Waiting at the dock for the first two Coordinators, Falk and Lucy to arrive I have a suspicion they are as excited as we are but probably for different reasons. They are probably excited about arriving in a beautiful paradise that is full of interesting people and incredible wildlife above and below the water line, while I am excited about the prospect of having them involved in a rewarding and successful marine conservation programme, and I know they are going to like it.
What I wasn’t prepared for is the incredibly small amount of luggage these guys carry! Two full dive kits, plus all their other kit in two reasonably sized backpacks! Well done guys. My luggage size and weight seems to grow considerably like some strange bacteria that keeps multiplying at an alarming rate!
In contrast to this were Stan and Philippa arriving the next day also from Manila on the same relatively easy route down with a few enormous bags. I knew they were bringing full diving kit also but I wasn’t aware that they were bringing kit for the entire population of Oriental Mindoro (the island we are based on). Anyway, certainly nothing that a couple of tricycles with all 8 of us (including drivers) can’t cope with!
Zoox previously had arranged some temporary accommodation for the new members of the team to stay in, overlooking the sea for a night or two first before they decide on where they would all like to be based full time. We had sourced a number of houses ranging in size and sharing possibilities but in the end all four of them decided to settle in a large house that doubles up us our classroom for the training modules. In fact last night we had an Orientation presentation in their new house / training centre (!), but not before we all sang Happy Birthday to Philippa! Chloe baked a cake (using the only oven in the village) and we all sat around and had a couple of cool beers as the sun went down. Hope you had a memorable one Phil.
Now all four of them are settled in their new base here in Aninuan, Puerto Galera and are currently in the middle of their first training module, Reef Monitoring. After lunch has settled we plan to go for a snorkel as the weather seems to be holding and the visibility is suitable for a brief go at estimating coral cover percentages.
We plan to keep this blog page as fresh as possible but I am currently writing this on off line as the Internet (as always) is about as stable as a game of Jenga that has been going for some time so we will see! See you again soon.