Check out Olivia's volunteer blog she wrote, during her 6 week expedition with Barefoot Conservation in Raja Ampat....Weeks 5 & 6
Olivia's blog week 5
Wednesday 5th Mar
This morning I had my first coral trail which I didn’t pass because I had counted the same sized area as you do with algae and inverts, stupid me, but next time I will fix it! Then the boat went to Waisai and a few of us were left on the island. We took it quite easy, laying in the sun and did a bit of snorkeling. In the afternoon Carmen, the dive instructor, had the EFR training with me which I really enjoyed! It took about two hours but it felt like 20 minutes! I learnt lots and after I did the theory test which I passed with 92%, so now the people here can feel safe with me around, haha. In the evening the new girl, Flora, came and she seems really nice! Also a bit later a guy from the US called Shawn and his film crew who have made documentaries around the world came to Arborek and showed the whole village the documentary they’ve been making here in Raja Ampat. It was really well made with amazing footage, especially with the mantas.
Thursday 6th Mar
This morning at 7.30 we took the boat to Yenbukwan to teach English, but for some reason the school was closed but the kids were so eager to learn so they jumped through the window and opened up the classroom door from the inside! Teaching was fun, there was quite a few of us teaching and I was quite tired so I ended up sharpening pencils all lesson and played with the smallest children, while the others did a great job with the older ones. After teaching the kids walked with us to the boat while waving and yelling “good-bye!” as we drove off. Then me, Renee, Varsha and Rob did a five meter survey in beautiful Yenbuba. Where I did algae and inverts, there wasn’t much there so we finished quickly so we could continue our dive with a fun dive until our time was out and there we saw a hawksbill turtle swimming up to the surface to breath, a black tip reef shark and a super cool nudi. My stupid ear was a bit funny again so I jumped the second dive so then me and Leah were on the jetty in the sun all afternoon reading our PADI Rescue and DM books. Later on Renee, Claire, Rob and Flora came out to the jetty and we played a few rounds of bananagrams and watched the sunset. In the evening Cedric had a presentation about composting and how we and the locals can make a garden on the island. After all that while the projector was still up we watched Anchorman 2 and had a laugh.
Friday 7th Mar
After breakfast me and Tom watched the PADI Rescue videos which means that we now officially have started our rescue course! Can’t wait to learn more! After I was supposed to do a survey but I stayed out because of my annoying ear… So instead I spent the rest of the morning reading the first chapter of my rescue diver book. After lunch we got in the water and did our first exercises which included everything, from changing our regulator to snorkel, out of air situations, and to handling panicked and tired divers at the surface! Lots of fun!
Saturday 8th Mar
Busy day! This morning we headed off to Waisai to drop Simon of at the boat, then we spent a few hours there to get some internet and eat some “es buah sirsak” which is an awesome bowl full of goodness. I have no idea what it is, some kind of milk with pieces of jelly and Githa said it is some kind of fruit in it as well. Doesn’t sound nice and it doesn’t look nice but it’s amazing and super refreshing. After lunch we headed off to our first fun dive stop which was Sardines Reef. We had a drift dive which was lots of fun and we saw lots of stuff, lots of target and non-target species which we don’t see back in our house reef! We also saw a few sharks, mostly white tips but also black tips. After the dive we had drifted a far bit so the boat came and picked us up and then we went to do our surface interval on a beautiful tiny island were we ran around on the beach taking lots of photos and explored the tiny sand patch we were on. When our surface interval was done we headed off to our next dive not too far away and also had an amazing dive where we saw things such as a few spotted eagle rays, three black tip reef sharks who were really curious and came close up. We also saw a cute juvenile bi-color parrotfish and lots of nudibranches and cool flatworms!
Sunday 9th Mar
Today its dive free day and I first told myself to stay out of the water totally so I could keep my ears dry but that didn’t happen. Me and Carmen did a few lengths to build up our strength and that felt really good after! We were in for about two hours and we tried each other’s fin. We came to conclusion that my pretty pink “Cressi Frog Plus” fins are not super good doing normal kick cycles as they are a bit wider than normal but they are good for doing frog kicks, which I prefer so that’s all right! After lunch we had English teaching for the adults under some trees on the other side of the jetty which was fun as usual and then we played volleyball with the locals but I was so bad and they were so good, I gave up after a while and tried to make bahasa conversation with the old man I had been teaching English. After I went back to camp and sat in the sun for a while with the others and admired the amazing sunset that we are so spoilt with.
