The first week of my trip has been thrilling. After an insanely long journey, including a 10 hour flight from Paris to Madagascar, I finally arrived at Reef Doctor, the site is well-laid out, and I settled in quickly. I have been staying in the dorm for the past few nights, as the site was full of people, but a few have now left, meaning that by Monday I shall have my own space and will be able to full unpack, rather than living out of my suitcase.
The meals served are delicious, usually rice or pasta based. But I have found myself struggling with the water, which is chemically treated to fully cleanse any residual bacteria. So I have been buying bottled water which was easier to get used to, though I don't like leaving all the plastic bottles in an environment meant to reduce plastic waste and other such damage. This weekend, I went into the nearby town Toliara and visited the supermarket and bought some squash to better mask the taste, so I now drink it more frequently until I get better used to the flavour.
Friday was a holiday, a Madagascan form of day of the dead, so that was also a day off at Reef Doctor. I visited a nearby hotel with a few other volunteers, where they allow us to use their pool if we buy a couple drinks. Unfortunately, I spent too long in the sun, and forgot the benefit of sitting in the shade, and managed to burn my hands and feet, so they are very sore, though I am constantly putting on aloe vera and moisturiser to soothe it. Hopefully it will heal up quickly!
Though I haven't officially started working and such here, I have taken part in some activities, such as attending some presentations on seagrass and survey techniques, and helping out with waste management, organising the waste collected from six months of beach cleaning projects, separating rags from usable clothes. So far everything has been interesting, and everything I have learned is intriguing!
I have slept comfortably, but already have started waking earlier than I usually would, as the camp wakes up at 6:00-7:00 am, sometimes I wake up at night, disturbed buy the animals, often the geckos are too loud and keep me up, so I find myself listening to music or podcasts to distract myself. The birds are also very loud, as the sun rises, and I hope to work out what type of birds they all are, as well as all of the new constellations that I can see in the clear night sky! The amount of insects is a little horrifying, with giant hissing cockroaches the length of my finger, and a multitude of other bugs and spiders, but the mosquito nets keep most of them out of my bed., though it is a little spooky at night.
Next week; Week 2, The beginnings of dives and new things to learn!