Carpe Diem Maldives Announce Dive with a Purpose Marine Expeditions for 2018

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.

The first two weeks in the 2018 Dive with a Purpose programme are in partnership with Maldives Whale Shark Research. In July, we welcome renowned marine biologist Steven Weinberg on board for two weeks as he documents and researches his field guide on the Indian Ocean. His July visit marks his first return to The Maldives in over 25 years! Taking a concerted approach towards protecting and restoring the health of coral reefs and marine life in the Maldives, a “Rescue a Reef” week in September with experts from Coral Reef CPR will look at addressing issues around reef predators, damage prevention and restoration.

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 50 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%

The Great Megafauna Migration: Track whale sharks, mantas and turtles across the Maldives. Expedition dates: May 19 – 26 & May 26 June 2

Whale Shark Research with MWSRP

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.

Explore and Record the Maldivian Underwater World with marine biologist and author Steven Weinberg

Expedition dates: July 15 – 22 & July 22 – 29

Benefitting from over 40 years of marine biology knowledge with Steven Weinberg, divers can learn or improve their skills and understanding in one of the world’s most beautiful tropical countries and award-winning dive destination. Steven is multilingual (Dutch, French, English, German), a much apprSW-2015eciated guest speaker and has inspired countless divers over the years as they discover marine life and underwater photography.

Diving since the age of 8 and passionate about photography since the age of 11, Steven became a qualified marine biologist in 1979. Since then, he has taught reef ecology at the University of Puerto Rico and for almost 30 years he taught biology at the European School of Luxembourg. In addition to over 30 scientific publications, he is the author of more than 550 magazine articles on the underwater world.

With fluent French language skills, since 1992 Steven has become France’s most celebrated marine author with several illustrated books, including a very popular series of underwater field guides (“Mediterranean”, “Atlantic”, “Red Sea & Indian Ocean”, “Caribbean” and “Tropical Pacific”), “Ocean Life”, “Ecologically Yours!” He also co-authored the astonishing “History of Underwater Imaging – from 1856 to the present” and “Ar(t)cachon – Jewels of the Bay”.

In July this year, Steven Weinberg returns to The Maldives for the first time in over 25 years. Steven explains, “I am thrilled to be returning after such a long time away, and especially with opportunity to explore so many different reefs together with Carpe Diem Maldives. The explorations will serve as research for my updated version of the “Red Sea & Indian Ocean” field guide, to be released next year. In the process, I am looking forward to sharing my marine knowledge and underwater photography advice with their enthusiastic divers as we explore the dives together.

Rescue a Reef: Crown of Thorns Starfish Removal with Coral Reef CPR

Expedition dates: Sept 9  Sept 16

Coral Reef CPR removing COTS in Maldives

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” expedition in September, divers can expect a hands-on role in eliminating the starfish from badly infested reefs, repositioning newly grown corals from a nursery onto a reef, and planting new juvenile corals for growth on the nursery ropes. Divers will assist the Coral Reef CPR scientists in collecting valuable data on the behaviours of the starfish and their genetic make-up, as well as the rate of coral growth on nursery ropes.

In addition to the starfish 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 starfish 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, divers will be assisting Coral Reef CPR scientists in all aspects of research, including reef assessment surveys, collection of samples, and removal of starfish and coral eating snails. In the process, 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.

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 info@carpediemmaldives.com