The beginning of my first working week at Reef Doctor was loads of fun, and a little hectic. On Monday, most of the day was spent in Toliara, sorting out our visas to ensure that we would be able to stay for the full length of time. I was also busy with moving into my own hut, though it isn't a large space, it's nice to be able to unpack and spread out in my own space!
On Tuesday I had my first dive, a reminder and a check-up of skills, rather than any specific task to complete. After we ran through the basic skills, such as flooding masks and clearing them, losing your regulator underwater and buoyancy skills, we went for a swim around the nearby reef, called Rose Garden, apparently because of its coral structures that look like roses from above. It was gorgeous! There were tonnes of fish of all sizes and I was surprised that I recognised a few of them! Not many, but a few years of watching documentaries has allowed me to to spot a few parrotfish and even a scorpionfish! My best find was a peacock mantis shrimp, not normally found out of its hole where it ambushes prey from, this one was fully out in the open on the sea bed! One of the creatures I wanted to see whilst I was out here checked off my list!
Wednesday was another busy day, as I helped out on a search for sponges in the seagrass beds, though I didn't find any of use, the team leader seemed pleased with my snorkeling skills, and has confirmed that I will be helping out with them next week as well. I'm looking forward to it, as the seagrass was so pretty, and full of life! The afternoon was lazy that day, but I had a fascinating presentation about Reef Doctor's waste management program, it was interesting to hear all of the different ideas people had about how to re-use the waste from the local village and other such debris that washes up on the beach.
Today has been rather quiet, as my dive this morning had to be cancelled, due to an issue with the air tanks, that meant that we had to prioritise the group getting their open water certification rather than a fun dive. It is a bit of a shame, but I have many dives ahead of me, so I am not terribly bothered. This afternoon I will be having my first fish identification class, and I can't wait to go diving again and recognise even more fish!
Tomorrow will be spent at Reef Doctor's mangrove conservation project a few kilometers down the coast, called Honko, I've heard that I will probably be helping out with planting and maintaining the new mangrove plants, but there will be tonnes of mosquitoes, so I need to cover myself with deterrent unless I want to be bitten all over!
Though I have been feeling a little homesick, and am definitely missing creature comforts such as electricity at all hours,everyone so far has been kind and welcoming, the classes are interesting, and the ocean is beautiful, all such things keep me distracted from my worries and allow me to further enjoy the experiences before me!
Next Week; Week 3, I haven't received my schedule yet, so who knows, but I'm sure it will be fab!