Join Manta Ray expert and leading Marine Megafauna Foundation scientist, Dr. Fabrice Jaine, on an exclusive diving and research expedition to explore some of the best Manta hotspots in South-east Asia.
2015 Expedition dates: February 28th – March 8th
Dr. Fabrice Jaine, Senior Scientist at the Marine Megafauna Foundation, award winning underwater photographer and notably a world leading expert on manta rays, will once again host the 2015 Ray of Hope Expedition from Thailand; visiting the Myanmar Archipelago and the Similan Islands for an eventful 8 days and 8 nights.
Dr. Fabrice Jaine:
Your Host for the Expedition
Dr. Jaine begun his long history with marine life gaining a BSC in Marine Biology from the University of Queensland, after which Jaine decided to invest more time in the field with Great White Sharks in South Africa. A few years later he went on to join Project Manta, a leading research body, leading him into his PhD practice and becoming the first person in the world to complete a PhD on the movements and diving behaviour of these mysterious animals.
Dr. Jaine was invited to join the Marine Megafauna Foundation in 2013, after a groundbreaking appearance on Nat Geo Wild’s ‘Manta Mystery’ documentary, where he begun working with Dr. Andrea Marshal, ‘Queen of Manta’s’ (as named by the BBC). Focussing on research to unravel the connectivity and social patterns of manta ray populations around the globe, Dr. Fabrice Jaine aims to integrate knowledge about the movements of these creatures into conservation policy.
Make a Difference:
Be a Part of Manta Ray Research and Conservation
The 2015 Ray of Hope Expedition will be Dr. Fabrice Jaine’s second excursion to the Andaman sea with the See and Sea Organisation. Each Ray of Hope trip is unique in its objective, but all are focused on one thing: the conservation of manta rays. These custom tailored research trips were originally created to encourage more people to get involved in citizen science; a branch of documenting manta rays’ activity that is vital for learning more about their behaviour and habitat. It is therefore important to reach out to as many people at possible to be able to gather sufficient information from all over the world.
Visiting the Mergui Archipelago in Burma and the Similan Islands in Thailand, the Marine Megafauna Foundation have been conducting research for 4 years in an effort to enhance the conservation of manta rays. Each day of the Expedition is dedicated to a new area of the Andaman Sea, in the hope of encountering and documenting as many manta rays as possible. Dr. Fabrice Jaine often offers his knowledge and experience to communities all around the world, who seem captivated by the new information about manta rays and the ground breaking discoveries made by the Marine Megafauna Foundation.
Thailand and Burma Explored
The Mergui is home to numerous world famous dives sites, renowned for their colour saturated reefs boasting incredible fish and invertebrate life. Despite the blast fishing that still takes place here, it remains a place of of wealthy marine life. As some of the dive sites are fairly remote, it is rare to encounter another diving liveaboard in the area, making for less busy dive sites. The abundance of marine life, together with the stunning islands and lack of human impact in the area make it a highly desirable destination not to be missed by intrepid divers.
The Ray of Hope trip aims to visit the top dives sites in the areas that show most promising manta research. Beginning the excursion from Ranong means that we will maximise diving time, heading straight for Burma to begin our underwater exploration. On this leg of the trip we will be diving the best dive sites; including Western Rocky, Three Islets and the famous manta hotspot, Black Rock. Dr. Andrea Marshal, having encountered 30 different manta rays in one day alone, considers the dive site to be one of her top ten.
As the excursion heads back to Thailand it will pass through some of the top dives sites this side of the border; destinations such as Koh Bon, Koh Tachai, and the infamous Richelieu Rock – arguably the best dive site in Thailand.
Non-Profit Work in the Mergui Archipelago
The See and Sea Organisation was established with the aim to help the indigenous people of the Mergui. Over the past 5 years we have taken advantage of participating with the Ray of Hope expeditions to continue our work with the area, making for a fascinating aspect of the excursion.
The Moken, otherwise known as Sea Gypsy people, are an ethnic group very much part of the marine environment; they have previously lived their lives at sea and it is integral to their culture. These days they have moved onto the islands, however, in Thailand they are unrecognised by any government and are therefore one of the 10 poorest ethnic groups in the world. Despite their economic situation, they are a friendly and welcoming community, and the Ray of Hope Expedition will continue to incorporate a visit the Moken on Bo Choo Island as a cultural highlight and a bit of community work.
Dr Andrea Marshall and the Moken villagers of Bo Choo Island
Previous visits to Bo Choo have included donations of glasses to those with poor eye sight, a significant amount of malaria medicine and prevention kits to the local clinic and even educational supplies for the local school. We always encourage our guests to contribute and take part in this philanthropic work, each year enabling the divers of the Ray of Hope Excursion to leave with community work as a highlight of their trip.