With megafauna on our minds, we gathered pre-dawn for a dive briefing, then off on the dhoni at sunrise. The plan was to find mantas, but the first site we visited was barren. Lankanfinolu promised more rewards even if there were no mantas and it certainly delivered! The current was ripping, and we flew down to 20 m where all manner of huge fish resided. Enormous Napoleon wrasse and ancient turtles stayed still as we were tossed like weeds in the current. If we’d been at all sleepy on the outset, that feeling had passed as we held onto our masks to stop them being torn off our faces.
Back on the Carpe Diem, we performed the whale shark transect and Gordon did think he saw something, so a party went on the dinghy to investigate – no luck.
But all in all the expedition was a great success, and thanks to the hard work of an excellent team of newly qualified Reef Checkers, we now have a better understanding of the state of the coral reefs of North Male’ Atoll. I want to thank the whole team for their efforts; from the Carpe Diem and its amazing crew, to our Maldivian placements who bring so much added value to the expedition, to our participants from three continents who could have gone for a sun and sand holiday, but instead chose a reef conservation expedition. Thank you to all of you.
So which reefs need checking next…..