Monday 10th Mar
My first dive of the day was supposed to be a coral trail but the current was a bit too strong so we had a nice fun dive instead where we saw lots of different nudis and other stuff. I was of the rest of the day until four so I spent the day snorkeling with mantas and swimming a few laps. After I had my second rescue training! We practiced to rescue people from land using life buoys and other flotation devises, then we practiced doing in water rescues. Fun day!
Tuesday 11th Mar
The first dive of the day was my coral trail which I now passed and that also means that I am now finished with all the science training! My second dive of the day was algae and invert survey! I also swam a few laps in the day and in the evening we saw the documentary “Black Fish” which is about Orcas in captivity. Very sad and horrible but very interesting and we had a good discussion about it after.
Olivia's blog week 6
Wednesday 12th Mar
This mornings dive was a survey which went well. After, me and Flora spent the rest of the day on the jetty and I got to know her a bit better and I also finished chapter four in my PADI Rescue book. Also five little girls from the village came to join us for a couple of hours and we snorkeled and hung out on the jetty and did jumps in the water with them and had lots of fun. It’s really fun how we can have so much fun with them even though we can’t really communicate. They also asked if they could all have some sunscreen which I thought was different as they have got so dark skin but of course they could have some and the put lots and lots on their bodies so they were all white, then they compared our skin color! We then realized that they maybe thought that was the reason why we were white as they’ve seen us put it on when we’re in the sun. So I tried to explain to them in my best bahasa Indonesian that they were beautiful and that I wished that I was as tanned as they are! A fun day anyway! They are so cute the kids and I’ve really got to know them now! In the evening five more volunteers came and they all seem really nice!
Thursday 13th Mar
This morning we went to Yenbukwan to teach! Me, Flora and Githa had the little kids who are as cute as usual! We split them into two groups so me and Flora had one group each and we taught them the alphabet and an animal that began with a, b, c and so on. And for some reason Floras group was really well behaved and nice and my group were wild! Haha. I don’t know if it was because of the teachers or if I just got the wild children, haha, might have been the teachers actually. Then me, Cedric, Leah and Renee had a nice survey in Yenbuba, we saw a black tip reef shark, a hawksbill sea turtle, a pretty trumpet fish and two supercool nudis. The second dive of the day was at Manta Sandy which was really nice. Every time I’m there I just sit myself down with my legs crossed holding my fins with my hands and watch and admire the mantas. When we got back I took about seven of the local kids out snorkeling, bringing the life buoy so they could hang on to that instead of me when they got tired. After I finished my PADI Rescue book and then a few of us played some bananagrams which we all have got very addicted to now.
Friday 14th Mar
This morning me, Renee and Tom did a 15 meter survey by the main jetty which went well. While me and Renee waited for Tom to finish his fish survey this young curios manta came out of nowhere and came first right up to me to have a look and then turned to Renee and said hello, then he swam away. Me and Renee were doing lots of awesome signs to each other and were jumping up and down almost, the funny thing was that Tom missed it all while it was all going on behind his back and he had no idea. Haha. When we came back I swam a couple of lengths and then Me, Githa and a few of the local kids painted lots of sea creatures on a shelf! It was lots of fun and we all ended up with lots of paint on us that didn’t get off! My second dive of the day was rescue dive, so first we practiced searching for a missing diver with the help of a U-pattern and a compass which was really fun. Then we practiced bringing an unresponsive diver up to the surface!
Saturday 15th Mar
Fun dive day! This morning a few of us woke up really early, while it was still dark, to do our dawn dive! We were supposed to go around the corner towards the trails where it is super beautiful and there is lots of activity when it’s dark but the current was to strong so we just did a small drift back to the jetty. The rest of the day me, Flora, Ella, Renee and Jess where out on the jetty chilling and reading all day, then in the evening I was supposed to go for a night dive but I had to skip it because now my other ear is in lots of pain…
Sunday 16th Mar
Today my ear was in so much pain I thought it would fall off and I would go deaf forever. Githa called the doctor who advised me to take some Analsiks and come and see her on Wednesday. So the rest of the day I’ve just been in bed, sleeping all day.
Monday 17th & Tuesday 18th Mar
Monday I just spent in pain reading my book all relaxed of the Analsiks I’ve been taking. Tuesday I spent just the same but in the evening I tried to be a bit social by learning a few new card games with Ella and Flora. In the evening me and Leah slept under the stars on the jetty, hoping some sea air would get my ear and she told me all about Canada (where she’s from)! We also saw a dolphin do three big jumps just in front of us under the moon. Super cool, they usually don’t get that close to the jetty so that was amazing.