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Friday, July 25, 2008

Dolly threatens Pez mayans; by Sophie Ormerod and Nicolas Martin

This weekend, after a trip off base, we were welcomed home to Pez Maya with tropical storm Dolly. Panic buyers for petrol and queues of traffic heading away from the reserve made for a tense atmosphere in town, but upon returning to Pez Maya the team calmly secured the boats, made the huts as water tight as possible and then spent the evening watching DVDs. After managing to sleep through the wind, Dolly actually just brought a lot of rain, reminding us of weather at home. Although she didn’t cause much damage, Dolly whipped the sea into some serious waves which did keep us from diving for a few days so we were forced to amuse ourselves, leading to the invention of some new board games. Staff found plenty of activities to fill our time (unfortunately bad weather and time off diving does not mean hammock time!) so we studied for a first aid course, had Spanish lessons and continued our coral and fish study.

By Wednesday the sea had calmed down and we were back to diving. One lucky group spotted a huge green turtle, maybe one of the ones that has been visiting our beach to lay eggs. Some volunteers headed into town to help out with GVI’s community projects. In the morning we leant a hand tidying the recycling centre, which was actually constructed by GVI, and then we headed to a summer school to teach local children about the threats humans pose to turtles. It was great to get out and see what else was going on and how we could help in different places and by doing things other than collecting data about the reef.

Later on in the week the Army visited again, this time for a friendly game of volleyball and then football on the beach. I don’t think a winner was ever finally agreed upon but we hope for a rematch soon.