A few weeks ago, we heard about SOSF Island School Seychelles’ Irma’s experience on the GVI reef monitoring programme. Now Project Assistant Fred shares what the month at Cap Ternay meant for him as he describes his ‘GVI Journey’.
My name is Fred Hypolite and I am Seychellois. I have just begun working for the Save Our Seas Foundation – Island School Seychelles (SOSF-ISS), and to me working for such an organisation is an absolute pleasure. Nature has been incarnate in my genes as I have a passionate love for it. I’ve always watched and found interest in different environmental documentaries, be it on forest or the marine life. The bonding love I have for nature never ceases to vanish, on the contrary it continues to grow like the evolution of sharks from prehistoric times.
Working for SOSF-ISS requires more knowledge about different types of reef fish, the different families, their size and their habitat and so on, in general I needed to learn more about my new field… and what better place to learn about fish methodology than GVI.
From a bleaching coral, which I was when I started on the first day, to now a healthy brain coral, I’m on another level of marine explorer madness filled with joy… just like the zooxanthellae giving the coral its colour!
At GVI there are many opportunities and knowledge to be gained about different aspects of marine life, especially in the area of conservation which GVI are doing it extremely well. As a juvenile fish things were so much of a challenge, I wondered if I could manage to fulfil the set tasks, but with the professional help of the GVI staff I did, they always assured me that I could achieve the goal. After SOSF had put me through my PADI Open Water Diver course at the start of March, at GVI I had the opportunity to gain my Advanced Open Water Diver certificate, which I did and I am so proud of myself.
As the days passed I gained new knowledge; to start off with I was given a group of fish which I was to learn and later on survey. In the beginning it was a long tough process, like carving wood with a knife, but as the days progressed I was on top of the game… those fish names were quite a headache but if you snorkel or dive with me now and spot one of the fish I’ve learnt I will be able to identify it for you! I have snorkelled so many times in the past but I never knew those fish names, thanks to GVI I have started something good which I will continue to learn more about.
It was never my intent to learn how to fill up tanks and use a compressor, but with the patience of the base manager Andy I have managed to operate the compressor and fill tanks for the next group of divers once again gain a new skill for future use.
Without good communication many things might or can go wrong while you’re out on the water, this is why radio communication was another aspect that we were taught whilst at GVI. Though at times my accent was quite Jamaican, after persevering the skipper could understand each phrase I said and once again I achieved a new skill.
GVI is not only about conservation and preserving marine life but about awareness and reaching out to those who are less fortunate. GVI has been working with Presidents Village, a local children’s home, for many years, raising money for the home and taking the children on beach adventures. As a Seychellois, I deeply appreciate the generosity of what GVI are doing. We spent time with the children from Presidents Village, it was something truly touching to see the smile on the kids’ faces, making a difference in someone elses life means a lot. The other part that I salute GVI for doing is regarding education, spreading the conservation message to the younger generation is the way to safe guard our environment so that others may continue to value, appreciate and conserve for the future. We spent an afternoon teaching kids from the International School of Seychelles about the marine environment. Many of them were very curious to learn and asked many questions, it’s good to know that the conservation message is spreading, so GVI, keep up the good work!
At GVI it’s a melting pot of different cultures, we bonded as a growing family like the Great Barrier Reef; we were all willing to help one another on the journey of marine conservation. I am really grateful to be part of this family. I may not be the first Seychellois to follow the GVI journey but I have made history within my family. I personally believe that Seychellois should take the opportunity to join the GVI scholarship programme and learn about what they have to offer. They should help in the development of marine conservation in the Seychelles, contribute to spreading the word, raising awareness and educating others. On my part, I understand the need for marine conservation and education, so this is what I will continue doing through the work of SOSF Island School Seychelles.
I take this opportunity to thank Save Our Sea Foundation for encouraging me and enabling me to do the GVI scholarship. I thank Andy, the GVI base manager for his kindness, patience and understanding, all the staff who have helped me in different ways, all my fellow interns and most above all God.
The National Scholarship Programme is free to any Seychellois aged 18 years or over with a background/interest in marine or terrestrial conservation and enables individuals to gain valuable practical experience in marine/terrestrial research monitoring techniques. To apply for GVI Seychelles’ Marine Conservation or Island Conservation Scholarship please send a CV, a statement of interest and a reference to email@example.com