Written by and photos courtesy of Lucy Coals
Starting with breakfast at 6:30 is a blessing in disguise when you have to hit the rolling seas around 8. A blurry eyed kit up is followed by an attempt to board the boat with some elegance, which fails, every time!
A forgotten weight belt is your worst enemy, when you leap up onto the boat and your bikini follows, gravity and you end up having to decide whether to fall with it or just reveal all to your fellow comrades. Floundering and swaying on the boat you ready yourself to roll..3..2..1..
Then you plunge into the water, and when the haze of bubbles has cleared, the blue becomes calm and twinkling, your mind is refreshed and it all starts to make sense. Armed with measuring tape, slates and many, many disreputable pencils we survey the fish, coral juveniles, benthos and diadema. With fins above your head for 45 minutes total concentration on all things tiny makes your world seem pretty small. If you’re not watching though, the cheeky remoras might come to play, a turtle may nutmeg you or even a nurse shark might make everyone abandon data momentarily.
When not under the water we certainly remain in or on the big blue, from piddling about in a kayak surveying seagrass to counting crazy tourists on the beach, and if you’re particularly good at wandering around in the dark, then night turtle surveys might just be for you. Under the stars you get the chance to see these beautiful prehistoric creatures haul themselves up the beach to dig their pit of precious ping pong ball eggs.
Cleaning is normally a chore, but when you have 50 team mates bouncing around launching fist fulls of sargassum at you whilst listening to Toploader, you can’t help but love beach cleans! Despite the peninsular wide sargassum problem seeming like your whole summer will smell like sulphur, it’s phenomenal how a beach can be transformed through a combination of team work, sweat and serious sunshine. No one ever said that topping up your tan wasn’t hard work!