Volunteering in Seychelles – Awesome, Experiential, and Meaningful

Posted by: Noam

So I just came back to my home in Israel after the most amazing month of my life doing the Wildlife Conservation Expedition. In January, I arrived to Curieuse Island in Seychelles and met my group for the next month- 12 amazing people from the US, UK and Germany. When we arrived I felt like I had found paradise, such a beautiful and special place! Every morning it was a pleasure to wake up at 6:30 a.m. and start the day with our awesome surveys – with the sea turtles or with the lemon sharks, the coco de mer trees or go to run in the mud at the mangroves!

Mud skips involves (unsurprisingly) getting down and dirty in the mangrove fields! We sat around in the mud specifically locating poles and once located check salinity and temperature of each pole to examine the health of the Mangrove trees in each area. We also had some funny mud races!

Now Coco de Mer involves going off the set paths around the island and in to the dense bush to find the Coco de Mer trees that have been previously surveyed on trips by groups before us. We check the trees every three months (as they take a long time to do almost anything!) and just make sure that the tree is healthy, whether or not it is male or female and see if it is growing any nuts. Once we’ve found the tree we check the leaves & the fruits. Because it’s such a large tree you can sit on the leaves comfortably and it holds your weight without a problem! A very bizarre, but fun experience.

Shark pup tagging is an early rising experience. We have to be up and out by 5 am as we have to be packed away by 8am when the tourists arrive (we don’t want the tourists to start trying to catch their own sharks). We set up the equipment as quietly as possible and start to go around the shark bay with our nets and try to catch as many Lemon Shark pups as possible. This has varying degrees of success but is always a fun experience.

With a turtle walk (a “wurtle”) we walk to some beaches around the island and then we start to look for any kind of turtle activity. We search for: turtle tracks that lead up to potential nests, previously tagged nests, baby hatchling tracks out of the nest & if we’re very lucky we get to see adult turtles wading up the beach to create and lay a new nest of eggs! This is one of the most awesome experiences you can have on Curieuse, we all love the turtles!! But maybe not quite as much as the hatchlings as they have immense cuteness on their side!!!!Once a week we had to stay at the base for a duty day and cook for everyone. I found out that I like to cook!

On the weekends we left the island to explore the other beautiful islands of Seychelles. I visited Mahe, La Digge, and Praslin. Good food, hot water showers and flushing toilets – a real treat! I amazing adventures with good company– the weekends were just incredible.

It really was an awesome, experiential, and meaningful month which I will never forget! I learned a lot of new things about myself and made good friends from other countries. I recommend volunteering in Seychelles to everyone who can. Go on an experience like this, you won’t regret it!