On 27th March 2017, we started into a six-week adventure on the Seychelles: We took part at a species conservation project on North Island. From the boat, we could get a first glimpse of the island and it just looked beautiful! Our group leaders and the other volunteers gave us a warm welcome when we arrived. After our luggage was checked in the “ratroom” we had a look at our accommodation. It was very basic, but offered everything we needed. One of our team leaders gave us an introduction on the different tasks we would do within the following weeks. Marking the location of turtle nests during our daily beach patrols was one of the tasks, so our team leader showed us how to mark the nests correctly. He explained to us how we could tell the difference between an actual turtle nest, or if the turtle just dug a while without laying any eggs. This was quite difficult in the beginning.
Right from our first day of work this was one of our daily activities. There was a weekly timetable with different activities which had to be done.
Snorkeling and Data Entry:
We went snorkeling almost every day, to take photos of different fish and shark species, rays etc. Afterwards we had to add the new data to the database.
Another task was to relocate the original vegetation on the island. During our time in the project we planted over 500 seedlings.
Another work field was the control of insects. Which allows to find out which nutritional value the ground can offer to the animals.
Equipped with a mobile phone we were looking for the Aldabra Turtle on the island and to mark their location, sex and behaviour.
Night patrols are another part of the weekly schedule. Hereby we needed to look for turtles on the beach. The green sea turtle only lays its eggs at night on the beach. We were lucky and could watch it several times. When a turtle visits the beach at night to lay its eggs, the data of the turtle is collected. It is measured and we had to check if the turtle already had an ID. The ID is a number for registration purposes to check where the individual turtle has been seen and if it had been to this beach before to lay its eggs.
The Hawksbill Turtle season was over when we arrived on the island. But we were lucky enough to see a turtle laying its eggs. One morning Andy discovered tracks of a hawksbill turtle and together with the rest of team we waited until we could see the Hawksbill Turtle. A very impressive moment!
Our tasks were manifold and fun! We also learned a lot about the island and nature conservation in general. We took the time on our free days to explore the island. A hike to the top of Spa Hill and Bernica could not be missed. The view was amazing! Another highlight was a BBQ and Pizza on the beach at sunset.
The time in the project was the best time we ever had. We had many new experiences and learned so much about North Island and nature conservation, met so many wonderful people and experienced warmth and kindness, which led to many new friendships. We do not want to miss the time in the project!