Day 16, 27th August 2017 — Maldivian food, friends and the Nakaiy

The days are flying by so quickly I barely have had the time to write anything! I’ve spent most of the days really just catching up on all the fish identification, settling administrative stuff like medical checkups, trying to learn how to translate information about marine conservation to Mandarin for the Chinese guests (玳瑁海龟= Hawksbill Turtle, 绿海龟 = Green Turtle, 乌翅真鲨 = Blacktip Reef Shark, etc.), making very slow attempts to learn the names of the staff here and soaking in everything.

I’m also starting to get the hang of snorkelling without swallowing too much water when the waves get choppy. Went out for a snorkel alone a couple of days ago and saw this big guy (look at the claspers at the base of the tail!), a pink whiptail stingray, probably hovering around and being curious.

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He’s one of the many pink whiptail stingrays that keep coming at 5pm to the beach at Vabbinfaru! This one really startled me a lot as I was snorkelling in the bay.

 

Also right now it feels a little quiet around here because Zim and Aru are both taking a short break. I have to admit that they’re both a lot of fun to be around. Also it’s really hard not to like Zim because she does show me a lot of good food.

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My new friends here from the marine lab and dive centre who have been patiently showing me the ropes! (Left to right: Zim, Imana, Tutu, Hamdan, Aru!)

IMG_0181A traditional homecooked Maldivian meal by Zim’s mum when I went to Male!

Basically, it’s a clear tuna soup (Garudiya) and fried leaves (Thelli fai) which you mix together with some chilli, pickles, a squeeze of lime and rice. It looks and sounds quite simple, but man I get why this is the Maldivian comfort food.

FullSizeRender 11Me gingerly trying to mash up my food without getting rice up to my wrist.

Of late the weather in Vabbinfaru has been changing to be more wet and humid, often storming late at night. Another thing I learnt from Zim is that the Maldivian lifestyle is heavily affected by cycles in the monsoon seasons. The entire year is split into two monsoon seasons. The first is Iruvai moosun, or the Northwest monsoon coming in from the Africa and the Arabian Sea while the second is the Hulhan’gu moosun, or Southwest monsoon coming in from the Indian Ocean nearer to Indonesia. They even have a specific calendar that is shaped by these changes, known as the Nakaiy. The Nakaiy calendar is specific to the Maldives but heavily influenced from the knowledge of Indian and Sri Lankan traditions.

Nakaiy readings are actually interpreted from 27 constellations of stars, so each constellation or Nakaiy lasts for around 13 to 14 days before shifting into the next. Right now, we’re in the Nakaiy known as Maa (which will last until the 23rd of August) where the weather is generally calm with a lot of rain. During this period, fishermen still go out to fish, but the catch is better when there is no rain. Zim also told me that calm seas like what we saw today also mean that there are more frequent sightings of dolphins. Interestingly enough, I also found out that the water becomes more turbid just before a huge storm approaches.

Apart from being part and parcel of everyday life, the Nakaiy also shape cultural beliefs and traditions. People look to the Nakaiy to plan when weddings should be, or when they should build a house. For instance, children born in the Maa Nakaiy are also thought to be highly successful in life http://elysianmaldives.com/nakaiy-monsoon-calendar/ In some sense, it reminds me of Chinese Fengshui as well. Now even traditional knowledge is made pretty high tech…they even have an app to tell you what Nakaiy you’re in and what the weather is good for.

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Unfortunately it’s only on android, here. But it’s still pretty cool!

Seeing that so much of their traditional lifestyles are dependent on weather, how does indigenous knowledge have to adapt to new conditions as climate change prevails? Something to think about I guess.

 

More next time because I’m gonna run late for work.

 

Day 6, 17 August 2017 — Work at the Vabbinfaru Marine Lab

After so much hustle and bustle yesterday, today was a more chilled out day. I started off with the usual morning routine…collect food for the turtles, clean them down, change the tank water and then hand feeding the little ones. It’s so rewarding to see the little ones eating each day!

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Hand feeding the turtles in the morning. My favourite morning routine here.

