Join Andrea Marshall on MMF’s first dive expedition in Mozambique
The Marine Megafauna Foundation – a charity that aims to save threatened marine life – has unveiled new scuba diving expeditions to Mozambique where guests can join MMF’s co-founder Andrea Marshall and her team of scientists in their vital conservation research.
On this exciting expedition, divers will be able to explore the coast of Mozambique: one of the wildest and most breathtaking locations to encounter ocean giants like whale sharks, humpback whales and manta rays.
Not only will guests have the unique opportunity to dive and interact with these graceful and inquisitive creatures, they will also gain in depth knowledge about the species and contribute to research by helping to collect ID photos of the animals they encounter. For example each manta has a unique spot pattern on its underside that can be used to identify an individual, just like a fingerprint. By keeping photographic records of mantas, scientists can build a photographic catalogue of the population that can tell us about individuals and the population as a whole.
During the expedition, guests will learn how to:
- Interact with whale sharks and manta rays without disrupting their natural behaviour
- Identify the maturity of an individual animal and distinguish between males and females
- Recognize different types of manta/shark/whale behavior
- Take identification photos
- Record environmental conditions
- Process and organize ID photos
- Identify different individuals using their unique spot patterns
Research presentations will give guests a greater insight into the biology, ecology and behavior of ocean giants such as Whale Sharks and Manta Rays, outline global threats to them and describe research and conservation efforts around the world.
The exclusive expedition, which runs from 23-31 August 2018 and is available from 3,280.00 USD per person not including flights, can accommodate five guests. The itinerary includes:
- 23 August (Arrival Day): Guests arrive in the afternoon and prepare for an early start the next day. Optional group dinner to get to know the other expedition participants and your guide, Anna Flam
- 24-25 August – Bazaruto: Double tank dives on both days led by MMF’s co-founder Andrea Marshall. If conditions allow, one day will be spent diving at 2 mile and the other at San Sebastian (experienced divers only). Possible sightings include: Mobula Cleaning station (one of the two known ones worldwide), turtles, reef sharks. MMF Co-Founder will join the dives on these days and will also give an exclusive private talk on her world-class research program. Accommodation in Vilanculos
- 26 August – Vilanculos to Tofo: Departing Vilanculos in the morning to drive to Tofo Beach with a dive in the afternoon
- 27, 28 & 29 August – Tofo: Diving the sites where MMF’s founder Andrea Marshall started her research on manta rays. Double dives will be scheduled but guests have the option of substituting one for land work with MMF’s marine research team if they are interested. Tofo and the surrounding areas offer lots of deep dive site, which makes for a great opportunity to see “big stuff” such as: whale sharks, manta rays, dolphins, turtles and more…
- 30 August – non-diving day in Tofo: On the day before departure, guests will enjoy an Ocean Safari which is the perfect opportunity to see the breaching humpback whales which come to Tofo during this time of year
- 31 August – Departure to Vilanculos.
In Bazaruto, guests will have the exclusive opportunity to dive with MMF’s Co-Founder Andrea Marshall – aka “Queen of Mantas.” Andrea was the first person in the world to complete a PhD on manta rays and has dedicated her life to the preservation and management of the manta ray population in Mozambique. Now a global ambassador for manta rays, Andrea continues to pursue international conservation initiatives for manta rays and fight for their protection worldwide.
In Tofo, the trip will be led by MMF’s Manta Researcher Anna Flam who, over the past four years with MMF, has been collecting vital information on manta ray population size, structure and connectivity. Her data can be used to further understand populations and guide the development of management and conservation strategies. Anna is also the global coordinator for MantaMatcher.org.
Anna Flam, MMF’s Manta Researcher, said: “Our new dive expeditions offer the unique opportunity of interacting with Mozambique’s stunning ocean giants while assisting MMF’s researchers in their vital conservation work. This is a truly once-in-a-lifetime trip, not only for the world-class diving but also for the exclusive access you’ll have to our scientists. We’re looking forward to welcoming our first group of divers to our beautiful home here in Mozambique!”
For more information or to book your place on this trip of a lifetime, please visit: https://marinemegafaunafoundation.org/dive-moz/.
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For more information, images or an interview with an MMF spokesperson, please contact:
About Marine Megafauna Foundation:
MMF’s vision is a world in which marine life and humans thrive together and we aspire to attain it by saving threatened marine life. Our target group is marine megafauna, which is vital to the delicate balance of the marine ecosystem. When we protect ocean giants, we also achieve an umbrella protection for a wide variety of marine species. Consequently, we target coastal communities that represent the biggest threat to these species and, as a result, to their own food security. Through our 4 pillars, we provide an integrated solution: by using our research findings to educate and inspire the masses, we gather the necessary tools to provide sustainable marine conservation strategies for communities and policy makers to bring about lasting positive change. Finally, by empowering, informing and giving a voice to local communities, we help to create a generation of Ocean Ambassadors and Guardians, who cherish and understand the marine ecosystem.
For further details, please see www.marinemegafauna.org or follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. For information about our local projects, you can also follow our Western Indian Ocean Facebook page.