Species Conservation on North Island

Together with NATUCATE ambassador Chris, Daniel made his way to the Seychelles to get to know our volunteer project for the protection of endangered tortoises and sea turtles and the restoration of nature habitats on North Island. We are going to give a short review about the experiences and impressions that the two of them were able to gain during their time in the Seychelles in autumn 2017.

    Review

    Arrival

    Chris and Daniel’s journey began at Düsseldorf airport. After a long but relaxing flight via Dubai they arrived on the main island of the Seychelles, Mahé. With their arrival at the airport they already knew that a wonderful time was ahead of them: palm trees, turquoise sea and a temperature of 28°C – there are definitely worse things. They were welcomed by Richard, the driver responsible for the transport, who was already waiting in the arrival halls. After a short transfer to their accommodation in Mahé they enjoyed a whole day in Victoria, the capital of the Seychelles before they were brought to the harbour by Richard the next morning. A 1½-hour-boat trip later – depending on the waves this trip might take longer – Daniel and Chris finally set foot on wonderful North Island. Their luggage was immediately brought to the “Rat Room”, a luggage room in which it is made sure that no rat unknowingly made its home in one of the bags. Meanwhile, Chris and Daniel were given a warm welcome by the team on site and met the four NATUCATE-volunteers – the pictures they brought surely prove what a great time they had together.

    The project

    “One in a million” – a well-structured project schedule, great supervision, and of course the unique scenery of this nature paradise make this project something really special. Once they arrived at the airport, the volunteers get picked up and are brought to the harbour. After the boat crossing they are welcomed by staff members. They get an informative introduction into the project as well as an extensive explanation of their tasks. A staff member of the project constantly assists the volunteers and the project supervisor is always there. “Volunteers should be aware that the tasks and working hours are very flexible. There is no fixed timetable you just work through”, says Daniel. “Furthermore, it has to be emphasised how important independent work and physical fitness is! In the course of the beach patrols you walk up to 5 km per day. That can occasionally get exhausting.” When all work is done for the day, the volunteers often have enough time for different leisure activities in the afternoon. From 4 p.m. you can borrow and use various watersports equipment at the guest beaches. Depending on the season it can happen that the waves are so high that swimming or snorkeling in the sea is not allowed. You should also note that wearing a uniform is obligatory anywhere and anytime on the island – the guest house is an exception of course. What is meant by “uniform” can be seen on the pictures: casual short pants and a turquoise shirt that fits perfectly to the color of the sea.

    Accommodation

    Chris and Daniel’s impression of the accommodation was also thoroughly positive. The volunteers have their own house with walls made from bricks so that it very well retains the tropical heat from outside. In the house itself you can find two shared rooms with an en-suite bathroom. Every room has a normal bed and a bunk bed so that two people share a room and overall four people stay in the house. There is also a small living room where you can sit together. “You shouldn’t expect a luxurious accommodation: the house is small and very simple, but it has everything you need.” A rich buffet is awaiting you in the staff restaurant, close to the volunteer house. Volunteers get breakfast, lunch, and dinner here every day. Vegetarian diet is definitely possible – however, especially meat and fish eaters will get their money’s worth.

    If you haven’t forgotten your loved ones at home despite this unique nature that lets you easily leave your everyday life behind, you can use the WIFI in the office of our partner to get in contact with family and friends.

    What should also be said: You don’t have to fear any tropical diseases or poisonous animals. Thus, running barefoot is no problem at all.

    Daniel’s conclusion

    “Every single one participates with great passion! I was impressed by the work of the staff and also by the dedication of the volunteers. Many of them even sleep at the beach in order to experience the hatching of the eggs – incredible. This journey showed me again how important species conservation projects like these are – and that there are luckily engaged people who commit to this meaningful work and the protection of endangered species.” Everyone who wants to stand up for important renaturation measures while experiencing a real nature paradise can find both of these elements in this species conservation project. Tropical nature combined with a thoroughly well-organised project for the protection of the native flora and fauna that guarantees an unforgettable time as volunteer.“

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