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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