Entries in #nosybe (6)


Adventure Hill  Climb

At 4am, the camp started to murmur and a flicker of light shone where each inmate’s head moved sluggishly to get ready. We raided the food hut for bananas and oranges as it was too early for the regular sabeda to be cooked.

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My Favourite Dive  Site

I’ve been on Nosy-Be for a week now and so far my favourite dive site is Verona. We went to Verona on my 4th day in camp, to do two of the dives for my Advanced Open Water, my PPB and Navigation dives, which were super fun

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Testing My Limits In Madagascar - Sarah Neilly

I’ve taught English to Malagasy children on one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen, played ultimate frisbee with a local village and danced under the stars at the local beach bar...."

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The Power of Madagascan  Moments.

I'm coming to the end of my 7th out of 8 weeks here, and it's flown by. Everyone told me it would, but I didn't really believe them until now. For me, Madagascar has always been the dream - it's kind of like the Holy Grail of Biology - you can't find more endemicity (and in my opinion cooler animals) than anywhere else.

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Animal treasure hunt!

Every so often, the Forest team organises a forest treasure hunt. It’s really fun as we split into teams and it’s the goal to find the coolest animal you can in a limited time period, and you’re also limited to a type of Forest!

This last hunt had Assistant Research Officer Dan leading one team and me, Lizzie the Field Communications Officer, leading the other! We drew our team members out of a hat and also the forest sites! The teams were chosen; Dan had Toby, Sarah and Amy on his side in secondary forest and I had Abbie, Hannah and Josh in primary forest!

Now, we are all friends on camp, but as soon as a competition arises, we get on our game faces. We were reluctant to tell each other which sites we were going to visit for our hunt, however, we had to take the same path to start with due to the tide being extremely high. We part ways- taunting each other with fighting talk. I thought we’d have it in the bag, primary forest is an Aladdin’s cave for wildlife! I was just boasting of our advantage when we hear a scurry of footsteps and Dan runs into sight! What could he possibly want?! Enemy ahoy! Well, it turns out that 10 seconds after we’d gone our separate ways their team finds a Langaha madagascariensis snake; possibly the coolest animal in Madagascar. It has an extremely striking appearance this little guy; a long pointy nose that he uses to camouflage himself as a twig and a bright, buttercup yellow underbelly.

Fair play to Dan, he acted the perfect gentleman and ran over to get us so we could have a gander! There were members of my team that hadn’t seen this snake before! What a legend! We all troop over and inspect the creature. We realise we’re really going to have to pull something out of the bag to even stand a chance against this contender! We make our way to primary wondering what could we possibly find to top that?!

Well, five minutes onto our Border Patrol transect, Josh spots a beauty! He calls over, “What’s this lizard?”. I think it’s probably a rufipes, which we see all the time, but go over to I.D. it. It isn’t a rufipes. Josh, the absolute legend, had spotted a Zonosaurus subunicolor! This is an extremely rare find for us here on Nosy Be! In all my six months I’d never found one, despite going on numerous subunicolor hunts! We all got a tad excited, I’ll be perfectly honest. After skipping around and jumping for joy we continue with our mission, now satisfied that we can put up a good fight for the treasure hunt crown!

We lounge around the water tower, an area that reminds one of a Herbal Essences advert; waterfalls, huge mossy boulders, ferns and palms hanging lazily over tropical pools… Delightful. We chill for a bit, enjoying the scenery and then decide it’s time to get back to camp.

Presentation time. This is the decider. It doesn’t matter how cool your animal is if you can’t represent it well in front of the panel of judges. Both teams pull out all the stops; there was video evidence of discovery, there was a recreation of finding the animal. It got emotional. We had done all we could. We left the judges to make a decision; tenses biting finger nails and pacing to and fro. They hailed us back over. It was time.

“And the winner is”… “The Langaha!”

A very worthy winner, the Langaha is the quintessential Madagascan oddity! Well done team Dan- you deserved to win! However, just you wait till next time, we’ll have you!

By Lizzie Unsworth - Field Communications Officer

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