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Published: July 20th 2010
Hoga Island: I thought it might be a good idea to describe the island a bit, just so you can get an idea of where we are! There is a ‘base camp’ to OpWall. To get to the lodge (where the dining hall is downstairs and library and computer room upstairs) you immediately step off the pier and walk 20m down a paved path from the beach into the jungle. To the right of the lodge there are the dive huts and the lecture theatre. On either side of the lecture theatre of diving changing rooms. The dive huts are just a little further along from the lecture theatre, and there is a hut to keep our diving belongings in permanently and stacks outside to dry our wetsuits over night. We get kitted up on tables on the beach in front of the dive hut, and boat meet us on the beach at high tide, or we have to walk to the pier when the tide is out. (Walking in full scuba gear out to the sea is pretty knackering and slightly painful). The reason for buying and wearing our booties, is that on the walk in to the sea it (sort of) prevents death by stonefish. Needless to say, we tread carefully.
The accommodation huts are all situated either along the beaches (lucky for some), or deep in the heart of the jungle. Getting to our hut requires a 5min walk away from the lodge and along a concrete path in to the jungle. This path is rather treacherous seeing as the island is made up of dead ancient coral. There are massive craters on either side of the path some up to 2m deep. If there aren’t holes to fall in to, if you happen to stray off the path, you tend to run in to a monitor lizard of two. These lizards are by no means small. In fact the larger ones tend to look back at you, size you up, before moving sedately off the path. Smaller ones generally get out of your way pretty quickly. At night, sea kraits (large black and white striped sea snakes) make their way on to land to mate and lay eggs. They’re seen every night and tend to cross over the paths too. (Hence the need for torches). Other nasties have been seen, such as small black scorpions in huts, huge purple crabs to the sides of the paths, and we’re lucky enough to add a rat to our menagerie. I’ve recently found out that rats like to eat soap due to its fat content, which explains the lack of our supply…
To the left of the island we have science labs, a ‘wet’ one for collecting and observing species, and a ‘dry’ one for working on projects. The resident scientists or PhD students mostly use the labs, but we do use it for data collected daily, such as temp, salinity, and visability.
Hope this give you a better idea of where we are!
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