Saturday, December 6, 2014

Report from Usisya!

Well James, one of our interns, and I are back from our expedition to Usisya.  It was a blast.  The boat ride up along the coast was stunning, the diving beyond our expectations, and possibilities look to almost endless.  Check out this short video that James put together to get a little idea of what we saw and where we went.


The first location we explored were Mara Rocks, two kilometers off the southern point of Usisya Bay. As with the second site, we just stratch the surface of what this area has to offer.  Our rough calculations are that this rocky area, teeming with cichlids, must be nearly a square kilometer in extent ranging from 3 to over 30 meters in depth.  That is a lot of cichlid habit to explore and survey!


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The second location we explored was Mbowe Island, located roughly 7 kilometers north of Mara Rocks.  This island which is roughly 60 meters north to south and 250 meters east to west is something of a sunken skyscraper just a kilometer offshore.  We can't be sure how deep it extends into the lake yet but we do know that on our second dive we had to get just 5 meters from the its shore before out 30 meters anchor line could find any ground to grip on.  It is was an amazingly sheer wall exploding with cichlids all the way down to 35 meters, the deepest we could go at the time.  Once again the surveying possibilities are awesome.


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As we at the Maru try to extend our surveying sites we are in growing need of volunteer researchers and interns to help us with the monumental task of monitoring the lake's invaluable cichlid populations from Usisya in the north and in the future all the way down to Cape McClear in the south.  Learn more about what we do and check out the possibilities at http://www.themaru.org.
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Monday, November 17, 2014

Going to Usisya!

At the Maru we have really enjoyed expanding our underwater population and biodiversity surveys to Nkhata Bay and are hoping to expand even further north along the coast to Usisya Bay (see the map below.)  Most of the potential sites in this bay have only been dived by a handful of people ever and we are sure that there are many places just waiting to be discovered!  So one lucky intern and I are going to take a few days to drive up to Usisya from Kande in one of our boats and see what there is to see.  We'll be sure to take a lot pictures both above and below the water.  Stayed tune!



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Here's a view of the bay!



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Friday, November 7, 2014

The fish on our Nkhata Bay Survey! Thanks Ad!

So after a couple months of getting to know the site we have set up in Nkhata Bay for population and biodiversity surveying we did our first official survey yesterday.  James and Dani, our two interns, did the survey.  Good job guys!  See below all the fish that we are getting to know.  A big thanks to Ad Konings for helping us to identify all of them.  This survey is done at an average depth of 10 meters.  We will be setting up another survey in Nkhata Bay at 5 meters in a couple months time.  Stay tuned!



































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Monday, October 27, 2014

Earth Touch does Lake Malawi's cichlids

I've been meaning to shine a spot light on this series of short videos on Lake Malawi's cichids for awhile now.  Cheers to David Grazi, our former research assistant for finding them!  Check them out!











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Saturday, October 18, 2014

News from the Beach! aka. there is NO ebola in Malawi!

-So up in Mzuzu at Joy's Place we got our first rains of the new rainy season yesterday.  They were beautiful!  Its amazing how all the plants just suck up the water and burst out in technicolor greens.

- The rains didn't make it to the Beach but we did get a wonderful lightning display.  Last week James, and Dani, two of our interns went out fishing with some of the Malawian fishers we monitor.  This wasn't your ordinary fishing trip.  They paddled for over 10 kms, starting at 1:30am and getting back around 9am.  What an experience and good on them for toughing it out!  At the Maru we think it is so important not just to study our environment but to get involved in it and we really want to thank Chitaro, Martin, and Mike, for allowing James and Dani to tag along with them and learn about what they do night after night on the beautiful lake of stars!

- And finally we are sure that our readers outside of Malawi and Africa are concerned about Ebola. Here in Malawi we are not.  If you are reading this from Europe, you are likely closer to the epidemic than we are.  If you are reading this from North America, there are more cases of ebola there than in Malawi.  Africa is NOT a country.  We take the health and safety of all our customers at Aquanuts, Joy's Place, and of our research staff at the Maru very seriously and will not hesitate to take swift action if the need arises but this is a very, very, very remote possibility.

- Get yourself to Malawi, the Lake is waiting!
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Monday, September 29, 2014

Diving with Otters in Lake Malawi!

So over the years here on Lake Malawi at Kande Island I have had the privilege to dive with otters on several occasions.  They are a reclusive but also very curious bunch and just last week our intern James Muir was lucky enough to get a short video clip of one, and the big fellow even gave him a friendly wave!  Take a look for yourself!  If you needed another reason to come out to this beautiful lake (which you don't) you've just got one!

video




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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Even More Photos

We've put up even more photos on our gallery to the right.  Just click on it to see them in full size.  Here is a sample below!






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