Aru, Zim and I then started training for the reef surveys. These surveys require us to be able to take down details of the fish…everything from the family (damsels, groupers, butterflyfish, etc.), to the abundance, to the length of the fish. As with most things over here, it’s way harder than it appears to be. Basically what we do is keep on estimating the sizes of different leftover bits of cable tie, and then measuring it on a ruler to see how accurate we are. Using my index finger for scale (it’s around 8cm), we tested ourselves to see who was more accurate with size estimation. *Definitely not me*

Then, even more challenging, we started scattering rice on the table to see how well we can estimate the abundance of fish. In reef surveys, some fish travel in large groups, and their abundance is particularly hard to estimate as well. The rice was a pretty smart way of making sure that we all are able to make quick and precise estimations. TLDR…I used plastic and rice to improve my fish recording skills.

Then, it’s back in the water we go! Zim and I went for a dive to clean up the rope nursery at Vabbinfaru! The marine lab is trying to help portions of the reef damaged by crown of thorns outbreaks and bleaching to recover. These are some of the photos of the rope and table nursery for reef rehabilitation.

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Corals at the rope nursery

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Zim and I done with cleaning the nursery!

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A brittle star already living together with our coral fragment

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Some juvenile fish that kept me company as I brushed algae away from the nursery.

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After the day’s work, Zim brought me back to her home in Male and we made some Laksa together! Then, we met up with her friend Soy and talked about politics, jobs and the environment right at the breakwaters overlooking the sea until we lost track of time and had to rush back.

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I think she quite liked it so yayyy! Also it felt so nice to have a taste of home.

 

I miss Singaporean food so much nowwwww.

Day 5, 16 August 2017 — Crown of thorns starfish in the Maldives

One of the biggest problems faced by coral reefs in the Maldives is the predation of the crown of thorns starfish (Acanthaster sp.). These starfish can wipe out vast areas of the coral reefs by feeding on the polyps, leaving a trail of dead coral behind them. Large crown of thorns sea stars have been observed to eat as much as 478cm2 of coral per day. In a rather alien like fashion, they extrude their stomachs out of their mouths and secrete digestive enzymes that liquefies coral tissues. In a year that’s an area similar to 37 sheets of A4 sized paper (which does not seem like a lot, but infestations can really add up). In some places such as the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, these starfish contribute to the decline of around 50% of all coral cover. The reefs in Maldives, unfortunately, are also threatened by these creatures.

IMG_0166.JPGA crown of thorns sea star hiding beneath rock in the day at Vabbinfaru, Maldives.

Crown of thorns starfish have proliferated in recent years due to a combination of three main factors. The first is climate change, whereby warmer ocean temperatures has been linked to increased larval development. The second hypothesis is that high nutrient runoff in coastal areas increased phytoplankton abundance (aka photosynthesizing plankton that is food for the COT starfish). The last factor, one that is highly relevant to the Maldives, is the removal of COT predators in coral reefs.

Crown of thorns starfish have very few natural predators because of their venomous spines. This, however, does not deter the giant triton snail from feeding on the crown of thorns. The giant triton is an important predator that used to help control crown of thorns populations, but has also been exploited for the curio trade and for souvenirs.

Giant triton snail devouring a crown of thorns starfish

The shell of the giant triton snail (Charonia tritonis) holds much cultural significance to the Maldivians. Here, it is known as the sangu, the snail is used as a trumpet to bring the community together for meetings or as a warning signal in times of danger. Today, these shells have become an attractive souvenir for tourists, and are overharvested to the point that they can no longer be commonly found on most coral reefs.

A Maldivian blows the sangu or giant triton snail (Image Source: Call of the Sangu)

This is perhaps a good reminder to

Avoid buying shells as souvenirs…these shells are way more useful in the sea than as a piece of decoration in our homes.

There are a few methods that have been researched to help deal with COT outbreaks. Some scientists have found out that injecting vinegar directly into the bodies of these starfish can kill them. Over here at the Banyan Tree marine lab, reef cleanups to remove or kill crown of thorns starfish happen once a week. Today, Aru taught me how to mix up bile salts and brought me on my first crown of thorns clean up dive.

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We’re all set up for our COT dive!

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The needles used to inject bile salts into crown of thorns starfish

You might be wondering…why go through all the hassle of injecting them one by one and mixing these chemicals? Crown of thorns are just like all other starfish, they can regenerate their limbs, so simply slicing them up with a knife or stabbing them can’t solve the issue…it can actually fragment them and cause them to multiply even faster. To make matters even worse, the crown of thorns has also been known to release their gametes into the water directly when it is under attack.

