On August the 18th and 19th GVI volunteers participated in a fundraising event inspired by the Amazing Race reality TV show.
For two days they battled it out, covering every inch of Mahe island in a desperate bid to complete their tasks and make it back to the Cap Ternay research base. They fought the elements as the rain gods plotted against them, they fought each other, but most of all they pushed themselves to the limit.
Tasks included writing their team names on a beach at the south of the island, collecting breadfruit from high up in the trees, making their way to another island, snorkeling to a secret beach and posing for a photo with a cow! If it sounds odd, that is because it was and who knows what the locals thought as the contenders zig-zagged their way through the streets of Victoria in a desperate bid to have their photo taken while eating a burger sat on a Crocodile? In the end there could only be one winner and congratulations go out to the Sea Slugs. A combination of cunning and insider contacts seeing them home ahead of the Turtles and the Batfish in second and third. Despite the weather, the weekend was great fun, and we have come out the other side with stronger friendships and fond memories. Most importantly amazing funds were raised for the Presidents Village children home.
A massive thank you to all of the staff and volunteers for the all the blood, sweat and tears (we had all three) and for making the event such a success.
In May GVI staff and volunteers took to the water for a fundraising Snorkel Challenge. The weather had been unkind with strong winds whipping up the waves in the Conception channel. To make sure that the conditions were safe for snorkeling, 'Manta' our dive boat headed out early to take a look before radioing in that we were good to go.
Eager to get started we made our way to Anse Souillac dressed in a multitude of outfits from Whalesharks to Where's Wally. A number of the gents even decided to slip into a dress for the occasion (any excuse). We crossed the sandflats exposed at low tide an entered the water at 12:15pm. There was a bit of swell but it was not as bad as we had feared and before long everyone was into their stride and the motley crue of fancy dressed athletes were on their way.
Despite the waves, the current was in our favour for the first stretch and quickly the leaders put some distance between themselves and the chasing pack. Despite all the talk of this not being a race Suzie powered ahead on a mission not to be beaten.
As we rounded Cap Matoopa and approached lighthouse the current changed direction just as limbs were starting to ache and the body was pleading with us to stop. A passing whitetip reef shark provided a chance to stop and get our breath before the final push into Baie Ternay and the home straight.
Incredibly the leaders approached the finish line in a time of just over one and half hours. Suzie and Simon ran the last twenty metres hand in hand before collapsing across the finish line.
One by one the other snorkelers appeared on the horizon, exhausted but desperate to make it just that little bit further. The last snorkeler crossed the finish line to huge applause at 4pm in what was a monumental effort by everyone involved.
GVI Seychelles would like to thank everyone who helped to make this event such a success and everyone for their generous donations and there is still time to donate if you have not done so already.
Yesterday a group of GVI volunteers and staff decided to give some of the children some out of school fun. We met a group of ten children on the nearby Port Launay beach. Their ages ranged from four to twelve years old. We wanted to give them some more knowledge of their local area so taught them a short lesson on the three local ecosystems that they live next to (mangroves, seagrass beds and coral reefs). The second part of the session was to be spent snorkeling so we sized up all the children with the necessary mask, snorkel and fins. Some of the kids took to it straight away and were swimming off over the reef pointing out fish, corals and sea cucumbers that they had learnt about. Some of the others needed a bit more time in the shallows to get used to the equipment and to work on their swimming skills. It is a sad fact that although the sea surrounds the Seychellois many of them cannot swim. Hopefully through these sessions we can improve on their skills and confidence in the water.
We spent several hours in the sea and the kids went from nervous and shy to exuberant and playful. No one wanted to go home and we were sad to say goodbye to the kids. Each child was presented with a GVI Seychelles Marine Biology Club snorkeling log before they went home. The log has pictures to help them identify what they see on their snorkels or swims and they can then have a record of every session they have with us. We will definitely be continuing with the sessions and look forward to seeing the kids again in the New Year.
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