… But I will be going there from here (Cape Town) for five weeks as part of a small team of scientists and cameramen from the Save Our Seas Foundation (SOSF) to assess and document Aldabra’s unique marine life. The countdown is on and together with the BBC Wildlife award-winning photographer Thomas Peschak we are laying out every single piece of camera equipment we own and trying to figure out how to get it (safely) half way up the continent and across the Swahili seas to the Seychelles Island Group.
I won’t ask you to join me with the preparation and packing as it is total chaos but I will take you behind the scenes on a scientific, documentary film-making and photographic expedition to a place every conservation and marine biologist, film-maker and photographer longs to go.
From March 12th to April 9th SOSF will be on a mission to assess the abundance of sharks, especially the large species such as tiger, oceanic-white-tips and great hammerhead sharks. We, led by Dr Rupert Ormond, SOSF’s director of Science, will be diving and using remote camera stations to try and find individuals. Chatting last week to Dr Ormond his words rung very true to my experience of how a lot of people view the ocean: “There is a tendency for people to think that as long as the ocean looks ok and remains blue in colour, it is pristine and not damaged. The sad reality is that this is far from the truth and below the surface large expanses of the ocean have been converted to deserts, un-naturally destroyed by man.”
Cheryl-Samantha Owen is a conservation biologist, wildlife photographer and author who specializes in documenting marine life in the oceans that surround Africa. Cheryl-Sam was born in Kenya and has spent much of her life working on the African continent. Her work with the Save Our Seas Foundation sees her on the conservation frontline, raising awareness and educating the world about the importance and relevance of marine and shark conservation.