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Aru looking around the reef for crown of thorns we can inject

Aru surveyed the reef at about 20m while I tried to look at 15m. It’s way harder than I thought to find these starfish in the day, because they choose to hide in rocks and crevices. It’s only after night falls that these starfish emerge to prey on coral.

In the afternoon, we led a mass cleanup with guests from the resort, an activity that I felt not only raises awareness among the public about the threats faced by coral reefs, but also a fun way for them to help save the reefs as well. This time instead of using the bile salts, we showed them how to use specialized hooks to quickly collect the starfish while snorkelling.

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A crown of thorns hooked out from the reef

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Our catch of the afternoon…

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A rather grave (haha) situation where we dispose of these coral guzzlers

I thought it was a rather fruitful day, what with the 8 starfish collected in the afternoon dive and snorkel…but that was until we started our night snorkel. Remember what I said about these crown of thorns being more active at night? Turns out they really are WAY MORE ACTIVE AT NIGHT. We (Around 5 of us) snorkelled later that night again for about an hour or so and found 59 crown of thorns!! INSANE! This time I didn’t bring my camera because we were way too busy picking them up to get a chance for photos. The waves had started to get really choppy and it was cold, but the adrenaline of being able to get so many crown of thorns really kept me going. Needless to say, this way probably one of the most exhausting yet fruitful days I’ve had in the Maldives so far.

 

Till next time! 🙂

 

 

Day 4, 15th August 2017 — First leisure dive in the Maldives

I FINALLY SCUBA DIVED FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MALDIVES. And I also forgot to put the SD card in my camera so I have literally NO pictures of this. Today was my check dive to make sure I’m able to handle the usual SCUBA skills. Aru showed me during the dive where the rope nursery was where they’re trying to grow coral fragments for transplantation later on. We spent a while cleaning it with a toothbrush (YES…A TOOTHBRUSH) to remove any turf algae to prevent them from smothering the corals. Compared to the nursery we have back in Singapore, this algae felt like practically nothing. I remember during my research dives at NUS when we’d literally pull out clumps of sargassum seaweed because they’d completely overgrow the entire nursery in a matter of weeks. The algae here on the rope nurseries were almost positively cute.

These are the crazy seaweeds that we cleaned in Singapore (Image source: Ria Tan)

We also dived at the Rannamaari Shipwreck, where I saw a HUGE stingray, maybe around 2 m in diameter just chilling at the bottom of the reef. Another equally large hawksbill turtle gracefully wove in and out of the steel pillars of the wreck, and then settled in a dark cabin, presumably for a nap. I could have kicked myself for not bringing that SD card. I guess I still have the next 6 months or so to get more footage!

Fun fact about the Rannamaari wreck that I learnt is that the site was named after a certain myth in the Maldives of how the people converted from Buddhism to Islam. Aru told me that Rannamaari was supposedly the name of a sea demon that demanded a monthly sacrifice of a virgin girl, and at dawn the next morning, villagers would find this girl dead in the isolated temple she was left in. This continued until a Muslim traveller requested to visit the temple where the girl was left so he could read the Quran versus there. After he completed his visit, the Rannamaari was gone and never to be seen again.

Another version of the story was that the demon was simply a story created by the king. The king had been continually raping and killing each girl until the Muslim traveller found out and threatened to expose him, unless he stopped these heinous acts and used his power to convert the country to Islam.

Artistic representation of how the girls would be carried to appease Rannamaari (Image source)

That was quite a story wasn’t it? Today seemed like the day to really immerse myself a bit more in Maldivian culture, and it was perfect timing that I had a traditional Maldivian meal.

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Zim taught me how to eat Rihaakuru (Spicy fish paste), Thelli Fai (Fried leaves), tuna and rice with my hands! It does feel quite satisfying to smush everything together I admit and I absolutely loved this. Could have easily finished that entire bowl of rice, I swear! I have now taken to calling Rihaakuru liquid gold. It kind of reminds me of grandma’s homemade saltfish pickle crossed with bovril/vegemite…SO GOOD. Rihaakuru is actually tuna soup that has been cooked for days until it ferments and thickens up. Apparently lots of people find it to be pungent, but I can’t wait to have more of this!

