Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Goodbye, Hello and a Reservoir

The last week of the project has been an emotional one. We have gotten to the point in the project where the seasons changeover is beginning. Every year it seems that there are two batches of volunteers, ones that come for the first half and ones that come for the second half and then the few hard-core, slightly insane ones that stay for the entire season, a little over 3 months! Because of this the last few days and the next week or so has seen the end of some volunteers time here. We have so far had to say goodbye to Anna, Ella, Boner and Kristine with another six leaving too soon for comfort, myself included! Saying goodbye is always hard, it is impossible not to form close friendships with people that you are living in such close quarters with. But we try not to dwell on it as the annual reunion in England should keep us all in touch!

However saying goodbye does also mean saying hello and with every departing volunteer there is a new one to throw into the mix and get to know. In the same amount of time we have welcomed returning Heather and new girl Kim, who is completing a PhD so will be a familiar face on the project for the next three years, as well as returning Dave who is completing an undergrad project here and new boy Josh, both of whom are from Falmouth. Despite being a returnee Dave didn’t manage to see an adult laying last season as he arrived in August and was too late so was pretty happy when after arriving and going straight to the beach last night he was only waiting for a short while before a female obliged and began to lay!

The week as always has been full of work with little time for play for the volunteers but when offered an afternoon off as always we jumped at the chance! Our friendly project leader talked about this ‘oasis’ of a reservoir in the hills before Five Finger Mountain. So with ideas of a haven from the sun and excitement of swimming in fresh water a group of volunteers headed off down the road for an afternoon of adventure. I guess we should have known something was a cropper when Robbo encouraged us all to go and take a break. I had vague recollections of a similar trip last year where after hiking for the best part of an afternoon a group of volunteers came across a dried river bed, but after Robbo’s insistence that there had been far more rain this winter off we went. With the hand drawn map with only one path on it and mountains either side and instructions clearly stating to ‘not take the left’ we walked in high spirits….for the first ten minutes! After more than one junction and votes at each one over whether or not we should in fact take the left we found ourselves hiking in flip-flops up a mountain path, surely not the way to a reservoir…a brief phone call and instructions to just carry on encouraged us to continue we were almost there, we had almost reached the oasis. Water and spirits were beginning to dwindle, we needed to see the reservoir soon! At the top of the hill we saw a dam wall, surely the reservoir was beside the dam, spirits heightened and the sense of excitement gathered once more. The first volunteers reached the top of the hill, the edge of the reservoir and the rest of us were informed by the wails that the reservoir was in fact once again dry as a bone! The bottom was a dried cracked cake of mud and the 6ft elephant grass growing all over it suggested the reservoir had not been full for a while! What a wild goose chase! Our oasis dreams were shattered had it not of been for morale and team spirit I’m not sure we would have made it back to the Goatshed to thank Robbo for his encouragement to visit this wonderful place! Not being the type of people to dwell on it we headed back dripping with sweat; who needs a swim anyway! Our excursion had been a team bonding exercise and offered some prime photo opportunities for Sam and his tripod!

Anyone wishing to visit the reservoir can get a hand drawn map themselves courtesy of Mr Robbo, who I’m still certain just wanted peace at last at the Goatshed!

Thanks also to Pat and John for their lovely Chicken casserole, its always exciting to get some food with real ingredients!


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