Saturday, May 16, 2015

Life on the Lake by James Muir, Maru Intern

James Muir interned with us last year at the Maru. Check out this video he made during his stay! You too can do all the things that you see James doing.  To see how go to or just click on the links to the left.

Life on the Lake from James Muir on Vimeo.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Welcome Mexford and Vincent!

Well as usual we have been keeping ourselves busy here on Lake Malawi.  We bid farewell to Ivo this month.  What a great guy! And now we get to welcome two new interns, Mexford from Malawi and next month Vincent from Canada!

Mexford has been working for the Malawian Fisheries Department and is currently on study leave to pursue his Masters degree.  We love hosting local students! They teach us so much and we in turn have the chance to offer them new experiences of lake through our underwater surveying program.

Vincent is just finishing up his bachelors degree in biology and has long has a passion for cichlid fish, of which Lake Malawi has the most bio-diverse flock on the planet. He plans to start his Masters degree soon.  We welcome his enthusiasm and look forward to getting him into the water!


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Almost there! And back at the Bay!

-Well the new Great Lake Malawi Cichlid Survey website is built and ready to be put online live. We are just waiting for our 501-3c non-profit status to be finalized in the USA before we put it online and launch our Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign.  The balls are rolling!

-Just this morning we did another population and biodiversity survey up at Nkhata Bay.  The survey site is one of our newest, not even a full years worth of data has been collected, so every time we good down is a new adventure in monitoring how the cichlid populations and diversity changes throughout the year in the Bay.  Jakob, Cobe, and Abby, our current interns, joined us on the dive and for the first time could appreciate just how diverse even the cichlid populations are between Kande and Nkhata Bay.  Imagine if we could survey the entire lake!

- Finally we are happy to announce that Mexford Mulumpwa, an officer with the Malawian fisheries department on study leave to pursue his Masters degree, will be interning with us for the month of April.  We look forward to learning about the lake with him and the special local insights that he might have to offer.  Welcome aboard Mexford!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

News from the Beach!

News from the Beach!

-We are well into 2015 here at Kande and the Maru is busy with its new years resolutions.  But first I'd like to welcome our new Research and Dive Assistant, Steve Leeming! Steve has worked in Mozambique, the Caribbean, and Indonesia studying marine ecosystems and has now come to help us study the tropical freshwater environment that is Lake Malawi.  Welcome aboard Steve!

-The Maru also wishes to welome three new interns to the center.  Jakob and Cobe are from Belgium and Abby is from USA.  We look forward to training them to conduct our in-house monitoring programs and seeing what they might have to offer.

-We have been working hard here to expand the Maru's website so that people all over the world can follow along with us as we conduct our underwater population and biodiversity surveys.  Stayed tuned and we will let you know when all the data from the past three years is put up online and open-source.  From then forward our data will be updated live whenever we conduct a survey.  Our goal is to expand our surveying efforts to select sites all over Lake Malawi.  In order do this, once our home website is updated with all the data we have collected so far, we will be conducting an Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign to help us finance the expansion.  We thank in advance anyone who might donate to this cause.


Friday, January 2, 2015

Happy New Year from the Maru and Aquanuts Divers!

Well the holiday season down here at Kande Beach was busy!  We cooked a whole pig-on-a-spit for Christmas, partied all night to local Malawian music on New Years, and are now ready to tackle 2015 with new energy and  big plans.

- At the Maru we are beginning a new surveying campaign called the "Great Lake Malawi Cichlid Survey."  Stay tuned for updates and ways that you can get involved!

-Also we want to welcome Ivo, our first intern of the year when we arrives on the 5th of January!  Ivo will be helping us get out Great Lake Malawi Cichlid Survey off the ground both on the internet and on the ground!  Welcome aboard Ivo!

- At Joy's Place Joy is still busy in the kitchen cooking away.  We've just come back from Korea with lots of specialty goodies that we love sharing with our guests.  Come around!

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!

View Larger Map

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

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!

View Larger Map

Here's a view of the bay!