I wanted to go for a fourth helping but then it was time for me to feed the stingrays! More on the stingrays next time once I get the pictures from Zim! PHEW TIME TO SLEEP

Day 3, 14th August 2017 — Monitoring nature to conserve it

Things are about to start getting busy! I finally got talking to Steve about my research project and will have to start spending time on the computer soon…Won’t say much about the specifics just yet, but I’m keen to be a part of the monitoring work that the group is doing. Steve made a really great point about conservation that really struck a chord in me. He says that the key to conservation is monitoring…and I guess it’s really true! How can we show changes in a reef without tracking it over a long period of time? Longitudinal studies are always way harder, as with anything keeping a sustained effort for long periods is challenging, but the returns are huge. Without having a baseline established, it’s hard to say how much damage a reef has suffered, and even harder to communicate about the severity of these issues to the government or the public. It brought to mind the documentary I saw a couple weeks back, “Chasing Coral”, where they tracked the major bleaching event that occurred in Hawaii and the Great Barrier Reef. If it wasn’t for them, I doubt many people would even be able to visualize the sheer damage caused by something as nebulous as climate change and ocean warming. This documentary really put things into perspective.

Here’s the trailer of Chasing Coral, and it’s available on netflix! Go watch it!

Also now the training has started to begin. Went through lots of fish identification with Zim and Aru today, and wow I’m really quite rusty! There’s so much for me to learn, and loads of the species here aren’t common in Singapore so I have to catch up quickly! Today, I started off with the butterflyfish from the genus Chaetodon. As I was trying to get better at differentiating these species, I found these amazing posters done by illustrator Scott Partridge:

 

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The entire poster is available here!

Hopefully I manage the butterflyfish by the end of this week, then maybe I’ll move on to something else…surgeons or groupers or parrotfish or something. I absolutely love being able to be in the water and identify animals. It’s like meeting a celebrity you see from magazines and articles in real life! Also I realized that the more I manage to identify, the more animals I realize I’m seeing. So from just seeing a bunch of random groupers, now I’m remembering them individually…the bluespotted grouper (Cephalopholis argus), which got its scientific name from the Greek character Argus Panoptes, the many-eyed giant who was made to be a guard for the goddess Hera.

Don’t the dots look like hundreds of eyes staring back at you? (Image source)

The next challenge of the day was to start learning how to do the line transect surveys at the house reef by snorkelling. A line transect survey is basically an easy way to assess the type of cover a reef has…so we record what is found at fixed intervals, whether it’s coral rubble, live coral, sponges, or even a sea cucumber. This is what allows scientists to monitor the reef. The process sounds self explanatory, but in reality, sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between similar looking objects…a small massive coral can look like an encrusting coral, and I later confused macroalgae with turf algae. It’s definitely easier than it looks! These are some animals I’ve found on the reef here.

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Finger coral (Anyone who knows the ID?)

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Giant clam (Tridacna sp.)

 

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Honeycomb grouper (Epinephelus merra)
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Sea squirts/Ascidians

That’s for today! More next time!

 

Disclaimer: The views reflected on this blog are mine, and do not represent the thoughts, intentions or plans of my employer/Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru. It’s a stream-of-consciousness, spontaneous collection of what I did and what I thought so my horrible memory can get a bit more help. I hope you find this interesting or inspiring in some way or another, and feel free to let me know if there are any errors/mistakes in my posts! Thanks!

 

 

Day 2, 13th August 2017 — Reinforcing the turtle pen

I’m going to Male today! Or…so I thought! Was supposed to get my medical done at the doctor’s but there was a mix up in the appointments and instead I spent two hours going back and forth on the boat. On the bright side (and I mean this literally cause the white sand really reflects a lot of sun), I got to enjoy the jetty view for a bit.

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My first shot (and attempt at a selfie) at the jetty leading to Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru!

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And a couple more pictures of the place! Saw another baby blacktip reef shark about the size of my forearm frolicking in the shallows, and I stood for a while just going awwwwwww…

Then it was time to get to work. Today, Zim, Aru, Ali and I needed to reinforce the turtle pen in the sea. Aru and Ali jested that they always introduced themselves as shark wrestlers because of an incident where a nurse shark torpedoed its way through the metal mesh into the turtle pen and the two *very strong* men wrestled it out of there safely. As thrilling as that sounded, I don’t think they wanted that happening again. So we shifted some large concrete blocks to try to reinforce the fencing, and to prevent the turtles from becoming shark lunch. Can I just say that lifting large concrete blocks while holding your breath is just not the easiest task? I could barely lift the blocks off the ground, let alone carry them from one site to another! Luckily Zim and I managed it together while the boys carried them singlehandedly. Aru pointed at the blocks and exclaimed, “See Crystle…this is why we don’t ever have to go to the gym!!” I really have to agree with him on this one. After a couple of hours work,  the turtles should hopefully be more well protected now!

