Volunteering Seychelles North Island – Petra Lina
Petra spent four exciting weeks on North Island/Seychelles where she became active in protecting endangered sea turtles and conserving pristine natural areas. In this feedback interview she reveals more about her time.
Project: Species conservation on North Island/Seychelles
Location: North Island/Seychelles
Duration: End of March until end of April 2018
Support from Natucate team:
Volunteering in the Seychelles – Feedback: Eight questions for Petra
1) Could you give us a short overview of your tasks in the project?
My tasks included:
- Beach patrol in the morning: taking care of beach sections – collecting garbage combined with data entry in a database, searching for turtle tracks and nests and observing existing nests for “hatchlings”
- Registering nests by using GPS and reporting them in the “Turtle Book”
- Beach profiling: measuring beach sections
- Turtle GPS: tracking the Aldabra Giant Tortoise and registering it in the end as well as documenting the data in a database about movement behaviour, size, etc.
- Snorkelling with a camera and registering the data in a database in the end – including the identification of fish species
- Vegetation: working in the plant nursery – planting of new plants or bigger plants in different beach sections
- Working in the Rat Room: looking for rats in newly arrived boxes, unloading the boxes from a truck, stacking them on palettes and organising them
- Bug inspection: inspecting small bags filled with earth from different areas of the island to identify bugs and adding them to a list
- Relocating a turtle nest: the nest of a turtle with its eggs was relocated to a safer place because it almost got flushed away by very strong streams
2) What were your biggest challenges during the project?
The biggest challenges were the heat and the air density during my first days on site; apart from that I handled everything pretty well.
3) Was there anything that you liked most? Or anything that left you with a negative impression?
I liked everything very much. I’d like to stress the impressing kindness and openness of the employees and the staff on the island here. Everything is so relaxed. Including the conversations when you meet in between work or at dinner. I also like the gesture of waving at each other if you meet outside. And besides all this, we, the group of volunteers, were a very good team, we got along great and had lots of fun with others and together as a group. There is nothing I can complain about!
4) Did you have certain expectations before you started the project?
Although the NATUCATE team provided much information about the project, I had no expectations or ideas before starting it – I decided to make it a surprise. And I think it was great that way!
5) Did you do anything during your free time that you can recommend to following participants?
You can use your spare time to relax at the staff beach or explore the island by bicycle, go for a hike or, if there is enough time left, you can travel to Mahé (or to La Digue from Friday to Mondays like I did) for a weekend to have a short vacation on another island. You also can go snorkelling, diving, swimming etc. The rest of the group and I loved getting some dinner quickly and visiting West Beach, to watch the sunset and the spangled sky during dinner if the weather was appropriate. If the weather wasn’t good, we had our meals in the house and crafted friendship bracelets with an employee or played party games.
6) Which recommendations would you give to other participants?
I wouldn’t pack too much clothing. I think the work uniform was great and most of the time I only wore them. The shorts were available in different sizes (but size M (36) existed more than one time). I loved the shorts. Mosquito spray is a must-have as well as an ointment if you got bitten by a mosquito. I also packed electrolyte powder which was very helpful for me in the beginning. For me, two pairs of flip-flops were sufficient and a pair of trekking shoes is very useful, too.
7) Can you guess how many additional expenses you had?
I treated myself well (I do snack very much; a beer or cider at the beach in the evenings was wonderful). I spent about 60 euros during the four weeks on site. That excludes the trip to La Digue, of course.
8) Here is some space for further suggestions or stories:
I highly recommend everyone to explore the island alone or without the group of volunteers by bicycle – it is very nice.
I saw fluorescent sand the very first time in my life, right after a sunset at West Beach when we walked down the beach. The luminescence is caused by neural stimuli. If there is marine luminescence observed in the surges, you can cause it at the beach as well by stroking over the sand with your feet or hands. The organisms which you touch then are visible as small glowing dots. Marine luminescence is very rare due to the microorganisms needed for that cannot be found in a sufficient amount in the water all the time.
I can say for myself that the project was a wonderful experience and these four weeks were great which I don’t ever want to forget. It was a top project (for me and the other volunteers [2 Swedes, 1 Australian]).
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