It’s so hard to be fair to any organisation like GVI during COVID times, but I’ll try. They have been under a lot of strain as the pandemic has shredded their industry, and communications with head office have been patchy at times, but I must give them a bit of leeway here as they are firefighting an ever-changing situation.
Curieuse was not my first choice of project this year, but in the end, it was the only option, and with time off work already agreed and non-negotiable, I had to do something! GVI are not cheap, and they were not going to make it easy to get a refund, despite verbal assurances of full flexibility when I booked back in July for another pair of programmes. So, determined to make the best of a tricky situation, I set off for the Seychelles.
I have no complaints about the setup, the work or the onsite staff at all. It’s a magical island, and the basic life was pretty much as I expected, and works well. I have not felt the lack of anything really, and easy access to neighbouring Praslin means that little luxuries are usually attainable. The attitude towards COVID has been common-sense, and has not impacted my enjoyment of the work on the island.
The weeks are well-balanced with lots of early starts and early evenings, many of which allow us to watch consistently spectacular sunrises and sunsets. There is also enough time off at weekends to explore neighbouring islands, or simply relax. Each week there is a stimulating variety of surveys to complete, many of which involve energetic hikes across the island on rough trails, affording time to spot wildlife and enjoy the views.
The animals are magnificent and it’s a real privilege to be able to work almost daily with nesting turtles and shark pups. Jazzy and her team helped me to feel fully involved with the work and are very knowledgeable about the island and its ecosystems. They have also been consistently flexible during this time, adapting their schedules and the work to changing circumstances.
Eight weeks here has been time well spent, and I’m pleased with how it’s gone, considering that it was not my ideal project. As an intern, I was also able to find my own mini-project, which became about illegal poaching, and completing this added another dimension to my time here. I would recommend the project to anyone with a genuine interest in these animals.