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Photo of the turtle pen in the open sea that we spent the morning reinforcing

Then…something pretty exciting happened! Some of the guests and staff found a crown jellyfish that washed up on the shores…remember how I said that turtles LOVE sea jellies? Well, they were pretty lucky today. Sea turtles are more resistant to the stinging cells (nematocysts) of sea jellies. The most sensitive spots are its eyes, which it protects by shutting its eyelids before taking a bite. Some turtles also shield themselves with a flipper, sweeping away other tentacles as they eat. One of the guests looked on in horror, “But isn’t it painful for the jellyfish to be eaten alive!?” Well…I don’t think the jellyfish was pretty happy about it, but sea jellies don’t have brains or a central nervous system so chances are, they don’t feel pain the way we do, but respond to stimuli instinctively. Personally, I don’t think that’s much to be worried about. But then again, that’s nature for you I guess…it’s sometimes cruel.

IMG_0076Then another exciting moment came and another crown jelly was found. This time, I volunteered to take it to the turtle pen in the sea. I scooped it up into a bucket, and lying on my back hugging the bucket to my belly, swam slowly to the turtle pen like a sea otter guarding a clam.

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IMG_0094That’s quite a long way to be swimming with a large pail of jelly!

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This green turtle was chomping on the crown jelly for a solid 20 minutes!

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So glad to see the turtles feeding and I hope they’ll grow up strong and healthy! That’s all for today! 🙂

 

Disclaimer: The views reflected on this blog are mine, and do not represent the thoughts, intentions or plans of my employer/Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru. It’s a stream-of-consciousness, spontaneous collection of what I did and what I thought so my horrible memory can get a bit more help. I hope you find this interesting or inspiring in some way or another, and feel free to let me know if there are any errors/mistakes in my posts! Thanks!

Day 1, 12th August 2017 — The adventure begins in Vabbinfaru, Maldives

Banyan Tree is beautiful!!! As I was coming in from the ferry late at night, I saw about four or five black tip reef sharks in the shadow of the reef and stood in awe. The two Maldivians who picked me up from the ferry were not amused. Ali looked at me and said in a deadpan voice, “They’re there every day”. I couldn’t mask my excitement one bit, and I tried to justify it to him that I’ve only ever seen two species of sharks in the wild, the whitetip reef sharks and thresher sharks…oh wait no, three…just recently saw a bamboo shark too.

Apparently, the hotels and resorts in these areas have protected the reefs so well that sharks are finding it a safe place for them to hunt. They’ve been doing a bit too well though, because even the stingrays don’t like loitering here anymore. The two most common species of sharks found in Vabbinfaru (that’s where I am!) are the blacktip reef sharks (Carcharhinus melanopterus) and nurse sharks (Nebrius ferrugineus). If I hadn’t had to bring up all of my baggage, I would have been so tempted to sit by the edge of the jetty and watch those blacktips hunt all night.

Marching across the sand at night toward the staff dormitories, I finally stepped into my room. This is where I’m going to be for the next 6 months, please let it be decent. There were blue fairy lights, and I soon found out that my roommate was 23-year-old Gera from Kazakhstan. She speaks so many languages, and is working at the front desk of the resort. The next morning when I woke up, we settled some administrative matters, and then I saw the baby turtles which are the center of the Banyan Tree’s turtle rehabilitation program!

These are green (Chelonia mydas) and hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata), and both (like all sea turtles) are listed on the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) Red List of threatened wildlife. Progress with the conservation of green turtles has been made, particularly around Florida and the Pacific Coast of Mexico.

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One thing I learnt from these baby turtles is that they haven’t really developed their lungs fully yet and have to stay near the surface until they get better at diving into the water. To make things worse, their shells haven’t even hardened yet, and you can actually feel them breathing when you hold them. It’s hard for them at the start, because their this tasty little morsel that’s not so good at escaping, and it’s so much easier for birds and other animals to catch them. It’s only when they get much bigger that they rarely have natural predators. The babies hovered at the surface, sometimes tucking their flippers back onto the shells, with their eyes half open and I laughed at how silly they looked with Vim and Aru.

