For 6 weeks during June and July, I completed an internship on Curieuse Island, Seychelles, working on island conservation. This project stood out to me from the beginning, it seemed like somewhere I could gain hands-on experience out in the field while living in paradise, I certainly wasn’t wrong. No two days were the same, we carried out many different surveys including tortoise growth, sharking, CDM and turtle nesting activity. I will never forget the evening we caught 2
blacktip shark pups, they were incredible. Once one had been measured I was asked to release him, it was such an exciting experience I will always treasure. We also carried out beach or mangrove cleans, collecting rubbish washed up from the sea, I was shocked by the amount we would collect. Regularly we would go on snorkels from the boat to other parts of the island or nearer to the neighboring island of Praslin. There were so many beautiful fish to see and if you were lucky, even turtles! I couldn’t quite believe it the first time I saw a turtle, a little Hawksbill. As I swam closer it came nearer to the surface and swam almost alongside me, curious and friendly. On another snorkel, we had just gotten back on the boat to head back to base when someone said, “Is that a dolphin?!”. We all turned to see a pod of dolphins, it was difficult to figure out how many but I’d say at least 5 or 6. It was such an incredible moment, we were very lucky to see them. The last day of the week before the weekend would be BBQ night, this was always a time for everyone to wind down, reflect on the week and most importantly, play some games! Everyone would help with the cooking, even chocolate cake and brownies were made so there’s no worries about the kitchen being too simple! I felt very lucky with my group, everyone seemed just as passionate and interested as I was and no one held back being part of the team. The staff were incredible, they made me feel welcome from the start and I learned a lot from them all. I believe I made some great friends during my time there. On the weekends we could either stay on camp and fend for ourselves or head off Curieuse to explore the other islands. I did a few trips while I was there including La Digue and Bird Island, I loved getting to know the culture a bit better and totally fell in love with Seychelles by the end of the 6 weeks. On the weekends I stayed on Curieuse I was never short of things to do. For example, I climbed Mount Curieuse one day, the view at the top was breathtaking and made the steep hike worth it. At night the stars were beautiful and if you stopped to watch them for a while you would definitely see a shooting star. The stars were reflected in the sea which lit up with bioluminescence wherever you would splash. There are no other words to describe it than perfect.
From this project, I gained invaluable experience in the field, leading groups of volunteers on surveys and carrying out my own project. I can’t thank the staff enough for their support during my internship. Anyone else considering doing this project shouldn’t hesitate, it is a truly unforgettable experience and you won’t regret it.