These are selects from a month long expedition I did to Aldabra in 2008 for the Save Our Seas Foundation. This was my second visit to the atoll, the first being a short recce in 2007.
Aldabra, in the western Indian Ocean, is one of the largest raised coral atolls in the world. It is mostly uninhabited apart from a couple of rangers and researchers who safeguard this delicate world heritage site.
My brief for the expedition was pretty simple - to document Aldabra's three main underwater environments; 1) the pristine fringing reef encompassing the atoll, 2) the lagoon channels that act as highways for all manner of marine life passing in and out of the atoll and 3) the extensive mangrove systems that cover great swathes of the inner lagoon.
The footage was used in a traveling museum exhibition curated by the Aldabra Foundation. The exhibition started in Paris and traveled to various natural history museums in Europe, raising funds and awareness to help preserve Aldabra.
The mangroves were by far the most fascinating part of this assignment. We had to time our dives carefully in the maze of mangroves as we could only dive toward the end of an incoming tide - on an outgoing tide dirty water would be drawn out from the inner lagoon, reducing visibility to almost zero. We picked the largest tides for our dives in the mangroves, giving us the most time inside the waterways, before the tide would turn again, emptying the inner lagoon which would potentially leave us and our small skiff stranded if we were to hang around too long. More than once we ended up dragging cameras and boats across inches of water in a desperate race against the tides.
Sony HDW F-900R in Amphibicam housing.
Frame Rate 59.94i.
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