Today we learned a lot of new things!
First we learned about MantaWatch surveys. We learned about the methodology, what information to look out for and record, and why this information is important. We now know what to do, and I’m looking forward to putting this theory into practice. We can also share our knowledge with other people, and encourage themÂ to play a role in manta conservation by recording their encounters when they go diving.
We also had a special guest today. Derta Prabuning from Reef Check Foundation Indonesia told us how the manta information collected by Reef Check, MantaWatch and local dive operators is being used by the West Manggarai government to develop conservation and management policy. Derta also gave us some great tips on developing a career in marine conservation.
Then we learned how to use a camera underwater. I didn’t know there would be so many things to think about! First we have to prepare our equipment for diving, to keep the camera safe from the damaging sea water. Then we have to think about how light behaves underwater, and how different wavelengths of light are absorbed by the water. I think it is going to be complicated to take a good manta ID photo!
In the afternoon we returned to Bidadari Island to practice using the cameras underwater. This was the first time that I have used a camera underwater, and it was really fun to try. We all had fun playing with our cameras, and we tried to take ID photos of our mentor Dita pretending to be a manta. It was difficult to get the correct exposure, with Dita a dark silhouette against the bright sunlight in many of my pictures.It was a lot of fun learning to use the camera, and in the end we got some quite good results. I still need a lot of practice, but I’m sure we’ll all get better as the MantaWatch Internship Program continues.