surveys we celebrated with peanut butter chocolate chip cookies for everyone and a giant cookie and a candle for the birthday girl.

Throughout the week we also did multiple surveys on the mangroves, in which we test the soil at certain points for the temperature and salinity to see how it affects the mangrove plants!

We also worked with the tortoises on the island during a tortoise census in which we identify a tortoise, then take various measurements to keep track and monitor the island’s population. Because Curieuse is one of the few places on the planet where giant tortoises live not in captivity, monitoring and documenting how they’re doing is crucial!
image

On Thursday we were all taken over to Praslin to visit one of the Seychelles’ World Heritage Sites, The Valley De Mai! It contains many endemic species in the Seychelles like the Coco de Mer and the black parrot! After hiking for a couple hours we all packed on to a local bus, as crazy as they are, and made it back to the beach to get back to Curieuse. It was amazing to see and the sites were great!
image

Friday night was barbecue night and after preparing fries and salad the staff grilled up freshly caught barracuda for everyone!
image

After some cards, ping pong, and other festivities we ended the week and now have a couple days to prepare for our last week with all of the one month volunteers!

Weekend on Praslin!

image

After a busy first few weeks we had the chance to travel around on one of the main islands, Praslin, for the weekend, to explore the Seychelles even further. After getting dropped of by the project staff early Friday morning we all went out to breakfast at a resort called Paradise Sun, which is a pretty exclusive resort but offers its breakfast for not too much money. After eating more than we should’ve and enjoying the endless choices of food we had the chance to relax by the pool for a bit, use their WiFi, and prepare for the weekend.

image

After a relaxing morning the other volunteers left to travel around a neighboring Island, La Digue, while we stayed on Praslin for the weekend. After checking into our guest house on the beach, which we were given an awesome deal because we work on Curieuse, we were invited by staff at Paradise Sun to see a local band and dancers that perform for hotel guests but because we were with Gvi and they appreciate what the organization does here in the Seychelles we were invited to come. The celebration was great, with the local band playing while dancers danced by a huge fire. Everyone was invited to join in so we got to have some fun dancing with some of the locals! It was a great experience that we wont forget!

image

The next day we decided to take the local bus and visit Anse Lazio, a well known beach on Praslin, and Mt Zimbabwe, which has a great view of Curieuse Island. The local buses are crazy with winding roads and barely any space between oncoming traffic but luckily we made it. The beach looked amazing and after a long hike up the steepest roads we’ve ever seen we made it to the top of the mountain and saw the whole Island of Curieuse!

image

image

Now we are back at Paradise Sun on our last day off awaiting to be picked up and taken back to Curieuse for another busy week!

Week 2 in the Seychelles!

image

With our 2nd week in the Seychelles coming to an end there is a lot that we have learned and even more that is to come. This week when surveying the island we spent a lot of time on the island’s population of lemon sharks! The mangroves on the island provide the perfect environment for lemon shark pups because of the protection of offers from predators like larger sharks. We spend time attempting to catch sharks using a simple bait and hook to gill nets to catch, record, tag and release the sharks to help gain information to better understand the lemon sharks on Curieuse. Also walking around in the mangroves with stingrays, crabs, and shark pups is really cool to see!

Here is a net outside of the mangroves during the shark surveys.

image

This week we also spent a day becoming certified emergency first responders! After long videos, training,  and a test of course.

Ronnie pretending to be dead..

image

Now we are finishing off the week with a weekend on Praslin, getting to explore more of the Seychelles and everything there is to see! So with the 2nd week coming to an end we are excited for the lessons to come and will try to keep everyone updated as best we can!

image

The view from the top of Mt. Curieuse! So worth it after the challenging hike!

image

Carolyn in a Coco De Mer, an endemic species in the Seychelles, during a survey!

Week One on Curieuse Island

image

Though it seems like we left home a long time ago, only our first busy week in the Seychelles is coming to an end. From the minute we landed on Mahe exactly a week ago it’s been a nonstop learning experience. Not only learning the countless studies and surveys taking place on Curieuse, our Island, but just the day to day life on base and all of the changes we’ve learned to live with. When we landed in the Seychelles last week, after days of traveling, we met with the project’s staff before taking a ferry from Mahe to another Island,  Praslin. Once there we met with everyone on the project and took our final boat ride from Praslin to Curieuse. The base which we live on is an old leper colony from the 1800’s that was abanded and is now used by GVI for it’s research base.

image

Our dorm!

image

The first few days consisted of many presentations and training before Monday, our first survey day. All the meals are made from scratch and everyone on base takes turns cooking,  which surprisingly is pretty awesome food. Monday through Friday are work days in which the surveys can consist of bird watches, turtle walks, mangrove surveys, coco de mer census, and lemon shark surveys. In between those there can be other things done but that’s what is currently being studied on the island.

image

After long days of hiking the island, collecting data, and snorkeling, we usually go to bed shortly after. The team on base this month, a total of 16 people, consists of people from all over the world, which makes for some pretty competitive volleyball games, usually USA vs Europe, and so far it’s all tied up..

image

Now it’s the weekend and after taking the boat in to Praslin we enjoyed an exquisite breakfast buffet and now have the whole day to recouporate and most importantly, we have WiFi! You never really appreciate a flushing toilet until you spend some time on Curieuse! So far the first week has been full of lessons and adventures and we look forward to the next 7 weeks on Curieuse and all of the journeys ahead. And as always we will do our best to keep everyone updated on all of our trials and tribulations!

image

image