I want to say it is official but I would be lying, even if I know I am right. (This personal vrs official business is another story! ;) I am talking about the worst whale shark season we have ever had. It comes at a very bad time too. These giant fish seemed to have joined forces with the economic pressures from all over the world – the recession is not just confined to the world of commerce.
As you all know we were off to a promising start but it soon fizzled out as the days passed and we could not run any encounter trips. Of course we have all been very positive about this, “Its still early. Lots of time left.” Or “This has happened before. Nothing to worry about…”. But for all this positivity, slowly the wheels have been falling off the wagon. It’s been twenty days and we have not managed to run even one whale shark trip with paying pacs. Even though the interns have had a turn to dive with these large enigmatic creatures, there has been no money generating trips for the MCSS.
The Marine Conservation Society of Seychelles certainly can do with these additional funds. Like so many other NGO’s around the world involved in conservation activities, being pro-active in generating some research funding by the NGO’s themselves has become a trade mark of well organised and worthwhile conservation organisations across the globe. Certainly the MCSS is in a favourable position to make use of this – the whale shark ecotourism program being a great opportunity. Unfortunately, it is a program that is very much dependent upon external factors of which there is absolutely no control over at all. Economically that equates to risky business.
Firstly, the aerial observational fights are entirely dependent upon the weather. Couple this with the appearance of whale sharks and it certainly highlights the vulnerability of an organisation to this type of business environment. If the weather is particularly bad for a longer than usual period of time and if on the few days that it is flyable there are no whale sharks around as well, then it turns into a test of character for everyone involved. We have some interesting examples of diplomatic-grumpiness around these parts of late. :)
The stats are not looking good – we have only been able to fly a third of our time we have been here. At this rate we are in for a record which we have no interest in breaking.
Of course, we are ever hopeful too. After all, there is still forty days left! And forty days, according to history is a very meaning full number. :)
Wish you were here!
PS: Neil is up flying today. Let’s hope he got some!