Monday, September 3, 2012

Intern Introductions...

Like Willie Wonka giving out the chance to tour his wondrous factory, Dr. David Rowat has chosen six interns to take part in Marine Conservation Society Seychelles; the much anticipated 2012 Seychelles whale shark season is upon us. Who are these lucky interns who have signed up for what plans to be the best 3 months of their lives? Let’s read on and meet them those lucky few with a golden ticket of sorts.

 John Tully – A retired firefighter from Scotland who has gone gallivanting about in the world exploring what it can offer or more importantly what he can offer the world. Singapore, Spain, France, and South Africa are just a few areas he has stepped foot in. His most recent voyage served as volunteer at GVI Seychelles (A volunteer expedition that studies and surveys the reef’s health around the island through their biodiversity, as well as megafauna and turtle monitorings around the north bays of Mahe). Lately known to pull tom-fooleries around the intern house, we wonder what mischief is next.

Jozefien Decoene – With a degree in biology (majoring in zoology and a year in marine biology) Jozefien teaches students 17/18 years of age in Belgium (the equivalent to American High School or A levels in England). When on holiday from teaching, she takes part in expeditions very much like MCSS. Last year involved a study on dolphins off the Canary Islands (Identification, and size populations of Bottlenose dolphins and pilot whales). With English as her second language, a hearty laugh is in order when trying to explain why there are background giggles whenever the program G.I.S is said alloud in its abbreviated form.


Amanda Hutchinson – Coming from a medicinal background, a business woman in the chiropractic field from Birmingham decided to have a “mid-life crisis”. Taking a year off thanks to a patient who recommended the Seychelles, she is pursuing a dream of being in the presence of the magnificent whale shark. Selfish reasons are not the case here as she is more than happy to partake in the marine conservation projects that MCSS has to offer. Medicine and marine life aren’t the only big “M’s” in her life. She wishes deeply to play the guitar and constantly keeps the interns upbeat with her laughter and songs. Can she perhaps lure these gentle giants into our presence with her dulcet tones?
 Ross Makulec – With a bachelor’s and a master’s in Mechanical Engineering, Ross then flew to Seychelles to also take part in GVI for 22 weeks (10 volunteering at Cap Ternay followed by 12 weeks of divemaster internship at the Under Water Center). Ross loved the Seychelles so much he never left as he has been volunteering with MCSS since March of 2012 helping David and the MCSS team with many projects. Ross is an exceptional photographer and I’m certain David will appreciate the extraordinary ID photos for use with Iris (I3S: Interactive Individual Identification System). The intern house is also indebted to Ross for his unbelievable culinary skills. 
Maddy Cole – Where do we start? This outdoorsy girl has done it all; kayaking, rock climbing, scuba diving, mountain biking, hiking and more. Another person to traipse through the GVI Seychelles dive master halls with a marine background and an insane amount of love for animals, Maddy returned to Seychelles to join the MCSS team in its entire whale shark splendor. Already having background to MCSS with their turtle monitoring last year, she has a heads-up as the how the program works and hopes to see and ID as many whale sharks as possible.

Savinien Leblond – This guy has also seen the likes of GVI Seychelles and was immediately hooked in the marine conservation life as a diver. With a bachelor’s in Biology and a massive history of constantly being in the water growing up, he would do anything to come back to the Seychelles to partake in the marine research. Lo and behold…an intern on the MCSS whale shark team for the year 2012. Using his leadership skills gained from the scholar life at Cap Ternay he hopes to make a mark this expedition and continue his pursue to be a marine biologist.

So these are the interns for 2012. Two weeks of boot camp have already gone by which means we have been thoroughly trained in the arts of ID’ing through IRIS, sequencing waypoints using the program G.I.S as well as being very hands on and intimate with Wally. Our two team leaders, Sam and Darren have done an exceptional job (they were interns last year) so far and have kept moral up during the “dry” no fly days. Everyone has been welcoming and we already feel part of the team ready to work for the goal; 2012 MCSS…here we are with our golden tickets.

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