Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Bhejane 1st Year Ending in Style

By: Axel Roy Primmer (3 Year advanced Nature Guiding course)

Well I am recently out of school, very keen to start my studying career in the field of environmental studies or a BsC Marine biology. Instead I was surfing the web and came along Bhejane Nature Trainings website and I noticed that they offer both terrestrial, marine and conservation fields, immediately it caught my eye as it was always a dream to be out in the bush and not having to worry about the concrete jungle and next thing I know, I was applying for the 1 year course.

Knowing that I was going to begin my first year out of school and away from home, I was quite nervous to find out what this year had in store for me, and little did I know, it was to be one of the highlights of my life.

Firstly I’m doing what love and secondly it involves not being in an office, because as most people know, I would probably die in an office.

So being one of the very younger aged students and knowing that there will be older students, I was nervous to think how on earth am I going to be able to get along with them, I mean I’m young, active and motivated, but in the end it worked out well.

To begin my story, I began as a Amakhosi, getting to know a biggish group full of people of all kinds, I was quite shy at first but then I got into it and so did the others and we began to loosen up and ended up being good friends. Then I had to change sides cause I was falling in love with this lifestyle and that’s when I became an Impi (Skimpi) just after level 1 and before trails, luckily I had got along better with the 3 year group more then some of the people from my group and I could feel that I was kind of accepted into the group.

My first gathering with the Impi’s was to talk about trails, one of my many highlights of this amazing experience. Dylan told us what we will need to take on trails after the holiday and all I remember was going home and saying “Dad we have to go get many things” and while buying all that stuff in preparation, I was growing inside with excitement. That cold morning we left for trails I’m sure everyone could smell walking in the air that day, because we walked hard over the 6 weeks covering almost 600kms and walking for more hours then fingers and toes I have to count them. Every time we saw elephants and buffalo that same pulse of excitement shot through my veins with a big kick, I could feel the adrenaline and it is definitely not for those boring office men. Although it was a lot of walking and a lot of fat burning it was still a memory that feels like yesterday and I’m even more excited for Trails 2.0.

Then we began with the marine side of the course, which I really enjoyed the practical side more than the theory side, but nethertheless, marine is absolutely mind blowing. Seeing what we as a group have seen under the sea together, most people would give body parts to trade places, but I’ll never give up my place.

Some of my best highlights for marine has to be this one massive Loggerhead turtle that swam between our group as it was on a mission so people had to scatter, and not to forget the other one amazing moment on that same dive is the view of a Leopard shark we had just being all mellow in the sand at about 30m. One dive that some might find boring but not so much to me, was when we dove at Tiger ally where all the shark teeth are found. What was so awesome about this site to me was to be able to sit on that massive sand patch and actually let it sink it to where I’m actually sitting and it hit me! I’m about 16m below sea level and I loved that feeling of amazement that sunk in.

In my eyes, I believe us as a group have all matured, and personally I believe I have matured to, and having people around you that have helped you gain this maturity cause they care. I have learnt far more then just what the course offers and a few of those things would be ethics and to behave and look neat at all times cause no matter how you look someone is there looking at you and its not how you make your life but how you live it. On my arrival here I was not at all interested in birds and photography but over the year here those have definitely stood out as my two main interests and I’m looking forward to the bird specialist next year more than anything (except maybe the parties of course.)

Writing this story has actually made me think back at the times we have had here through the long agonising lectures, the long but exciting lectures, the practical’s which make the lectures seem the most important thing ever, (see how well you have listened). To look back at it all, the good times and the bad times, I believe as a group we have gained so much knowledge and in this field of work, we are all going to go far.

Id also like to thank Dylan and Christa for allowing us all to have this opportunity and to Ryan Tippett for making me love birds so much and getting me into photography. Ronnie for the good times and Freya for all the lectures on marine and Nick for the practical’s and the lectures and to our bar men and expert snorkeler (Paul) and our media man and camera man (Hanroe) and to Tannie Lettie and Oom Pine and to the KITCHEN ladies for making the most amazing food and also providing us this a load of dinner laughs.

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