A post from intern James this week about the trial and tribulations of working with wildlife...
So it’s my turn already! I have to say it hasn’t felt like 5 weeks since Matt, Ali, Freya, Sarah and I all first showed up in the MCSS house to begin training for the whale shark season. Well, it has been eventful and I have to say everyone has embraced the programme, though how hard is it to get excited about swimming with the biggest fish in the sea?
Sadly, this week has not quite lived up to expectations; the sharks have been isolated down south in ones or twos, putting a lot of pressure on our pilots, Dirk and Johan to find them. They have stepped up well however, with only one day this week being a sharkless trip. All the same team leaders, interns and pilots have been feeling the pressure, praying our little spotty friends will crop up again as wind speeds increase.
Whilst the sharks have not been as plentiful this week we have seen other examples of awesome ocean life from Devil rays to Moray Eels.
The Seychelles is truly a haven for marine life. Unfortunately the search for the elusive Manta goes on (sorry David)! Dirk had my heart in my mouth when I heard his voice through the radio saying he had seen a manta with a wingspan wider than the boat, this led to a stream of requests to speed into police bay. However as conservationists whilst we aim to support all marine life, our primary concern is the whale shark and we conveniently had a young male eager to deprive the manta of our reverence, so, quite rightly, we stayed.
This week, whilst it has been tough, has also provided many highlights of the trip, namely the regatta. With music, food and drink (in moderation of course) the regatta has provided entertainment over the weekend; even if the Seychellois idea of a festival is for it to end at eleven, Tequila Boom is on-hand to pick up any stragglers.
Anyway this is a whale shark blog not a guide on Mahe’s “extensive” night-life, so back to it. This week has still seen us go out four times, I have been fortunate enough to have been on the boat three times, twice as recorder and once as a swimmer, though that time the sharks were elusive and despite Johan’s best efforts we could not manage a single encounter. This is just the way it goes, but as Savi pointed out its ‘Setti luck’. Yes Savi it is indeed!
Whilst Ali, Savi and I struggled to find any sharks it has been fortunate that the other half of the team have had several encounters this week, making up for our lack thereof and keeping the guests happy and flocking in to book more spaces on the boats. Here’s hoping next week picks up again!