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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

1st impressions in Punta Gruesa marine conservation base!

Here we are, we have finally arrived on our first day of 10 weeks from Playa to our new
home – Punta Gruesa base.

We are all very tired, jet lagged and emotional, but we have made it. We like what we see. (At least I do).

And then it all begins. We put our bags into huts, we are learning the rules of the base, health and safety rules and duties. Somehow it’s a bit overwhelming but we’re getting there. I mean, it’s been only few hours but hey, it has to be done and over with. View on the beach is great, staffs are cooking delicious lunch and dinner and we feel like on holidays. (So far, so good)

Well it all ends with after dinner announcements. We have a day to get acclimatised and on Sunday is our turn to do all those duties staff been doing up till now. And we have to be up at 6am!!!! Yes you heard right (well-read right), 6am.

There are four kinds of duties: kitchen, communal, ground and boat duty.

I’ll start with kitchen as food is number one on everybody’s list, and we are a hungry lot.

So group of volunteers gathers in the kitchen to cook – that’s not bad. We have to prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner (for English natives it’s breakfast, dinner and tea). You have to (from very limited resources) prepared a very delicious meal. Well, I can tell you one thing – from day 1 everybody is competing for the best meal, making breads, chutneys, sauces of all kinds and so far the food is just amazing, though sometimes there is not enough. Yummy, scrummy for our tummy.

Right, communal duty – as the name suggest, it’s all about togetherness. And that also includes toilets and cleaning the Palapa. It has to be said, it is the easiest and one of the fastest duties on base.

Ground duty is raking the sand and looking for sand flies. And there are many of those and if you could see everybody’s legs, you would be laughing your head off. We all looking like a polka dot material or new type of coneys – one of the fish you have to learn here. It’s not bad duty at all; you are out there breathing a fresh air, having fun until you are swept by torrential rain. No surprise here, we are in hurricane season. The only things you can see are 45 degrees banded trees, lots and lots of water and nothing else. If you fast enough, you can use it as shower, which is more than welcome here and not to say, it is also a great fun.

And last duty is a boat duty. As the name suggest it’s all about boats. Yep. We get two boats to get ready. Their names are: Kalam – ha, Hu’ulkin.

Boys like this duty especially and it’s quite great as you get to learn more about boats. What’s go into safety box (which is always good to know), what are the boat sides called (still have problem with that) and learn knots. Quite important if you don’t want to swim to get the boat (and no, it didn’t happened – yet).

Well those are all duties on base and its great fun to be part of them. As an individual you learn more about yourself and your likes and dislikes and for the most important part you become a part of a great team. And I think being here and being part of team or part of something, is what this is about.