Shark conservation in Aldabra Atoll

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As a child its seemingly endless expanse of blue wilderness held a life full of adventure and of places even more mystical than those in Enid Blyton’s Magic Far Away Tree.

Growing up in Kenya I often escaped to those picture perfect white beaches where the rock pools, filled with hermit crabs and brittle stars, became my playground.

It wasn’t until later when the natural world became a passion that I first heard of ‘Aldabra’ and I have been drawn to it ever since.

On a map it is only a stone’s throw away from the Swahili coast I know so well, but in fact this coral atoll is 400 miles southeast of Mombasa tucked away in a lost corner of the Seychelles Island Group.

Described by explorers as ‘the island man forgot – a living natural history museum’ there is something magical and mysterious about it. Even the name rings of magic, say Aldabra to someone and the chances are ‘abracadabra’ pops to mind!

Aldabra greeted me this morning with a gently rolling lapping against the sandy shore and the sun lighting up the crystal clear waters beyond.

A far cry from my wake-up in the darkness early yesterday morning on neighboring Assumption Island when an exceedingly aggravated, tone deaf cockerel took out his frustrations on our bleary-eyed expedition team a few hours too early.

The journey to Mahe was a piece of cake compared with what turned out to be the logistical nightmare of getting to the airstrip on Assumption Island, let alone getting there before dark. I am convinced that visiting another planet would have incurred only slightly elevated stress levels.

When the Seychelles Island Development Company (IDC) ops manager said, with a big smile on her face, “When the weather gets bad it gets tricky” I severely underestimated the extent of the trickiness and the amount of times we would have to unload, reload, unload, reload