Home > Introducing a local guide in the Seychelles
Jakawan_Hoareau_PO150123_seychelles©PONANT-Julien Fabro (Personnalisé)

Introducing a local guide in the Seychelles

Committed to the conservation of the archipelago

Jakawan Hoareau was born and bred in the Seychelles. He knows very well its beaches,  its mountains and its forests. He has devoted his body and soul to this archipelago, learning to protect its wonders to preserve its environment and biodiversity. As a naturalist and expedition leader, he shares everything he has learned, raising awareness to increase understanding.

Born and raised in the Seychelles

Jakawan Hoareau was born on Mahé, the archipelago’s main island. The truth is, he reveals, “it was standard practice, no matter which island you lived on – Praslin or La Digue – that your first child was born at the main hospital in Mahé”. Jakawan Hoareau remembers his early life on the island as simple and modest, spending time at the beach or hiking in the forest. He remembers the importance of respect for the community, particularly for the elders, and mutual assistance. Living on an island with his people in the middle of the Indian Ocean, he learned to welcome people with open arms, make use of the available resources and draw from his environment in a conscious and reasonable way. He quickly became aware of the challenge of sustainable living and protecting nature and biodiversity.

“We said hello to everyone, regardless of whether we knew them or not. We paid close attention to our daily consumption. Our fruit and vegetables were homegrown. During the week, we only ate fish, and only ate meat on Sundays. What nature gives us is the only tangible resource we have, and we must preserve it.”

Jakawan Hoareau, naturalist guide

Jakawan Hoareau’s parents gave him an appreciation of the value of education and the benefit of working hard in school. From his grandparents, he gained an appreciation of learning, self-awareness and an understanding of how to live with others. “They emphasised the importance of being independent and developing certain social skills: cooking, cleaning, laundry, but also learning to express myself properly, communicate and be able to adapt to be comfortable wherever the future might lead me.” In short, the qualities needed for autonomy and sharing that gave him a taste for travel, a desire to explore and meet other people. But the young man also felt equally driven by the idea of exploring every corner of the Seychelles islands to discover all their wonders and learn all their secrets by heart.

Croisière aux Seychelles avec Jakawan Hoareau, chef d’expédition ponant

Knowing and seeing (everything)…

… that’s what drove young Jakawan. Over time, he became more and more certain: “Deep down, I’ve always wanted to be a leader and educator to provide value to the people around me. Motivate them to bring out the best in themselves so that they can perform to the best of their abilities.” He saw teaching as a necessary first step towards accomplishing his goal. He took a course in secondary education, after which he became a personal and social education (PSE) teacher to ensure that students felt safe and valued. And because “[he wanted to] directly help protect the marine life of the Seychelles, he also obtained a diploma in fisheries science, specialising in marine protected area management. As soon as he graduated, Jakawan Hoareau soon found himself putting everything he had learned into practice: first, at the Cousin Island nature reserve. “I was a conservation warden there for two years,” responsible for protecting the wildlife and the environment. He then became a conservation ranger on the Alphonse Atoll before moving to the “lost” Aldabra Atoll to become manager of the island. A dream come true!

Jakawan_Hoareau_PO150123__seychelles©PONANT-Julien Fabro1 (Personnalisé)

From the field to the stage, to take action and educate

In the field, Jakawan Hoareau was active on all fronts. With sea turtles, an endangered species whose nesting routines he monitored during breeding seasons. “I was also responsible for removing stranded plastic and marine debris from their nesting sites.” Within coral reefs, where he monitored fish to determine the state of the reef. And with seabirds, carrying out a monthly and annual census to monitor their breeding.

“The data collected has provided us with valuable insights into the health of these different species and the potential need to strengthen existing laws or adopt new ones to ensure the protection of marine life in the Seychelles.”

Jakawan Hoareau, naturalist guide

And when he wasn’t working as a scientific observer for the Seychelles Fishing Authority on board tuna fishing vessels, he gave his time to local NGOs, such as The Ocean Project Seychelles, which specialises in processing marine waste in the heart of the archipelago. Or gave lectures on the stage of the Seychelles Maritime Academy, where he raised his students’ awareness of marine organisms, the biology and ecology of fish, fishing legislation, and more. Preserving the environment is more than Jakawan Hoareau’s passion. It’s his calling! A constant commitment fuelled by the infallible desire to show an ever more beautiful Seychelles.

Croisière aux Seychelles avec Jakawan Hoareau, chef d’expédition ponant

The role of an expedition leader

On board, expedition leaders’ role is to plan and prepare activities and give as much information and as many instructions as possible to the team of naturalist guides so that they can share them with passengers.  They choose where to visit with the captain in order to offer passengers the best possible experience.

Photos credits : ©Julien Fabro

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