By Jen Chapman and Nikkita Lawton, Field Scientists, Sarteneja, Belize. The Blue Ventures Staff have been delighted to host 4 amazing volunteers and our new medic. We love them all so much that we wanted to dedicate our first blog to them.
The lovely Claralara (“Clara”) is the Field Scientist’s favourite vegetarian sous-chef, providing us with alternative recipes including delicious spicy paprika soup! Also praised highly by Captain Samosa as being an excellent boat marshall and diver. We are now all toned thanks to our exercise guru leading classes on the beach, although she really knows chocolate is the way to our hearts.
Our ray of sunshine, Nimsi (“Dr. Naomi”) joined the BVB family (we all have a part to play) and has graciously taken on the role of camp nanny! When we appear with our cuts and bruises, Nimsi is always there with her medical kit, sympathy and a smile J. Though initially daunted by the extensive coral species list, we are so happy to announce that she is now a certified coral convert!
Nimsi has been very fortunate to find an excellent dietician at BCDC in our good friend Dandelion (“Dan-Dan-Dan-Daaaaaan”). He appointed himself, and advises that a healthy diet is at least four fry-jacks* a day! He amazes us all with his unBELIZEable** stories and encyclopedia of knowledge. We really shouldn’t have been surprised that Dandelion arrived with readymade fish flash cards and already knowing all the species! We know his true love is in descriptive coral analysis; our favourites are the “noodle bowl” (Diploria labrinthyformis) and “Marilyn Monroe’s lips” (Mussa angulosa).
Karina (“Karin”) is our youngest and most considerate volunteer. She is also the newest diver, however you wouldn’t know it as she looks as if she’s been diving for years, not weeks! A natural in the water, she has also excelled at underwater photography and her photos are going to be used to test our next volunteers on identification.
Stephanocoenia (“Steph”) is our blushing star coral. Her unwavering enthusiasm and talent for creating entertaining activities has been much appreciated. She introduced our favourite party night game with werewolves and fortune tellers – something which is definitely to become a BCDC tradition! Always there for everyone, Steph can usually be found in her hammock leading ID revision, preparing Spanish lessons or acting as our camp agony aunt.
It’s wonderful how this diverse group of volunteers have managed to bond so well from business management students to Alaskan adventurers: Everyone looking out for each other and providing chocolate and hugs, during challenges such as ID tests and homesickness. I’m sure even the manatees appreciate this group – the signs you made will help to protect them for years to come!
Every volunteer brings something unique and special with them, and we look forward to meeting and getting to know all the future volunteers (and of course staying in contact with the old!). We’ll miss you, and wish you the best of luck in your future ventures.
All the best,
Nikkita and Jen
*A delicious Belizean doughnutty thing
**The word “unbelievable” is not found in the Belizean English Dictionary