Karaoke and Coral Identification: Week Two at CCC

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August 2nd 2017
Published: August 11th 2017
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Another week has flown by! Again, it has been busy and hard work, but really fun and my brain is currently aching from how much we have learnt (and from all the Tanduay last night).

On Thursday, we did two recreational dives to celebrate being fully qualified and welcomed the new volunteers, Charlotte (who was returning from last year), and father and son Peter and Charlie, Rachel the new scuba instructor, and Javier the new science officer.

On Friday, it was back to work again and we began SDP, the science development programme. We began by learning about substrates (sand, corals, sponges etc) which is far more complicated that I had ever realised, but after a nailbiting computer test and two underwater validation tests, I finally passed. It was the same with Invertebrates and Impacts (the latter being coral bleaching, fishing damage, the predatory work of the pesky drupella etc) and now we are halfway through fish and surveying techniques. We did our first test substrate transect, where we follow a transect line and record the substrates found beneath at 0.5m intervals along the line which is much harder than it sounds, especially to the newly qualified diver. The sea is rough and currenty now which makes trying to hover over the delicate corals extremely difficult, not to mention getting in and out of the sea! We are all sporting a colourful array of scratches, cuts and bruises due to being vigorously bashed against the rocks on entry and exit and my slate got washed away in a particularly lively kerfuffle during which I had to make the choice between holding onto my dive equipment and pulling Iris out from the rocky depths below when she got caught by a particularly big wave.

Saturday night is party night at CCC as we do not dive on Sundays, so we all went up to the village of Napantao to visit the 'karaoke bar' which is a small nipa hut with a pool table, a videoke screen, and very cheap Tanduay rum. We were soon all very merry and I got to try my first karaoke session. It seems that people from the Philippines all have amazing voices and singing is a huge part of their culture. Debbie especially put us all to shame with her amazing voice as she belted out song after song from many different genres. I had never tried karaoke before but had lots of fun and was only a little disappointed that my recent endeavour into the world of singing lessons had not awarded me with the accolade of having the voice of an angel- in fact Pete said the very opposite which was honest if not tactful.

The next day, a lot of people went off to climb a big volcano on the island but I was worn out from the week and did not fancy a 5am start on our day off so I stayed behind with a few other and lounged around for most of the day before Charlotte suggested we go for a run. This ended up being more of a walk-walk-run as we set off into Napantao in the glaring heat of the late afternoon. It was great, athletic failure on my part aside. The local children were very excited to see us and shouted hello and waved enthusiastically as we passed- sometimes they said it multiple times and we would have to use what little breath we had to return each greeting which must have been very amusing for them. Charlotte and I had a nice chat as we walked/ jogged through the village and it was interesting to see the area that surrounds the base and experience some local village life.


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