Tank Girl just had to have the next word and so here's a post from intern Dominique Rhoades describing how she's settling into the island way of life.... ________________________________________
Wednesday night bazaars have become a weekly tradition where we stock up on the best and cheapest food around, with a special mention of the veggie samosa’s and banana and bread fruit chips.
Driving around Mahe is mayhem, I’ve learnt not to look at the road when on the bus as it’s too scary – better to look out the window at the nice sea and mountain view!
We are going to attempt all the hikes on Mahe, and have already started with an easy one along the cliffs to a secluded beach. The volunteers also made a Whale Shark game to play in the evenings, which we hope to market soon!
Myself, Abi and Tori decided to explore some of the other islands while we were waiting for good weather to start Whale Sharking… Cat-Coco Ferry - Possibly the most treacherous ferry crossing in the world, sea sickness all around but that didn’t stop us sitting the bad weather out!
We got the first ferry of the day to Praslin Island to go to the Vallee De Mai, which was unlike anywhere I’d ever seen before with huge trees and Coco De Mere’s everywhere… Lots of Big spiders, lizards and snails… We could hear lots of birds but very rarely saw them as the vegetation was so dense......quite expensive entrance but understandable as the major income for the island and very impressive!
The next place we wanted to visit was Curieuse Island, with its Giant Tortoise sanctuary and mangrove swamps, and history of the old leper colony. As there are no scheduled boats to get there we had to find someone with a small boat and haggle a price to be taken to, and picked up from the island… We managed to get there without too much trouble but were still a bit apprehensive about being left on the island – what if he didn’t come back for us?! The Tortoise Sanctuary was amazing, with them all roaming free and grazing down to the beach – they were all numbered for a new census and they even had a 3 legged one, which although I saw walking I’m still not sure how he managed it! We got to see the babies too, which are kept in pens until they are 5 years old so they don’t get attacked by rats or crabs, we were allowed to hold them. We walked along a raised platform through the mangrove swamps that cover Curieuse and must have seen about 300 crabs of all different sizes and colours and then after visiting the Doctors House, who lived on the island for 2 years to help the leper’s, we waited on the beach for our lift back to Praslin… And true to word he did come back for us!
We got the ferry to La Digue that evening and rented bikes straight away to explore the island, asking the locals for advice on where to see the next day – we soon realised we had time to see everywhere in a day as the island is tiny! Next day we got up early and set off on our bikes with picnics and visited all La Diege’s beaches, its working village and Tortoise’s, we stroked the ox’s that taxi people around on carts, did some souvenier shopping as got the ferry back to Mahe that evening! We had a party to get home to – Disney themed at David’s!
Everyone else has been in the micro-light now and I have been spending a lot of time with Johan at the airport waiting for good weather to go in the micro-light… The wait has been quite long so I’ve been entertaining myself with playing in any machine I can find – and no one seems to mind much so I’ve been playing in tanks, with old machine guns, in helicopters and planes! I finally got up in bad weather the other day for 30 minutes but hopefully there will be another opportunity for me to fly the whole island in good weather soon….