Check out Olivia's volunteer blog she wrote, during her 6 week expedition with Barefoot Conservation in Raja Ampat....Weeks 3 & 4
Olivia's blog week 3
Saturday 22nd Feb
I haven’t been able to write for a few days because we’ve been busy but Wednesday we had two awesome dives in the morning before the boat headed off to Waisai. On Thursday we had two dives, the first one was a fish pointy where we saw a beautiful big cuttlefish, which is for the moment my favorite thing in the ocean! They are so cool and strange, in a good way! I couldn’t stop looking at it! The second dive was an algae and invert trail which I passed! In the evening Chris had a lecture about plankton which was super interesting as I didn’t know much about them really.
Yesterday, Friday we were supposed to dive at manta sandy but it was too much current so we aborted the dive, but I got to dive at Lalousi instead and that was beautiful! In the evening we had a night dive which was awesome, I love night dives. We saw lots of stuff such as a baby swimming feather star, maybe 2-3 cm big. We saw a baby swimming flatworm, I missed it but some others saw a little white dwarf cuttlefish. We also saw a super cool robust ghost pipefish! It was really funny, I was pointing it out to one of the other divers and was super excited, but because it is so camouflaged she didn’t see it and thought I was going crazy about a bit of seaweed, but in the end she saw it and thought it was super cool too.
This morning anyway I had a fish pointy and then we took the boat to blue magic which was really pretty. Probably the prettiest dive I’ve done here so far. We saw lots of fish and corals plus a swimming wobbegong shark! After we went to Waisai and spent the afternoon with internet contacting people back home!
Sunday 23rd Feb
Today it’s Sunday which means dive free day, but that didn’t stop us being out of the water! Me, Varsha, Arno and Chis went out on a beautiful snorkel past the main jetty. We were out for almost two hours and we saw so much stuff such as a big octopus changing color every time we swam past, we saw a 1, 5 meter sea crate, a few squid, a black tip reef shark and lots of fishes and corals! On Sunday afternoons we have started to have basic English lessons for the adults here in the village which is lots of fun! They are so eager to learn! In the evening Simon had bought lots of stuff from Sorong so that we could have a bbq! A great evening with the group and lots of laughs. In the evening Githa and Tom had prepared a few videos about the ocean and mantas for the locals. They all seemed to enjoy it, especially the kids! Then me and some others slept on the jetty under the stars which was magical.
Monday 24th Feb
Today I only had one dive because my ear was in a bit of a pain. The dive was a fish pointy dive which was good, the rest of the day I studied fish in the sun and then at five we had our fish computer test which I passed! Yey! In the evening we had “movie-night” where we watched a French old movie called “the big blue”. I didn’t understand a word as it was all in French but it was relaxing to watch anyhow.
Tuesday 25th Feb
Today I skipped diving because of my stupid ear, but I went to Yenbuba school to teach the kids English. Helen had a great presentation about mantas for the kids which they seemed to love! Back home in Arborek she had the same presentation for the kids and adults here and then there was a few competitions where the winners could name a few of the identified mantas. Lots of fun! It was also one of the other volunteers last night here in Arborek and she also finished of her dive master course with the traditional snorkel test!
Olivia's blog week 4
Wednesday 26th Feb
Today I skipped the diving again because of my ear, but I still had an awesome day! It was a beautiful day with lots of sunshine. In the morning we who wanted to went to school here in Arborek to teach the kids English and it is extra fun teaching here on the island because we know all the kids here already. The rest of the day we spent on the jetty, swimming and sunbathing all day with lots of kids from the village joining us later on in the day. In the evening there was no clouds so I met Carmen, Leah, Rob and about five of the kids from the village on the other side of the island where the sun goes down. We had lots of laughs and had so much fun. It was a great day today and it’s actually quite nice being a smaller group now, from 17 to 10 people. In the evening we saw “Captain Phillips” and then I attempted to sleep on the jetty but it started to rain in the middle of the night so we had to run inside!
Thursday 27th Feb
Finally back diving again! So in the morning we went to Yenbekwan to teach the kids English, which was really fun, they love learning there. We taught them about sisters and brothers which is a bit of a challenge for them as they don’t refer their siblings as boy or girl but as older or younger instead. But they seemed to get the hang of it and I think they managed it really well. After we were supposed to dive at Yenbuba but the tide was to low so we went back to Arborek and dived there instead. My first dive was a fish validation which I didn’t but almost passed and my second dive was a coral pointy with Rob which I was totally useless at but it was still good practice. The really funny thing was what happened at the safety stop. Me and Claire had for some reason a really hard down staying down! I think there was a slight up current but maybe we had to little weights. Anyway, we were kicking downwards trying to stay down, I tried to hold on to a piece of rope which was lying on the seabed but it kept untangling and going with me upwards. Claire was cuddling a small rock but it still wouldn’t hold her down. I don’t think I’ve laughed so much under the surface and Carmen and Leah who also where at the safety stop looked at us like we were crazy, haha. Anyway, when my three minutes where up I couldn’t hold it anymore so I went up to the surface with Claire and Rob right behind me.
Friday 28th Feb
This morning we had a beach cleanup which was necessary, then we had coral lecture number two which was interesting, but I don’t really know how I am going to get all the names in my head. It takes practice I guess. Then after lunch I had my first dive of the day which was my second coral pointy which went better today than yesterday, which is an improvement! My second dive was my second fish validation which I didn’t pass this time either! More hopes for next time!
Monday 3rd Mar
It’s been lovely weather all weekend so I’ve began to get lots of color! This Saturday it was a dive free day because they we’re burning coconuts next door, but that meant I could have all day to get the coral names in my head! I also read the EFR (Emergency First Response) book, as I will be starting my PADI Rescue Diver course soon. I also watched an hour and a half long film about EFR, which was interesting!
On Sunday I had a morning dive which was all right but a lot of currents. So I’ve said now that I need to get super fit and do more exercise every day besides of diving. The rest of the Sunday I studied corals and chilled out in the sun.
Today anyway I did some survey skills with Claire which was fun we did things such as, buoyancy control, laying out lines, checking visibility and other useful and fun skills. In the afternoon I had my now third fish validation, which I this time finally passed! After we had the coral computer test which I also passed! Good day!
Tuesday 4th Mar
This morning me, Claire and Tom went to Yenbuba to teach English. We thought that as it was just us three we would put the two classes together to one but the teacher there didn’t want us to do that so Claire took the older kids and me and Tom took the younger, we didn’t know really what to do so we made up things as the time went by which was quite funny. When we came back my first dive was my first survey! I did algae’s and inverts which was fun! So good to now being able to do surveys and help to contribute! My second dive of the day was a coral pointy test which I passed! So tonight we just took it easy played a few rounds of bananagrams and chilled out all evening.