Well what a miserable week we’ve had; the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone has been upon us….but instead of the Doldrums we have had wind speeds gusting to 42 knots and lots of rain whichhas kept the microlight firmly on the ground and the interns largely in the office. The interns have been busy though, going back through our aerial data to digitise the sightings of other species so that these can be readily accessed by other projects…. But it’s not like working with whale sharks!
Intern Leah Meyer describes how the interns have kept going…
The majority of the last few days of the whale shark season have been spent here at the MCSS office. Team leaders have been kept busy with two Maritime Training Centre students and three students from the International School Seychelles. Whale shark excursions have been cancelled four days this week due to poor weather conditions. This gave us interns time to catch up on crucial data entry for the previous whale shark encounters. Once that was done we've used our time and manpower to enter data in spreadsheets for other MCSS programs. It's amazing to realize the amount of scientific data the MCSS processes and analyzes on a daily basis that extends beyond the whale shark program!
After a day or two of having all 6 interns sitting and working together, we seemed to develop the beginning stages of "cabin fever." Luckily there are a few regular things to do on the island. The easiest way interns can get out of the house and remain sane is by heading to the beach.
We live next to a resort with a well maintained beach and also have steps that lead straight down to the ocean if we feel like a snorkel. Heading into Beau Vallon and walking along their beaches is a nice alternative to where we live in Glacis. At the Berjaya hotel where the Underwater Centre is located (the dive shop we use for our whale shark encounters) they have a group giant tortoises! One day the interns were taken on a quick field trip to pet these enormous animals. It was so cool seeing them so close!
Leah getting up-close and personal to the local wildlife...
On some Wednesday nights MCSS staff and interns go into town and wander the "bizarre bazaar" so dubbed by Abi. We always know we can get a good meal on Wednesday nights because the variety of fresh local food is everywhere.
Leah exploring Seychelles culinary delights!
Chapatis, spring rolls, mango salad, and banana cake are MCSS staples. I was able to try fruit bat curry for the first time at the bazaar, which reminded me of a very bony lamb. They really have a great assortment of everything!
Bizarre Bazzar food seems to be a good antedote to cabin fever!
Something else MCSS staff enjoys doing to ward off cabin fever is to head down to La Faya and shoot pool. For only SR5 (the equivalent cost of a 1 way bus fare) we are able to play. Gareth and Mark have impressed locals with their pool skills while the female interns manage to embarrass themselves most of the time. On those nights it's just fun to spend time together in a setting different from the office or boat.
This week, intern Julia coordinated a Rugby World Cup 2011 raffle with the help of Abi. Twenty people consisting of interns, MCSS staff, pilots, Maritime students, and Underwater Centre skippers contributed SR5 and drew the name of one country competing in the Rugby World Cup. Whichever person draws the name with the Rugby World Cup champion wins the SR100 prize! It's little competitions like these that keep working at the MCSS fun and interesting.
The rugby World Cup sweepstake board
By working hard and balancing that with enjoying what the island of Mahe has to offer, MCSS interns have done a good job warding off cabin fever.