Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Diver Award winner blogs from Dominica

We headed out with Mike and Alyssia to our first dive site, Labym and descended on to the superb reef there to see what we could find. As we wound our way through a maze of giant barrel sponges and brain corals Mike promptly found a beautifully marbled moray eel. We drifted over the reefy plateau and I spotted a beautiful drum fish with it's long sail-like fin trailing behind. A few ornate little boxer shrimp with long white antennae nestled themselves in a rocky crevice. Soon we reached the impressive reef wall decorated in gorgonian and whip corals and dropped to 30 metres. We were busy spotting parrotfish, lionfish and big shoals of snapper when Alyssia switched our attention to a hawksbill turtle silhouetted against the surface above us. It swiftly glided out of sight and dived vertically down into the blue.

Our next dive was at the locally famous Champagne, the site is named as such because of the volcanic gasses released in streams of bubbles from active fumaroles beneath the reef. We dug our hands into the super-heated sand here and felt the scalding hot sediment underneath. A few tiny moray eels watched us, jaws agape, from within bright yellow tube-like soft corals. A basket starfish clinging to the edge of a barrel sponge held my fingers in an impressive grip. The sun broke through and lit up a field of bright pink sea fans. Pink-purple mats of sergeant major eggs added colour to the reef's boulders. Near the end of our dive we found an enormous scorpion fish wearing a furious expression on its face, superbly camouflaged on the rocky seabed.

A brilliant way to round off the day!

All our best, Steve and Toby.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Tanzania -Turtle Hatching, Mafia Island

July is the perfect month to watch turtles hatching in Mafia Island...

Sea turtles have been nesting on Tanzanian beaches for over 150 million years. Between June and September hundreds of baby turtles make their instinctive scramble from the white sandy beaches to the warm Indian Ocean waters. After 30 years, the female hatchlings will return to the very same beach to lay their own eggs and start this incredible cycle all over again.

The locals on Mafia are fortunate enough to be able to witness the start of this beautiful journey from the East facing beach of Juani, an island bursting with nature from the tiniest of butterflies to the large, majestic baobab trees. This exceptional experience is administrated by a Tanzanian NGO called Sea Sense. Set up in 2001, they have been working in partnership with the local communities to promote the importance and protection of marine turtles and their habitats through various projects.
The adventure starts with a lovely Dhow trip across Chole Bay to the breath-taking western side of Juani island. On arrival, a 40 minute walk across the island passes through a quaint Swahili village teaming with smiling faces and polite greetings from all encountered. During this walk natures true beauty becomes more apparent in the form of towering trees and acres and acres of green foliage up until the very last minute, where attention is then turned to the turtle nest hidden below African sand. Sea Sense will then assist the turtles by removing sand and other debris that have protected the delicate eggs from various predators.

The moment everyone has waited for arrives, and the little hatchlings emerge from the sand, scrambling out of their nest, flapping their fins vivaciously, racing to reach the surf and begin the next step of their incredible journey. With the image of the baby turtles crawling across the beach you'll make our own way back to the dhow to return home accompanied by a beautiful Mafian sunset, a nice drink and smiles on all faces.

Contact Us to arrange your next adventure to Mafia Island.

Or call us directly on 0845 130 6980 if you'd prefer to chat!