Conserving Chagos: Starting Out


BRUV stereo camera rigs being set up

BRUV stereo camera rigs being set up; photo: Anne & Charles Sheppard/ Chagos Conservation Trust

This morning, we did a ‘shakedown’ dive to check the dive equipment and see how some of the specialised equipment performed. In the afternoon, we did the first of the ‘work’ dives, recording cryptic fauna, coral cover, recovering temperature data loggers and some pretty complicated stuff to do with the Baited Remote Underwater Video Cameras, or BRUV, work, which involves a set of stereo underwater HD video systems for collecting fish data in deeper water.

Only some members of our team have dived in Chagos before. The rest of the team, who are all experienced divers and have worked on reefs all over the world, were amazed at the abundance of life on the reef and in the water at Diego Garcia.

Manta Ray AnneSheppard

Manta Ray AnneSheppard; photo: Anne & Charles Sheppard/ Chagos Conservation Trust

We saw manta rays, eagle rays, sharks, turtles and dolphins. There was high coral cover, and more fish than you would believe. Although there is probably nowhere in the world that could be called truly pristine, this place comes about as close as you can get.

We captured some footage of the mantas (captured with a little diversion by the BRUV stereo video system) and after processing it we will upload it for you to see, along with some other photos.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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