Aldabra: Protecting a Lost World
Large schools of bohar snappers aggregate at the mouth of the channels that funnel water in and out of the lagoon.
From outer space, the 115 islands that make up the Seychelles archipelago are little more than specks of rock and coral spread in a fan across the western Indian Ocean. At the extreme western edge of the archipelago lies Aldabra, one of the most remote islands in the world. Elliptically shaped, 34 km long and 14 km wide it is the world’s largest raised coral atoll, born at the end of a volcano’s fiery reign.
Jacques Cousteau was the first to reveal Aldabra’s undersea treasures to a global audience in his film The Silent World. In his wake, some 54 years later, an expedition by the Save Our Seas Foundation visited the unique seascape of this Indian Ocean atoll to rediscover its underwater realm. The legend didn’t disappoint, probing the mysteries of Aldabra’s seas was like traveling back to a primordial time when overfishing and pollution had not yet degraded the aquatic world. At Aldabra, the top of the food chain remains virtually intact: at high tide the reef flats boil with black-tip reef and lemon sharks, clouds of bohar snappers eclipse coral pinnacles and giant potato groupers inhabit and vigorously defend every crack and crevice in the reef.
Image: Thomas P. Peschak/Save Our Seas Foundation