DIVE AND LEARN ALONGSIDE MARINE BIOLOGISTS IN THE MALDIVES!
We are pleased to announce “Dive with a Purpose,” a series of Maldivian expeditions in 2018 that combine hands-on reef conservation efforts with educational workshops. In collaboration with our partner Carpe Diem Maldives, divers will be afforded the unique opportunity to work and learn alongside expert marine biologists from Coral Reef CPR, a US-based research organization. The first series of expeditions will rescue reefs through Crown of Thorn Starfish removal, data collection, damage prevention, and marine restoration. The second series will provide divers the opportunity to research iconic megafauna in the Maldives - whale sharks, manta rays, and turtles. In addition, ongoing research in both expeditions will measure the health of coral reefs and fish communities.
20 divers will join each research expedition and spend 7 nights aboard one of our luxury vessels Carpe Novo Explorer or Carpe Vita Explorer. 3 to 4 dives will be offered daily visiting many unique reef environments. Divers who wish to join the expeditions must have a minimum of PADI Advanced Open Water Diver or equivalent, with 70 logged dives and excellent buoyancy control.
These expeditions are priced from USD 1,863 per person for the week and include:
- 7 nights aboard the assigned vessel
- 3 meals daily, plus between-dive snacks
- 3 to 4 dives daily (except for on day of arrival and day before departure)
- Use of tanks, weights, and belts
- Drinking water, tea, and coffee
- Airport transfers on the days of embarkation/disembarkation
- Evening workshops on marine ecology, coral reef, marine life and more
- Onboard marine biologists
- GST 12%
Rescue a Reef: Crown of Thorns Starfish Removal
2018 Expedition dates: May 19 – May 26 / July 15 – July 22 / Sept 9 – Sept 15
Over 10,600 Crown of Thorns starfish have been successfully removed from Maldivian reefs since 2015. Continued efforts in 2018 will focus on eliminating even more starfish from infested reefs while collecting valuable data on their behavior. Understanding COTS genetics, and where they originate, is integral to preventing future outbreaks and reef damage.
Expedition divers will use a hands-on approach to remove COTS from the reefs and assist the Coral Reef CPR scientists in all aspects of their research. Trained in survey approaches and reef conservation methods, divers will conduct COTS surveys, sample collection, and collection of other reef damaging organisms such as cushion stars and coral-eating snails. In addition to COTS removal, a number of unique reef environments will be visited to explore for invertebrates and colorful fish communities. Measurements on the health of these reefs and fish communities will assist in tracking patterns of recovery following the 2016 bleaching event. Read our 2017 status report on coral bleaching in the Maldives.
In the evenings, guests will have even more opportunity to learn through workshops and discussions on the diverse marine ecology of the Maldives. Rescue a Reef education and participation will help save thousands of acres of reef by preventing future outbreaks of COTS.
The Great Megafauna Migration: Track whale sharks, mantas, and turtles
2018 Expedition dates: May 26 – June 2
20 lucky divers and biologists from the Maldives Whale Shark Research Program (MWSRP) will conduct exciting megafauna research aboard our vessel Carpe Novo Explorer. There is an idea that whale sharks, manta rays, and turtles migrate when they feel a change in monsoon season coming, migrating east to west between atolls and vice versa. How quickly and when they transition has not yet been clearly defined. Therefore, the megafauna research will focus on continuing documentation of these monsoon movements, and be deploying temperature and current reading loggers where the whale sharks are not expected. The oceanic conditions in these isolated parts of the atolls will be compared to the areas where whale sharks are expected, assembling information on how quickly the season has changed, and how the megafauna has responded to it.
The ‘Big 3’ whale sharks, manta rays and turtles will also be photo identified and compared to previous sightings in the national level database. Currently, 29 individual whale sharks are already known to be local inter-atoll travelers, and special attention will be paid to their movements. Guests joining this expedition are offered nightly workshops and lectures to discuss every aspect of the MWSRP’s work, including leading-edge findings and Maldives specific species research.
Divers should not miss these marine expeditions in the Maldives. They are truly unique opportunities to dive and learn alongside expert marine biologists while adding purpose to every dive!