First days on my way to Cocos
The journey to catch the boat was made easier by having Ross (my boyfriend) accompanying and assisting with the heavy lifting. After arriving into Puntarenus at 8am, waving goodbye to Ross, I made my way towards The Okeanos 1, preparing myself for the 36-hour liveaboard to Coco Island.
Boarding the boat was an exciting experience, I felt like a VIP, boarding before any of the customers would elite. As I sat waiting for the excited tourists to arrive, and perhaps getting a chance to chat with some of them, the port suddenly seemed to get further away. With the language barrier ever present, I only now realised that it was a SINAC staff only trip. Luckily the volunteer chef Fabrizio speaks English and has offered help with translating anything I have trouble understanding.
The Okeanos 1 is a beautiful boat, with the staff attending to all our needs; to the extent of table service at meals. Currently everyone is feeling slightly sea sick, so the mood on the boat is quiet, with the majority of us spending our time asleep on the top deck.
We have now arrived into Wafer Bay but will spend one more night on the liveaboard due to staff swaps and our time of arrival. As we began our approach towards the island we were lucky to be joined by a large pod of dolphins. For one hour they moved towards and away from the boat, performing somersaults and high jumps. Claudine, who conducts various research programs on the island, confirmed that the pod in the distance were spinners.
8th September 2018 – Day 3 – Discovering the Island
Today has been relaxed; after finishing our breakfast onboard Okeanos we were transported onto the island. I again felt like I was receiving 5* luxury treatment, as our bags were delivered by the liveaboard staff all the way to the ‘villa’. Today we have spent the day settling in to the accommodation amid taking in the beautiful scenery. This is the first time I’ve never experienced nature, wildlife and remoteness to this extent. Cut off from the outside world, except from a very weak Internet connection, which seems unfitting for such an isolated place.
Whilst unpacking I was greeted by the local wildlife, a small pinzon del coco, a bird that is only found on Coco island. I have learned throughout the day that they are everywhere and will try to eat/ drink anything that is left out. Deer and pigs also wander, with no predators on the island, they seem tame and confident around humans.
I have been told we will be meeting at 7:30am, here we will find out what our work will be for the next few weeks.
9th September 2018 – Day 4 – Reunion
Today we had our first meeting, which was an interesting experience. Without understanding most of what was said except for once when my name was mentioned, I was told afterwards that I was to stay with the three other volunteers for a secondary meeting. Here we were assigned our individual roles as volunteers; I will be helping Cubero with marine research and data collection.
He has given me a task list for today; firstly I must familiarise myself with a specific list of fish, this will be vital for surveying. Secondly, prepare my slates ready for data collection. The survey will be focussed on:
1. Defina los factores de impacto visual (FIV) a ser
monitoreados para el área marina (Tabla 1).
2. Registre el encuentro de cada tipo de FIV en cada
We will start diving in the next few days…
Cubero has explained how I may have to count a large number of hammerheads. This could be the place where I tick off diving with Martillos (hammerheads)… eeek!
My Spanish is improving- “Necisito ayuda”, knowing this means I can now help in the kitchen instead of awkwardly standing around.
12th September 2018 – Day 6 – Diving Tomorrow!
The last few days I have spent assisting with admin, with the healthy
Also! I saw Bambi! It was a pretty big high point in my life. The fawn got chased away from what I imagine to be its parents by an ‘evil’ pig (probably not evil). After the chase the fawn bleated for 20 minutes searching for its parents, until after much anticipation from me they were finally reunited.
Today I was invited to visit one of the liveaboards. The adventure started by carrying a kayak to the sea, followed by paddling to the speedboat. We then tackled quite large waves (not just me being a wimp, it was mentioned that the waves today weren’t ideal) to visit the customers and crew on 2 liveaboards. The customers told me how this morning they had seen a school of 200 hammerheads.
I have been told we will be diving tomorrow! I am extremely excited to finally get underwater and experience what everyone keeps raving about!
THE ADVENTURE OFFICIALLY STARTS TOMORROW!!