Ecotourism with Katt Andryskova
At Transform Me Travel we are super passionate about ecotourism and stories from inspiring women travellers. We believe that by promoting sustainable travel and sharing personal stories that are focused on ecotourism, more travellers will be motivated to choose an eco-friendly destination, tour or cause when considering their holiday plans. This month, we have teamed up with Katt Andryskova, a scuba-diving instructor based on the Comoros Island of Mohéli, and asked her a series of questions to better understand what she does. Read on to learn more about this beautiful destination, the incredible ecotourism opportunities here and how you can support Katt’s work.
1. Where exactly in the world are you and how did you get there?
I am currently living in Comoros, on the smallest island of Mohéli. Here, I stay at the only eco-resort on the island, Laka Lodge, and work on teaching people how to scuba-dive, gathering scientific data about the reef and helping create solutions for the plastic crisis. Laka Lodge hired me as the head instructor to guide people around the beautiful underwater world of untouched Comoros, where manta rays, humpback whales and their calves all visit during the year.
My love of the ocean, scuba-diving and the environment lead me to this untouched area of the world, with like-minded, passionate people to help kick start change. The Marine National Park of Mohéli holds one of the greatest biodiversities recorded, with the range of marine flora and fauna astonishing every visiting biologist. The small populations of the islands mean the pollution is minimal and eco-friendly methods still have time to be implemented before mass bleachings or trash problems occur.
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2. What motivated you to pick this location and was it a good choice?
I found the job advertisement on Facebook, and once googling and finding out that humpback whales give birth here, I was hooked. Living on a tiny island gives anyone an opportunity to not only be close to nature but create real change in the local community. Along with Laka Lodge, I am spending my time pursuing things I believe in, by helping to create a more environmentally friendly system to protect the National Marine Park of Mohéli. Steel straws, filtered water, solar energy and natural products are just some of the starting points at Laka Lodge. A trash collection and processing facility is currently in the works, along with weekly beach cleanups and work towards educational outreach too.
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3. Tell us the best sunrise spot in this location and how you discovered it?
The best sunrise spot is on the eastern side of the island, where there are 20,000 nesting green turtle sites all year round! These protected green turtle nesting sites allow for beautiful, ocean-front sunrises whilst watching mama green turtles bury their eggs into the sand before dragging their bodies down into the water. Every night, there are anywhere between 40-150 individual mothers who come up and lay in the sand. Tourists can enjoy this beautiful feature of nature and occasionally even glimpse a green turtle hatchling emerge along with the first rays of sun.
4. List the top 3 things you needed to pack for this adventure.
Since Mohéli is as far removed from civilisation as possible, the entire place is untouched and unexplored territory, these are the top 3 things I packed:
- A filtered water bottle which allows me to drink any fresh water and removes bacteria is key.
- Long pants and skirts to respect the local culture, as well as protecting me from the mosquitos!
- A positive attitude. Now this one is probably the most important because everything works slightly differently here. Being ready for anything, and accepting delays, confusing situations, unexpected twists and turns is all part of this remote adventure.
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5. Do you have a favourite beach here?
The best beaches are definitely found on the uninhabited islands in the Marine National Park. This paradise on earth boasts crystal clear waters, green turtle nestings, coral reef 10m away and 28 degree Celsius water all year round.
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The green turtles here have been protected for the past 40 years and their populations have been steadily rising. Recent increases in plastic pollution has lead to many circumstances of missed nesting where a mother could not find a garbage-free patch, or the hatchlings have even gotten trapped underneath ocean brought plastic.
Learn more about saving baby turtle hatchlings, the environmental work we are doing and why it is so important to the Marine National Park of Mohéli.
6. What’s the best local food?
The best local food ranges from diverse fresh fruit to some exquisite, basic, yet nutrient-packed dishes such as Mataba, a green leafy addition to rice, made from cassava leaves and coconut milk. I also love the lightest, fluffiest rice flour bread for breakfast. These are some of the staples I eat on a weekly basis so this is a perfect location for vegan travellers. Despite the isolation and seemingly lack of diversity, the enormous range of spices found straight in the local rainforests helps to create tasteful and delicious vegan meals.
You may also like our other Vegan Travel blogs.
7. This trip is pretty wonderful but the worst thing about it is …
The worst thing about this trip is that sometimes the airlines do not connect the same day from the capital on Grand Comore, Moroni, to the capital on the island of Mohéli, Fomboni. Sometimes, there are opportunities to take a boat directly, otherwise, the journey takes an extra day before reaching the luscious rainforest of Mohéli. Things do not necessarily work how we expect them to in the west but everyone here is always smiling, kind and positive. It’s hard not to fall in love with the country, nature and the people of Mohéli.
Read more with this sailing trip around the Comoros Islands.
8. How can people support your work?
You can help support my fight against plastic by becoming part of the tribe and spreading plastic pollution knowledge to people in your own lives. We have created a signature line of t-shirts, with the slogan ‘Plastic Is the Killer’ to do just that. These shirts depict an orca whale filled with ocean plastics because by the year 2050, plastic will make up for more of the oceans than fish by kg! 10% of all proceeds of our t-shirt sales go straight to the Plastic Free Fund, a movement to drive beach cleanups, provide education on plastic pollution and develop methodologies and systems for the collection and safe disposal of plastic.
If you enjoyed reading our first Inspiring Women Traveller Interview in Mohéli, please like and share it with others so they can enjoy reading it too.
Not quite what you’re looking for? Check out our other Responsible Travel blogs now.
Katt’s Hotel Recommendation:
Eco-friendly Laka Lodge, Mohéli
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