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Living on a 1.5 square mile island with only the Global Vision International (GVI) base staff, volunteers and the Seychelles National Park authorities definitely has its perks, but it also has its challenges.

Only two of the eight beaches on Curieuse allow tourist access, leaving the other six beaches solely for GVI and the park rangers to explore. The feeling of knowing that we are part of a small handful of individuals that have ever seen and visited these beaches is incredible. We are spoiled by the spectacular sights of the white sand beaches with so many towering granite boulders that they all start to look alike. While the sights and isolation of the island has its ups, adapting to the daily GVI Curieuse lifestyle during the first week was an interesting experience (to say the least).

The GVI base is located at the site of an old leper colony. The dorms, kitchen, and kit room were renovated from the old leper ruins. Since there are no stores or businesses on Curieuse, everything for construction and building must be picked up on our eight-person boat from the closest main island, Praslin. So, the base is built minimally — two dorms for volunteers, a kitchen with handmade cabinets and a fridge that is powered for four hours a day, two toilets that flush by pouring a bucket of water after each use, and an outdoor shower that each person can use (at most) every other day. Groceries and water must be transported from Praslin, while trash and recyclables must be brought back to Praslin. To maintain the base, every morning begins with basic chores, which include tidying the camp grounds and a bucket run to supply seawater to a large tank next to the toilets to take from during the day.  One or two people are assigned on duty, which consists of making bread in the morning, cooking all of the meals for the group that day, and completing a more specific list of daily chores.

Open-air shelter with firepit outside
The GVI base is located at the site of an old leper colony. The dorms, kitchen, and kit room were renovated from the old leper ruins.

A usual working day starts at 7 a.m. with chores followed by breakfast at 7:30 before heading out for the first survey of the day at 8. A typical survey will last about three hours, including hiking time and field work. By the time we get back, there is a half-hour to an hour before lunch is called at noon. At 1 p.m. the second survey of the day takes place, again for about three hours, getting back an hour or two before dinner at 6. After dinner consists of free time, usually card games such as Uno, Spoons, or Go Fish or time to yourself to decompress, read, or reflect on the day. Surveys cycle throughout the week and include beach cleans, measuring and tagging Aldabra tortoises, scanning and checking hatchling tortoises, catching and tagging juvenile sicklefin lemon sharks, checking for hawksbill turtle and green turtle nests, and measuring the growth of Coco de Mer trees which are only found in the Seychelles on the islands of Curieuse and Praslin. Soon, I will begin to check on the recently planted coral around Curieuse to calculate the survival rates. There have been recent efforts to help restore the coral since most of the surrounding areas were severely affected by bleaching.