My Time at NVT
After flying for 20 hours, me and my good friend and travel companion Daniël, finally arrived to the beautiful scenery of South Africa. Coming from The Netherlands, stepping out of the plane in the warm (winter!) sun surrounded by mountains was a very pleasant surprise. After our warm welcome by Mark and his family we settled in at the cottage and got ready for our first day with Nature’s Valley Trust’s Marine team. Daniël and I were excited to get to work and were most curious what we were going to do and how we were going to do it.
Getting into our main activity
Besides forgetting and repeatedly asking for everybody’s names, the first couple of days consisted mostly of getting familiar with tracking dolphins and whales. Having the amazing team of Aquila, Hannah, Chanel, Caitlin and Minke made learning the whole process and tips ‘n tricks both interesting and a lot of fun. We found ourselves stunned being at the most beautiful sites seeing more dolphins than we could even imagine. While tracking we learned many useful and cool things like working with a theodolite and reading and noting down behaviours. I will always keep these, and the many other skills I’ve acquired, with me and hopefully use them for many times to come.
Shot by Aquila Stadtherr
To our pleasant surprise we found out that the marine team also has a boat, Fluke, that goes out to recreate different types of approaches on animals. When the weather first allowed it, we got to join in on a boat survey. Although my curse of getting sick in any moving vehicle refused to show mercy, getting to see sharks, dolphins and even some humpback whales has definitely been one, if not my favourite experience on this adventure.
It has been such a privilege being able to do research from up close with these amazing animals.
Besides Dolphin and whale surveys we got to help with many other interesting ongoing projects. Bird ringing at 5 in the morning and fish net surveys from a canoe were definitely some of my favourite activities. It was great having such diverse weeks, from fish gutting and bird dissections to protecting plovers and flower walks, it has all been great fun and an amazing learning experience.
Being with such amazing people has really made the whole experience a hundred times better (which is saying a lot). Everybody was always ready to help out, recommend cool hikes or just have a nice chat.
Thank you so much,
Mark for letting us stay in your cottage and giving us the opportunity to do this internship. Riding along in the back of your bakkie has definitely been a fun and unforgettable experience.
Caitlin, Hannah, Ash and Aquila for introducing us to surfing and giving us the opportunity to do so. Tracking and all the other projects we’ve been doing together have been great.
Chanel for taking us to all sorts of cool things like hockey games, braais and penguin rescues, they have really livened up our non-work hours. And thanks to your amazing car I have learned that it is not the destination that matters, it is the journey.
And last but the opposite of least, Minke for always being ready to give us a ride or inviting us to your home for a braai or an evening of boardgames. Those evenings have been great fun, thank you so much for being such a warm and welcoming friend.