Experienced researcher from the Manta Trust have accompanied a series liveaboard dive vacation in the Maldives in 2018
These trips, were part of the PADI Travel Eco Project to explore this conglomeration of atolls, islands and reefs aboard a diving liveaboard. And special because there was one researcher from Manta Trust on the liveaboard. Manta Trust is a leading non-profit organization with the goal of researching and protecting manta rays. These experts were teaching all about manta rays and answer all the divers questions.
These expeditions have been scheduled to coincide with the most productive monsoon winds and lunar currents. These two factors strongly influence the movements and feeding habits of manta rays. The aim of these trips was to use the knowledge of Manta Trust experts to find feeding aggregations and allow the guests to experience the wonder of immersing amongst a feeding frenzy of manta rays.
Just north of the Baa Atoll, the trip ventured into Raa Atoll, one of most unexplored atolls. However, this group of islands is regularly visited by mantas and hosts some stunning dive sites. Vertical walls covered in soft corals, gardens of anemones and mantas gliding above the divers heads are only a few of the marvels of the region.
Ari Atoll is famous for being regularly visited by whale sharks. Venturing into this atoll, the divers were seeking out these gentle giants and had the chance to visit some of the richest and most spectacular dive sites in the Maldives. Ari Atoll also hosts the second largest manta population in the country, and divers had many opportunities to find manta aggregations and night feeding events at some specific sites.
Finally they visited Lhaviyani Atoll, another spectacular northern atoll. Here sharks, schools of eagle rays, tunas and other large pelagic fish are the main characters in the dives. They also encountered more manta rays and went diving on one of the most beautiful shipwrecks in the country.
Protect What You Love
During these diving holidays, divers had the opportunity to experience and participate in cutting-edge conservation research to protect one of the ocean’s most majestic animals.
Divers personally contributed to the research by collecting photographic identification images of the mantas they encountered throughout their vacation. All new manta rays have been added to the database, and divers were invited to name these new mantas.
Every manta sighting contains crucial information for developing effective management and conservation strategies to protect these increasingly vulnerable animals
The Manta Trust
A UK registered charity, the Trust’s mission is to advance the worldwide conservation of manta rays and their habitat through robust science and research, by raising awareness, and by providing education, influence and action.
The Manta Trust was formed in 2011 to co-ordinate global research and conservation efforts for these amazing animals, their close relatives and their habitat.
Data Collection: The Manta Trust has a number of research projects worldwide, such as incorporating population data, researching manta movements, and completing genetic analyses – to name a few. These projects serve to further the understanding of the general ecology of manta and mobula rays.