Being granted the opportunity to contribute to ecosystem restoration and provide education to a new community, it’s a biologist’s dream, isn’t it? I’ve certainly been greeted every morning this past month with a genuine sense of pride to be a part of the WiseOceans team and real excitement to continue the development of the Reef Restoration Project here at Four seasons Resort Seychelles.
Before moving to Mahé I was located in Cairns, Australia bordering the Great Barrier Reef. I find myself discerning more and more similarities between these two places. From the flying foxes (fruit bats), to the palm trees, climate and marine wildlife. It’s been wonderful to find ease in settling in here due to these similarities. But what I’ve been truly delighted to discover is all the differences! For instance, being surrounded by the beautiful creole (African-French) language. Like getting to scaly nuzzle from our Aldabra tortoises everyday. Like enjoying a snake slither past your foot without having to think about its lethality and distance to the nearest hospital. Simple things, but wonderful to experience.
It’s been a whirlwind of learning at work as well, but with Georgie’s and Krishna’s guidance I feel like I’ve taken to the role like a fish to water. I’ve had the opportunity to conduct practical reef restoration demonstrations teaching guests about the biology and ecology of corals, the challenges facing coral development in Petite Anse, and educating them on how our Reef Restoration Project aims to boost coral abundance within the bay. I’ve felt like an underwater engineer, completing structural maintenance to our nursery and adding a number of new coral fragments to our collection. I’ve lead group and private snorkel tours, seeing a myriad of beautiful critters, the most notable being a green sea turtle on an early morning snorkel. And I’ve also made some scientific contributions, completing a beach profiling survey which is used by the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change Seychelles to monitor beach slope change and add to the long-term dataset for the management of the Seychelles coastal regions.
Outside of work I thoroughly enjoy hiking and nature walks. So far I’ve played tourist and climbed the summit of Morne Blanc (which gives sweeping views of Mahé’s western seaboard), explored the Port Launay region visiting the Port Glaud waterfall and observing some tropicbirds completing some beautiful aerial displays, and strolled through the Botanic Gardens discovering the endemic coco de mer trees. I cannot wait to do some diving along the northwest coastline, and travel to the neighbouring islands like Bird, La Digue and Praslin in my downtime. All up, little island life is treating me very well, and if this month is anything to go by, this coming year will be an incredible adventure!