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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Week 7 in Pez maya, by Foxy

Following on from the previous blog, my Week 2 (Week 7 of the Phase), was less about new experiences and more about finding and expanding our individual comfort zones; Learning how to shower with less and less water (some volunteers (female, I might add) boasting about now being able to use a quarter of a bucket per wash… whether they are finding all the crucial crevasses or not, I shall leave unsaid); finding comfort in being constantly sandy and/or salty; not being scared every time an iguana crosses our paths, or decides he wants a good night kiss; “enjoying” a warm soda or beer; dealing with the bruises from entering and exiting the boat; feeling increasingly confident in our diving abilities – all the “Newbies” being one, all exciting Deep Dive away from the Advanced Open Water certification; increasing our scientific knowledge - with over half of the “Newbies” having passed the written Coral/Fish exam; and finally getting used to the wonderful, and occasionally weird, company we are in!

Apart from the weekly beach clean, the weekend provided us with a chance for a “fun dive”, with no teaching or science, and an opportunity to get offsite! Those that did venture offsite ventured to Tulum, the closest town, and they used their time to catch up with their loved ones, find something cold to drink, and to get some much desired meat in their system! It was also an opportunity to buy some alcohol for the impending party that Saturday night would behold… Those that stayed on site had a relaxing afternoon kicking back in the hammocks, feeling very carefree indeed!

So, Party Night… I´m not sure who exactly will be reading this, so I shall leave it fairly vague and leave the rest to your very own lucid imaginations… The night was kicked off with everyone taking a Tequila shot from the infamous Wizard Stick, whilst donning the Wizard hat… Then the Cereal Box Game was instigated… Once everyone was suitably liberated by the alcohol some serious dancing started. We had Salsa dancing, Belly-dancing, Rave, Two-Step, and everything in between… There was even a spot of George Sampson style rain dancing! Everyone was performing at the top of their game – this was unequivocally due to our DJ, Austria´s finest export, Roman “Get your hands in the Air” Schagala. Needless to say, that night brought everyone in the camp closer, and you could see the following morning when people would sheepishly grin to each other and recollect tales of hilarity and embarrassment, that they knew they had let their guard down ever-so-slightly.

Monday seemed to roll around far too quickly for most, and recommenced the routine that we are all beginning to get used to; the early wake ups, the chores, and more importantly the dives! I make it sound a lot like hard work, but it comes with the territory. This place needs us to do our bit to keep it-self operating and to allow the staff to concentrate on the more important things like planning, conservation and science.

Other things to note from the week, a Terrestrial community project has begun, whereby several volunteers and 2 staff travel to a local community to teach them some basic English. Reports came back of a thoroughly entertaining afternoon; I look forward to my turn! Well done to Vicky for getting that one sorted.

Birding also recommenced after a few days break, aside from the common Mangrove Swallow, not a great deal was spotted… The monitoring will continue throughout the phase, and no doubt beautiful things will be spotted.

During a late night stroll one of the volunteers spotted a Turtle nesting, one of natures most amazing sights. There are few words that can describe what was seen, but it seemed like a true labour of love.

Finally, on another note, I am still waiting for some rainfall to test the water collection system, of which a prototype has now been installed on one of the eight gutters in need of attention.

Enough from me this week… Off to yet another boat push, my least favourite chore of the day. I am rapidly losing my preciously soft city boy hands, and the calluses are growing and growing… along with my muscles (or so I´d like to think…)!

Hasta la vista.