Sunday, November 9, 2008

Jean-Michel Cousteau visits the MCSS team!

On the very last day of operations for the 2008 whale shark season, the MCSS monitoring team members had a surprise visit from renown marine conservationist Jean-Michel Cousteau.

Jean-Michel was visiting Seychelles aboard the Regent and had arranged to dive with the Underwater Centre / Dive Seychelles; David and Glynis had known about this well in advance and had arranged with our micro-light pilot Johan that he would stay on an extra week to see if there were any whale sharks around for Jean-Michel’s visit….

In the morning things looked hopeful as the one and only whale shark found on the aerial survey was in the North-West sector; however, by the afternoon the shark had disappeared. This didn’t deter Jean-Michel from paying the team a visit in the Conception Channel, after his dive on Shark Bank, and pilot Johan did a low-level ‘fly-by’ to welcome him.

Jean-Michel Cousteau meets the MCSS whale shark team leaders, from left Luke Riley, David Rowat, Jean-Michel and Katie Brooks.

After the boat ride back to the dive centre Jean-Michel was introduced to the Dr. David and to team leaders Katie Brooks and Luke Riley, where he was interested to learn about the programme and the broad reach of both intern participation and the work we do. There is another Seychelles visit planned in 2009 and so we may get another chance to find a whale shark for Jean-Michel then!

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