So, sadly all good things must come to an end. It has been an excellent expedition, with a hardworking, diligent, enthusiastic team. The fact that everyone passed their Reef Check tests first time was testament to the effort put into studies. And despite being a diverse group from many different countries, with an age difference of over 30 years, the team gelled really well and we all had a lot of fun together. Thanks also to Shidha, our scientist, who stepped in at the last minute and did a great job.
I must mention the fantastic crew of the Carpe Diem who supported us both on board and under water – without them, some of our transects would not have been laid, due to the extreme weather and currents we encountered, so they really were integral to the success of the expedition and the collection of valuable data. Thank you!
In addition to all our Reef Check data, (which will be published in the 2015 Maldives Report), we also collected ID shots of manta rays, which I will submit to Manta Matcher www.mantamatcher.org. This a conservation group that endeavours to learn more about the habits of Manta rays worldwide, with a view to their protection. Of course our whale shark encounters that were also mapped and logged will also be submitted to the Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme http://maldiveswhalesharkresearch.org. Using IS3, a programme initially designed by NASA to identify constellations, we were able to identify two of the sharks we saw by matching ID photographs of their markings to those already on the MWSRP’s database. Our sharks were called Adam and Kokko, two juvenile males taking refuge in the warm sheltered waters of Ari Atoll.
So thank you all for your energy, your laughter, for joining me on the sun deck for yoga at dawn, for revising late into the night, for supporting and helping each other throughout the week – you really made a fantastic team, and I hope to meet you all on another expedition someday.