Amazing what you can discover in a day

Here at Four Seasons Resort Seychelles there is a great program called One Day Discovery, enabling employees to spend a day with a team from a different department and experience life at the resort from a whole new perspective. WiseOceans volunteered for the scheme and on Wednesday I had my first ‘One Day Discoverer’, it was so exciting!

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Roni is a carpenter by trade, a member of the Engineering department and primarily a Pool Attendant by occupation. It has been two years since he swam in the sea and, having never snorkelled before, Roni’s experience and knowledge of fish is like that of people all over the world – defined by what he eats.
Well that was about to change! Roni joined me at 9am, exactly the time of our first snorkel with guests. In at the deep end… Being Seychellois and accustomed to heat (they shiver as soon as the sun goes behind a cloud!) I strongly encouraged Roni to don a wetsuit in order to survive in these 25 degree waters, and so, all kitted up, we merrily went out with our lovely two guests for a ‘refreshing’ snorkel.

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I’m not sure if it was 5 or 10 minutes before Roni was shivering violently, but we stayed out for a good hour and, when the guests wanted to go out again just half an hour after being back on shore, Roni was all for it! He listened carefully when we did the ‘Who’s who on the Coral Reef’ talk and had a lot of great questions, and in-water went from being a little cautious to absolutely confident, beginning to duck dive down to get even closer to the fish that he was seeing swimming around for the first time. After lunch, when we had both finally lost the blue tinge (I think I am as accustomed to the heat as the Seychellois these days)…
 …it was time for Marine Hour in the Kids Club! Not fazed by the lack of kids, we put on a DVD about mantas and whale sharks, both of which are visitors to the Seychelles at this time of year, and papier mached a bunch of balloons (well we all know the dangers of all work and no play…)
In all seriousness this was very important activity as the balloons, once dried hard and cut into two halves, will make most excellent turtle shells, and the Seychelles Sea Turtle Festival is only a couple of weeks away! So crucial work and demonstrable of the variety of tasks to which a WiseOceans Marine Educator must turn their hand!
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Arts and crafts done it was time for some research on the beach. Beach profiling measures segments of the beach from the vegetation at the top right down to the low tide mark, using a tape measure for lengths and an Abney level for angles. The data builds up an actual picture of shape (or profile) of the beach and when done at regular intervals throughout the year tells you how the beach is changing as sand moves around. Having only just got my head around the degrees and minutes of the Abney level reading, I was over the moon to discover that, as a carpenter, of course Roni knew how to use it already and didn’t need any help from an amateur like me! Beach profiling also requires two people, so it was fantastic to have Roni there and a great chance to get some recording done. All environmental monitoring data that we collect is given to the Department of Environment of the Seychelles government and its collection is a commitment which WiseOceans and Four Seasons Resort Seychelles take seriously.Finally there was just time to get Roni to note down his thoughts on the day, because part of being a WiseOceans Marine Educator is telling people about what you do (she says, in her blog post). This is what Roni had to say:

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“Spending one day snorkelling with Lindsay from WiseOceans, I learned more about the wildlife of Seychelles. Even though I live here I know little about fish, coral and sand movement. I’ll be looking forward to going out there to improve the knowledge I learned today. Thank you. Lindsay”Without wanting to go all gooey, this was a really special day for me too!

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