Aru explained that these turtles sometimes nest on the islands beaches and when they do, their nests are marked and protected from other predators. Once a turtle has been sighted coming ashore to lay her eggs, Around 10% of all the hatched baby turtles are kept for the turtle program. Here, they are raised until they reach a shell length of around 30cm where they stand a much better chance of survival in the wild. Compared to the wild, they grow rapidly when they’re fed well. Here, their length and weight is measured regularly so we can keep track of their growth. The turtles here have it really good, I must say, and they’re fed with a diet of tuna, lettuce, seagrass harvested from a nearby patch and even the occasional unfortunate jellyfish they find floating past. “They go nuts for that”, Aru added, “It’s like their favourite thing”. Vim also mentioned that they like cuttlebone…strange isn’t it? I can’t wait for these guys to grow up…after about 20 to 30 years, they will become sexually mature and females will return back to the shores of Banyan Tree to lay their own eggs again. The program is still fairly new, and they’re still waiting for their babies to come back again. They make a small notch on the side of each turtle’s shell, and this is how the staff manage to tell each individual apart. It would be amazing to see them return someday.

We rushed over to the jetty where twenty pink whiptail stingrays (Himantura fai) waited for their afternoon snack.  Aru sped right over and I must be really unfit because he managed to swim right to the marine lab to grab their food and get back out to the jetty within the amount of time I swam to shore. Struggling to catch my breath, he started introducing the hotel guests to the horde of really restless stingrays. There was Big Momma, a very large female who looked like she was pregnant, Wonkey, who had a very strange kink at the base of her tail and Stumpy, who we suspect had her tail eaten by a shark when she was younger…as her name suggests, she really looks a bit more like a grey pancake than a stingray because her tail is just a short stump. I learnt that stingrays were fed the raw leftover bony scraps of tuna from the resort, and that they’ve become quite good at knowing when it’s 5 o’ clock and time for their meal. What a great way to reduce food waste! Most of the tuna caught here is strictly regulated and caught by pole and line fishing methods. That’s one of the most sustainable methods of fishing, as opposed to dynamite or cyanide fishing that ruin coral reefs, or other types such as long lining or drift netting that traps loads of marine life that aren’t the intended catch.

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This is what pole and line fishing looks like in the Maldives (Image from the International Pole & Line Foundation)

Stingrays are benthic feeders, aka a fancy way of saying that they’re the vacuum cleaners just sucking up food from the ocean floors. Their natural diet includes animals with hard shells like clams, crabs and lobsters, so they grind up all the food with modified plate-like teeth rather than having rows of dagger-like teeth similar to their cousins, the sharks. That means the bones in tuna don’t bother them much and clearly, they like it A LOT.

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This is an image of the jaws of a different species of stingray, the cowtail stingray, but you get the idea…their teeth are made to crush food, not tear it up to pieces.

Hopefully I get to feed them tomorrow! Crystle will also make a mental note to take a picture of the flappy stingray crew.

 

When the day was finally done, I went snorkelling with Zim, and couldn’t believe my eyes when about 5m below the surface, this green turtle was just chilling among some coral rubble. He didn’t seem to mind me taking a photo of him.

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Out of the blue, a blacktip reef shark swam diagonally across my path and looked a bit startled to see me following behind. Before I could even take a good picture of this girl (notice she doesn’t have claspers, aka shark penises), she swam off hurriedly. I’ve been told that the sharks here are usually quite skittish and shy, and that the only way you can see them is if you’re quiet! This is definitely the closest I’ve swum behind any shark before and it was simply a remarkable feeling. How many of us had sinking feelings and fears of shark attacks when we waded in murky waters…and here this shark was just minding her own business. SO SURREAL.

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I amused myself watching Zim duck down below the reef slope and swim like a fish before it started to get dark and we needed to head back. I honestly don’t know how she does it…the thermocline there makes the water suddenly go from nice and chill to shockingly cold. As we headed back, I sighed at Zim and said, “I don’t know how we’re gonna top off today, it was amazing”. “YOU HAVEN’T EVEN GONE DIVING YET…just you wait!”, she laughed at me.

 

Disclaimer: The views reflected on this blog are mine, and do not represent the thoughts, intentions or plans of my employer/Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru. It’s a stream-of-consciousness, spontaneous collection of what I did and what I thought so my horrible memory can get a bit more help. I hope you find this interesting or inspiring in some way or another, and feel free to let me know if there are any errors/mistakes in my posts! Thanks!