After a recent visit from an American research company, SeagrassNet, Blue Ventures have gone on a seagrass mapping mission. So far in expedition 33, with the help of some very keen volunteers, we have managed to find and map 3 substantial seagrass beds. We’ve tried to do this in a few ways, some proving more fun than others. The manta towing in particular has gone down well. For those of you who don’t know, basically this means being dragged behind a speedboat with a mask and snorkel and shouting and screaming for the boat to stop when we drive over a new exciting patch. It was slightly harder to find willing volunteers for the long walk at 6am through the spiny forest to get to a different shallow bed! This has been an exciting new project as the beds here haven’t been mapped in any detail before and we are now getting a much clearer idea of which species we find in the different areas, including some species of seagrass that have never been seen in this part of the world before.
Hopefully over the coming weeks we will be able to look at the beds that are further away from Andavadoaka, which means that we should be going on some more camping trips. These are always fun, as we simply find a nice beach close to a village and sleep there for the night next to a campfire, whilst the women of the village bring us freshly cooked fish and rice. Again, it’s usually easy to find willing volunteers for these jobs.