Building on the success of three marine expeditions in 2017, in partnership with US based research organization Coral Reef CPR, Carpe Diem Maldives Cruises is excited to announce its 2018 Dive with a Purpose series of hands-on marine expeditions for leisure divers.
Taking a concerted approach towards protecting and restoring the health of coral reefs and marine life in the Maldives, three “Rescue a Reef” weeks with experts from Coral Reef CPR will look at addressing issues around reef predators, damage prevention and restoration. These expeditions are an extension of Carpe Diem’s support of the organisation’s HARP programme – Holistic Approach To Reef Protection. A fourth week has been added to the 2018 Dive with a Purpose programme in partnership with Maldives Whale Shark Research.
On each Dive with A Purpose week, up to 20 recreational divers can join the marine expeditions; divers must have an Advanced PADI qualification, excellent buoyancy control and ideally a minimum of 70 dives. Priced from USD 1,863 per person for the week, the expeditions include:
- 7 nights aboard the assigned Carpe Diem Maldives 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
- On-board marine biologists
- GST 12%
Rescue a Reef: Crown of Thorns Starfish Removal with Coral Reef CPR
Expedition dates: May 19 – May 26 / July 15 – July 22 / Sept 8 – Sept 15
Coral Reef CPR, in partnership with Carpe Diem Maldives, has removed over 10,600 starfish from reefs in the Maldives since 2015. In the 2018 “Rescue a Reef” expeditions, divers on the trips can expect a hands-on role in eliminating the starfish from badly infested reefs. Divers on board these expeditions will assist the Coral Reef CPR scientists in collecting valuable data on the behaviors of the starfish and their genetic make-up. This will help us understand why the outbreaks occur, where they originate from and what we can do to prevent a recurrence.
In addition to the COTS removal from reefs, we will also visit a number of unique reef environments, including submerged farus and giris to explore the invertebrate life as and also collect valuable data on the diverse and colorful reef fish communities and larger megafauna such as sharks, manta rays and turtles. During these dives and COTS removal dives, we will conduct quantitative transects to measure the health of the reefs and patterns of recovery following the 2016 bleaching event.
Working in buddy teams to remove the COTS from the reef, divers will be assisting Coral Reef CPR scientists in all aspects of research, including reef assessment surveys, collection of samples, and removal of crown of thorns starfish, cushion stars and coral eating snails. Across each of the one-week trips, divers will be trained in reef conservation methods and survey approaches, and learn about coral reefs and the vibrant and diverse life found on reefs through nightly workshops and discussions. Joining these “Rescue a Reef” expeditions will provide divers with an opportunity to be part of a team who are saving thousands of hectares of reef and preventing the potential for future outbreaks.
The Great Megafauna Migration: Track whale sharks, mantas and turtles across the Maldives. Expedition dates: May 26 – June 2
There is a growing school of thought that the Maldivian ‘big three’; whale sharks, manta rays and turtles react to the changes in the monsoon seasons by moving to sites on the leeward side of the atolls. In May 2018, Carpe Novo will become a research platform for biologists from the Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme providing them and 20 lucky guests an unprecedented opportunity to explore this phenomenon. The goal of this particular Dive with a Purpose expedition is to begin the 2018 southwest season’s data collection, documenting the movements of these iconic yet enigmatic animals.
There are two monsoons in the Maldives, ‘Iruvai’ as the Maldivians call the northeast monsoon between December and April and ‘hulhagu’, the southwest monsoon from May to November. How quickly these megafauna species transition from sites on the west coasts to sites on the east coast and vice versa is not defined and probably depends on currents and surface weather conditions.
The MWSRP will be setting out on Carpe Novo with the aim of seeking whale sharks, as well as manta rays and sea turtles at differing points amongst the central atolls. Whale sharks, manta rays and turtles will be photo identified, with individuals compared to previous sightings in national level databases to identify movements between locations, both within and between atolls. Equipment will be deployed to gather data on current and surface weather conditions in the hope of gleaning information on how quickly the 2018 season has changed and how the megafauna has reacted to it.
Special attention will be paid to whale sharks which have moved from other atolls, where a fledgling understanding of seasonal cyclic movements can be reinforced by any sightings of 29 individual whale sharks known to be regular inter-atoll travellers.
In areas where whale sharks are prevalent, the MWSRP will explore oceanic conditions in the isolated parts of the atolls where whale sharks are not expected to be sighted through the deployment of temperature and current reading loggers and compare that to data collected in areas where whale sharks would be expected to be seen.
Guests joining this expedition will be offered the opportunity to assist the researchers in the hands on equipment deployment and every data gathering aspect of their work and will be afforded nightly workshops, lectures and discussions on marine life and the leading edge findings from Maldives-specific research on these species.
Divers with an avid marine conservation interest should not miss out on this unique opportunity to work alongside expert marine biologists in the 2018 series of Dive with a Purpose expeditions from Carpe Diem Maldives. For bookings and further information email email@example.com