Volun­teering Seychelles North Island – Romy

Conservation in the Seychelles: Learn more about Romy's time as a volunteer in our species conservation project on beautiful North Island.

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Romy
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Profile

Name: Romy

Age: 18

Project: Species conservation in the Seychelles

Location: North Island/Seychelles

Duration: End of August until mid-November 2019 – 12 weeks

Rating

Support from the Natucate team:

Arrival:

Project partner:

Accommodation:

Volunteering in the Seychelles – Feedback: Eight questions for Romy

1) Could you give us a short overview of your tasks in the project?
As a volunteer you have three main areas of responsibility. The first one is the marine protection project. We went on regular snorkelling trips and took pictures of all fish and underwater animals that appeared in front of our lens. Then we identified the marine animals in the pictures and entered the data into a database.

The second area of responsibility is the turtle protection project. Each morning we walked along all the beaches and collected garbage but also looked for sea turtle tracks. If we found any, we recorded them in a database. Sometimes we had luck and a sea turtle was still on the beach. Then we had the chance to watch it laying eggs. Together with the leaders of the project we measured and tagged the turtles (i.e. we put a small metal tag with an identification number on it). If a sea turtle nest on the beach was endangered due to erosion of the sand, we dug it out and moved it to protect the eggs. Of course, we were also there when the turtle babies hatched. We recorded the survival rate, number of deaths, number of unfertilized eggs, etc.

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As a volunteer you have three main areas of responsibility. The first one is the marine protection project. We went on regular snorkelling trips and took pictures of all fish and underwater animals that appeared in front of our lens. Then we identified the marine animals in the pictures and entered the data into a database.

The second area of responsibility is the turtle protection project. Each morning we walked along all the beaches and collected garbage but also looked for sea turtle tracks. If we found any, we recorded them in a database. Sometimes we had luck and a sea turtle was still on the beach. Then we had the chance to watch it laying eggs. Together with the leaders of the project we measured and tagged the turtles (i.e. we put a small metal tag with an identification number on it). If a sea turtle nest on the beach was endangered due to erosion of the sand, we dug it out and moved it to protect the eggs. Of course, we were also there when the turtle babies hatched. We recorded the survival rate, number of deaths, number of unfertilized eggs, etc.

Aldabra giant turtles also roam free on North Island. We then used an app to record their behaviour, size, whereabouts and sex, etc. We also dug up and moved the nests of the Aldabra giant tortoise because the baby turtles are very valuable in the Seychelles. This is to avoid the danger of them being stolen and then sold. For this reason, there is also a small enclosure for the baby turtles where they live until they reach a certain size.

The third area of responsibility is supporting the gardeners on North Island. The island was used as a coconut plantation until the 1970s. However, coconuts are not indigenous plants and easily displace the native flora because they grow very fast. We then removed small coconut plants on the one hand, and on the other hand we used native plant species again.

2) What were the biggest challenges for you during the project?
The biggest challenge for me was seeing many volunteers coming and going during my 3-month stay. To say goodbye again and again was sometimes difficult for me. But I was very lucky with the other participants. They were all very nice and we always got along well.

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3) Was there anything you liked in particular? Or something that you remember particularly negatively?
At the beginning of my stay, the food in the staff canteen was not very good. However, that changed a lot with the takeover through Marriott. The food became much more delicious and varied. I actually wanted to take a diving course, but unfortunately I was never able to finish it. As far as I know this was due to insurance reasons. I also do not know exactly when and if it will be offered again for future volunteers.

4) Did you have certain expectations before you travelled to the project?
I actually went to North Island without great expectations. I never worry too much before a trip and I like to be surprised. The accommodation is very simple, but I didn't expect any luxury. The island itself is just great and I really enjoyed my stay and also met a lot of interesting people. The locals were very nice as well and I had a great time. I also liked the project itself very much and I can only recommend it.

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5) Have you done anything in your free time that you can recommend to future participants?
I did not leave North Island during my time in the project, because the island itself offers lots of leisure time activities. I would definitely recommend future volunteers to go hiking. There are a total of three hiking trails that are all worth seeing. Otherwise you can rent kayaks or stand-up paddleboards. Most of the time on our day of,f we stayed at the Staff Beach and relaxed a bit.

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6) What tips would you give other participants?
I was well prepared and did not miss anything. There’s a small shop on the island where you can buy something if necessary.

7) Can you estimate how many additional costs you had on site?
In fact, you do not need to have any expenses on the island. I bought some sweets from time to time and paid in total approx. 15 euros.

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8) Here is still some room for other suggestions or reports from you:
Almost each day we went to the beach or to Spa Hill to watch the sunset. Especially the short hike to Spa Hill in the evening was a great experience.

I've tried to make the most of my stay. Together, the volunteers rented kayaks and went around the whole island. On that day we also had great view and went snorkelling at all the special places.

We also had a couple of nights to spend because a sea turtle was on the beach and laid eggs. Partly we went already at four o'clock at night to watch the turtles, but the early getting up was worth it every time.

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