Location: Kuda Hura, Maldives

Day 32 began with another beautiful sunrise in paradise, and we awoke to the aroma of pancakes being prepared in the galley by head chef Caroline and sous chef Hunter. At breakfast, we discovered that a personalized pancake had been prepared for each person, with shapes ranging from an anchor to a wheel, to a chin strap. The pancakes were delicious and a great way to start the day. After cleanup, everyone headed down to the saloon for OCB, where Carolyn gave a lecture about manta rays in advance of our diving tomorrow, where we hope to see some. Next up, the second part of the Emergency First Responder course, during which we picked up our anchor from Kuda Bandos and headed over to Kuda Huraa. This island is home to the illustrious Four Seasons Resort, and we had arranged to visit the Marine Science facility associated with the resort. Onshore, we enjoyed a free lunch in the staff cafeteria and then met with the Marine Science Manager, who told us about the conservation activities happening through the resort, including the creation of artificial reef structures and turtle conservation. We got to see the turtles currently in residence, a few whom were undergoing rehabilitation, and others that were part of their head start program (Allowing the turtles to grow large enough in captivity that they have a better chance at surviving in the wild) Next we took the staff ferry dinghy across to a neighboring island to see the mangroves, and a site that highlights one of the biggest issues facing the Maldives – a trash heap. There are no municipal dumps in the Maldives, but rubbish, especially plastics, must end up somewhere. So here, hidden from resort guests, the problem resides. Our tour guide commented that they are trying to build support for a recycling program, but as yet their efforts have had little success. It was a stark reminder of how much trash a community can produce, even a community as small as Argo. We are quite careful with our rubbish, sorting recyclables from plastic, and cleaning, drying and compacting what plastic trash we do have to minimize our impact on the countries we visit. A dinghy rides back to Argo later; the chefs settled into their dinner preparations, an everyone else had a free afternoon. We enjoyed our pesto dinner to the backdrop of the setting sun with Argo gently swaying in the evening tidal currents. Hopefully, all hands will get some rest tonight, as tomorrow looks to be a full day in the water, and hopefully with manta rays! (fingers crossed)