Expedition in Maldives – Recipe for Happiness!
We’ve just returned from the first of a series of Manta Expeditions travelling across the Maldives over the next few weeks and blimey, what a trip it was! As our Head of Conservation Strategy, Isabel Ender, describes below, the combination of the right people, the right place and the right time (and a dash of luck!) resulted in some truly incredible experiences!
Final Days in Paradise
Swapping Corals for Mantas
We have recently started a fantastic new manta project down in Laamu Atoll in conjunction with Six Senses Laamu resort. In this week’s blog, Beth Taylor, the Project Manager for this new southern venture, gives us an insight into her time in Laamu so far. The journey to start my new position with The Manta Trust was long, tiring, involved leaving the country for a ‘day trip to Sri Lanka’, being interrogated by customs and involved becoming a resident of Malé Airport for a few nights.
Living a Marine Biologists’ Dream
Local fishermen hold a huge bounty of historical data about various marine species. Whilst the Maldivian Manta Ray Project (MMRP) has been collecting data for nearly 10 years, there is very little information about the manta ray population prior to 2005. Tam Sawers, a Masters student from the University of York, is hoping to address this huge gap, by using interviews and surveys to tap into this local knowledge. In this week’s blog, Tam describes her first manta experiences and the initial findings of her project. The warm wind whipped past as we entered the turquoise waters of Hanifaru Bay.
Surf, Sand & Bull Sharks – Kicking it off in Laamu!
This year’s Maldivian manta season marks the beginning of a new addition to our Maldivian Manta Ray Project (MMRP)! In this week’s blog, Moosa Mohammed, Assistant Project Manager for the MMRP, discusses some of the epic things that have been going on with our new project down south in Laamu Atoll. I was asleep when I got the call from Niv (our project manager), but after seeing his name on my phone my eyes widened and I jumped out of bed.
Whilst our Maldivian team continue to study the nation’s protected manta rays, our Genetics Project Leader, Emily Humble, shares her first experience of Negombo market in Sri Lanka – host to one of the world’s largest mobulid fisheries. It is the early hours of the morning and a mild smell of fish taints the warm, still air.
Matt’s First Month in the Maldives
We’re over a month into the new Maldivian manta season in Baa Atoll. In this week’s blog our first volunteer, Matt Bidault from England, summarises some of the highlights from his first month in the Maldives. “I have never flown over the Maldives with the islands so crystal clear!” announced the captain on our final approach into Malé International Airport.
Kicking Things Off With A Bang!
Ulithi Trip – Scouting for Mantas in Yap’s Outer Islands
Ahead of the upcoming expeditions to Yap, Project Manager Julie Hartup and the team took an exploratory trip around Ulithi Atoll. Read on to learn more about Julie’s adventure and how you can get involved! Yap manta ray research is not just limited to the manta population in Yap Proper – it extends to the 134 outer islands and 11 atolls too.
Time to clean up
Manta season is about to start in the Maldives, but before they arrive there’s a little spring cleaning to be done. Over to you Niv…..Mantas are on their way…..with the shift in wind direction, from the dry eastern to the humid and strong south-western winds, manta rays undertake their seasonal migration to east Baa atoll, and especially to one of their favourite aggregation sites, Hanifaru Bay; a five star restaurant for these gentle giants!