Contributed by Charlotte Hawley: Over the last few years since Abbie (WiseOceans Founder) and I (Charlie) met in the Maldives we have always said how great it would be to catch up again in person…then one day while sitting at home in New Zealand’s freezing cold winter Abbie asked if I’d like to help out WiseOceans at Four Seasons Resorts Seychelles, to give Lindsay a well-deserved vacation. I was absolutely honoured to have such an opportunity in front of me.
It was a long journey from New Zealand (via Mexico – oh the adventurous life of a Marine Biologist!) but on the 4th of September I finally arrived in the Seychelles. I managed to have a good rest, then the next day I was straight down to the “Marine Ecology“ picnic table on the beach – my office for the next 3 weeks. I made sure that I was getting in the water as much as possible and was super excited to know that it was whale shark season. The resort guests were equally excited. After a couple of bad seasons it seemed that the sharks were out in force, the weather had its own ideas! Despite rain, cloud and stupidly strong wind I managed to book 10 of our guests onto very successful trips.
Over the short time I have been here, I manage to see 2 whale sharks, countless eagle rays, a stingray or two, a whitetip reef shark and hundreds of different beautiful tropical fish species. I was a bit sad that Nigel (possibly Nigella!) the resident turtle managed to elude me. What is great about the Marine Educator job is that you have the pleasure of sharing these experiences with many of the guests from the Resort. I have had some beautiful dives at One Tree Island and Alice in Wonderland where I got to see some stunning coral formations, my favourite fish (leaf scorpion fish) and plentiful amounts of Blue Tangs (that’s “Dory” by the way) which I could watch for hours. My weekends were as busy as the workdays. Going up in a Microlite looking for whale sharks was phenomenal and I recommend to go up if you get the chance, as it is a fantastic way to see the Seychelles from the air. I even got to see 3 turtles together, possibly about to mate, very exciting!
La Digue and Praslin, (two other islands) were a rushed trip but I managed to see Anse Source d’Argent, the most photographed beach in the world, with its stunning granite boulder formations scattered all around the turquoise water and white sand. I spent 2 hours walking through the pristine Valle de Mai National Park, which is home to the Coco de Mer, the biggest nut in the world. Lastly I want to say a big thank you to Abbie, Lindsay, WiseOceans and Four Seasons Resorts Seychelles for giving me the chance to have this amazing experience and one day I hope to be back in this beautiful country and to the Picnic table at Petite Anse which has the most amazing sand I have ever seen and felt.