My wife, Kathy, and I made a trip in Spring, 2014 to the Seychelles to help with the inauguration of a photography grant program for the Save Our Seas foundation. The event took place on the small research island of D'Arros.

We first flew into Dubai for a half-day layover into that surrealistic modern city. We did not see enough to fairly judge, but it seemed like one large, very expensive, shopping mall.

The main, most populous island in the Seychelles is Mahé, where we hopped a smaller plane to the remote island of D'Arros.

D'Arros has a research station and a small village, but the tiny island is mostly old palm plantations, milky sand beaches and ringed by reefs. The reefs are recovering from recent El Nino warming and the team there are attempting to return the island to its original, endemic plant and animal species. The island has been cleared of rats (and cats) at great expense, so that nesting birds are safe from invasive predators.

Across a small channel are the magical reef and shallows of St. Joseph atoll. We were able to drift-dive along a reef wall where sea turtles sat beneath rock overhangs and black-tipped reef sharks slipped along at a respectful distance. It was routine for the researchers stationed there, but a once-in-a-lifetime experience for us.

Save Our Seas is working hard to have D'Arros and the nearby atoll of St. Joseph named as a Marine Protected Area.