Indian Ocean

Reunion Island: Jewel of the Southern Indian Ocean

Soldierfish under an overhang at Tahiti, Réunion Island. Photo by Pierre Constant
Soldierfish under an overhang at Tahiti, Réunion Island. Photo by Pierre Constant

Elliptical in shape, Reunion Island is located in the southern Indian Ocean, 800km east of Madagascar as the crow flies, and 200km west-south-west of Mauritius Island. With a surface of 2,512 sq km and a perimeter of 207km, it is the emerged tip of a volcanic mound that rose 7,000m above the ocean floor. Pierre Constant shares his adventure to this exotic and remote island.

Filephoto: Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus)

New Population of Pygmy Blue Whales Discovered

Pygmy blue whales are the smallest members of the blue whale family, but that's the only small thing about them: they can reach up to 24 meters long.

Despite their enormous size, blue whales have been difficult to observe in the Southern Hemisphere as they live offshore and don't jump around like the humpback whales; thus, for some regions, their population structure, distribution and migration routes remain poorly understood. In particular, little is known about the blue whales in the northern Indian Ocean.

The Maldives' Deep South Atolls

Snorkelers can swim with whale sharks at Gaafu
Snorkelers can swim with whale sharks at Gaafu

We were in Addu, the second largest “city” in the Maldives and capital of the southernmost atoll. Located 45 miles below the equator, and 540km south of Malé, this is the most remote of the 26 atolls that, scattered along almost 900km of the Indian Ocean, make up the archipelago of the Maldives.

Not Just a FAD: Saving the Reefs in the Seychelles Islands

A diver cuts lose a FAD tangled in the reef, Alphonse Atoll, Seychelles. Photo by Christian Burger.

Drifting fish aggregating devices (dFADs) are threatening endangered marine species and coral reefs in the Indian Ocean. Marine conservationist Lucy Martin worked with the Island Conservation Society (ICS), a non-governmental organization in the Seychelles, on a large survey in 2015 to find out how big an issue FADs actually were.