24 hours, 2 atmospheres of pressure, over 100 scuba divers and a whole lot of fun - that just about sums up Diver24, the massive undertaking of the University of Cape Town's Underwater Club to raise funds for turtle conservation.

The first team of scuba divers get ready to begin the 24-hour marathon! Photo by Ingrid Sinclair/Two Oceans Aquarium.

For an entire 24 hour period, from the morning of Saturday 24 March to Sunday 25 March 2018, teams of scuba divers from the UCT Underwater Club took turns to man the underwater world of our I&J Ocean Exhibit. Was this for fun? Yes. Was it to show how awesome scuba diving is? Certainly. But, was there a greater purpose behind this? Definitely...

Photo by Devon Bowen/Two Oceans Aquarium.

Diver24 is an annual awareness and fundraising event run by the UCT Underwater Club, and once again the Two Oceans Aquarium invited the Club to use our venue. The Club rotated their divers on an hourly roster, keeping the rays, turtles, musselcrackers and giant guitarfish company throughout the night.

Photo by Ingrid Sinclair/Two Oceans Aquarium.

The Club selected the Aquarium's turtle rescue, rehabilitation and release programme as the beneficiary of this year's Diver24 event. It goes without saying that we are incredibly grateful for their generosity, and are more than pleased to have had the opportunity to further nurture a love of the ocean in these intrepid marine explorers.

Click here to learn more about scuba diving at the Two Oceans Aquarium

Photo by Ingrid Sinclair/Two Oceans Aquarium.

Working with the UCT Underwater Club was fantastic (thanks for making our jobs so easy). Once again we called on Aquarist Simon Leigh (who you might recognise as our talking diver) to pull an all-nighter, briefing the Club's divemasters and keeping everyone's cylinders refilled (no small task when you're dealing with over 100 divers)!

Photo by @trygveheide/Instagram.

Late into Saturday night, long after the Aquarium was closed to the public, the divers and guests who were sleeping over, in front of the I&J Ocean Exhibit, had a visit from Conservation Coordinator Talitha Noble, who taught them what to if they ever found a stranded turtle, and how the rehab centre turtles actually end up at the Aquarium - quite a relevant lesson, as these divers were sharing the water with two of these turtles, Bob and Sandy.

This is Sandy, a green turtle rescued and brought to the Aquarium after struck by a boat's propeller. Photo by @mermaid_danii/Instagram.

With their cause in mind, the UCT Underwater Club never once came close to giving up...

Photo by Devon Bowen/Two Oceans Aquarium.

In fact, their spirits were high throughout the night, even as the clock passed midnight!

Photo by Devon Bowen/Two Oceans Aquarium.

It might have had something to do with all their new underwater friends (even those that liked eating GoPro's - we're looking at you Mr Grumpy).

Photo by Devon Bowen/Two Oceans Aquarium.

Or the ongoing support of all those that came to the Aquarium to support the Diver24 team.

Photo by Devon Bowen/Two Oceans Aquarium.

Whatever their secret weapon, these students truly pulled off the ultimate all-nighter!

Photo by Devon Bowen/Two Oceans Aquarium.

But soon, the end drew near. Diver24 was reaching its final hour.

It's almost over... Photo by Devon Bowen/Two Oceans Aquarium.

Finally, the clock struck 11AM on Sunday -  their task was complete! Diver24 had pulled off their mammoth task - again! Well done to all involved!

Photo by Devon Bowen/Two Oceans Aquarium.

Thank you UCT Underwater Club for your incredible support of South African sea turtle conservation efforts.

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