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Green is good: the best eco focused superyacht adventures

Green is good: the best eco focused superyacht adventures

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Indonesian-manta-rays

Mergui Archipelago

For manta rays

Where: Thousands of islands make up the Mergui Archipelago off Myanmar, where vibrant vegetation and empty beaches are a given. The area is home to elusive tribes of sea gypsies, and beneath the clear water lies what may be the largest population of manta rays in the Indian Ocean. These seas are fairly uncharted by divers, and it’s rare to see other yachts, while the underwater landscapes are filled with vibrant soft coral, anemones, fish and huge groups of swooping giant manta rays.

How: Known as “the queen of the mantas”, there is no better guide than Dr Andrea Marshall to introduce you to these elegant creatures and the area itself. A marine explorer and researcher, Marshall has logged several thousand dives around the world and is regarded as a leading authority on manta rays. She is the founder of the Marine Megafauna Foundation, and carries out vital research and conservation work. She organises her own trips through her Ray of Hope expeditions, and regularly accompanies private yachts to areas of particular interest.

On her radar for 2019 is the Mergui Archipelago, to document and research the vast numbers of mantas. “These trips tend to be for people who want to get off the beaten path... and learn more about the research we’re doing,” she explains. Working with her husband, Janneman Conradie, a National Geographic lmographer, Marshall presents her research on board, often to the guests and crew. She then encourages them into the water with her to do anything from collecting genetic samples and deploying satellite tags to planting temperature loggers or acoustic listening stations – all the while, Conradie documents everything for the client. Interaction with local people is key, too, and they work with groups of sea gypsies, bringing supplies and helping with educational programmes.

When: November to April is the best time to cruise the Mergui Archipelago; peak months are December to February.

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