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The Third Annual Maldives Whale Shark Festival Returns to South Ari Atoll

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whale sharkMaldives Whale Shark Research Programme [MWSRP] is collaborating with Maldivian Artists to celebrate the whale shark in the Maldives third annual Whale Shark Festival.

Hosted on the beautiful local island of Dhidhoo, this year’s Festival will be the culmination of months of creative workshops and collaboration in which community members work together to create incredible art work representing their island culture and celebrating the marine diversity of South Ari atoll and it’s Marine Protected Area (the S.A.MPA).

This unique Festival, driven by national and international collaborations between dynamic Maldivian artists, marine biologists, and scientific researchers, places island communities at the forefront of creative decision making. Promoting intergenerational exchange, the Festival provides vital opportunities to celebrate both the rich cultural heritage of the atoll and it’s internationally renowned marine environment.

Building on the success of last year’s festival, this year the festival will be bigger and bolder than ever before. The Festival will take advantage of its new position in the Maldives national calendar on the weekend of International Whale Shark Day, beginning with a ‘ScienceFEST’ mini-conference on Friday 28th August for teachers, community leaders and marine biologists before the whole community travels to the Dhidhoo for the main event on Saturday 29th August.

whale shark festival

Dhidhoo, a small island with a big personality will host the 2015 event in style, festooned with vibrant costumes, banners, flags and puppets, it will host hundreds of school children and community members from across the atoll.

Festival Co-Director Kareen Adam and Story-Telling artist Fazail Lutfi will be working again with each participating island to share and celebrate the unique stories of each island’s community, weaving traditional Maldivian dance and music with contemporary art work to entertain and inform a diverse audience of Island residents, Maldivian creatives, scientists, and international visitors.

Under the guidance of professional artists like Nadee Rachey each participating island will create a large scale kinetic whale shark sculpture from recycled materials for the procession to be accompanied by endangered reef fish inspired art work and costumes. From the Peacock mantis shrimp to the noduled sea star (Fas Ingili), this is an opportunity for artists and marine biologists to design a dynamic learning opportunity, full of independent investigation and discovery, ensuring that conservation and awareness underpin the whole of the Festival Programme.

For the young Maldivian artists involved, this event is a fantastic opportunity to showcase and share their skills, Ms Rachey said of last year; ”It is hard to explain it in words how much fun I had working on the festival last year. Working with the local community and collaborating with so many different artists was a really inspiring and rewarding experience”.

Festival Co-Directors Kareen Adam and Chloe Osborne, are designing a series of multidisciplinary art workshopsfor participating islands. Ms Osborne enthused that ‘the workshops and Festival will build on the incredible collaborations and partnership work that we witnessed in the build up to last years festival. The creative ideas and technical skills on every island we worked with far surpassed our expectations – we have had to work hard to raise the bar for this year’s festival!’ Co-director Ms Adam added, ‘I’m feeling excited to see the children and adults from seven islands come together with colourful props and costumes to celebrate their unique environment and whale sharks”.

The event hopes to attract festival goers from across the atoll, Male and beyond as a yearly opportunity to celebrate the craftsmanship and creativity of the island communities and to celebrate the area’s unique role in International whale shark ecology.

The 2015 festival has been created with support from Artist Sponsor LUX* Maldives, Festival Partners Allied Insurance, Visit Maldives, Mirihi Resort, Carpe Diem and Flyme, Hydration Partner 100Plus, Print Partner Novelty Print, Online Partner Maldives.com, Design Partner Emau Saleem and Audio-Visual partner DOAV, along with the support of Festival Friends; Friend of the Sea, Voyages Maldives, We Care Maldives, LaMER and Cyprea Pvt Ltd.

MWSRP programme coordinator Ibrahim Shameel concluded, “for me the Festival has proved it can bring people together from all walks of life to celebrate and take creative inspiration from the whale shark and our marine environment. Last year it was made spectacularly clear how much this opportunity meant to the community of South Ari, and the MWSRP are hugely excited to see the scale and reach of this event grow year on year”.

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OZEN LIFE MAADHOO crowned as Maldives’ best romantic resort

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OZEN LIFE MAADHOO, an ultra-luxe private island retreat renowned for its romantic ambiance, has secured the title of ‘Best Romantic Resort in the Maldives’ at the esteemed Travel Time Awards in Russia. This prestigious award underscores the resort’s dedication to curating unforgettable experiences for couples seeking the ultimate romantic escape.

Organised by the publishers of Travel Time magazine, the Travel Time Awards are among the most recognised honours in the country’s travel sector. The gala event, held in Moscow and attended by industry experts, marked the third year of ceremonial presentations acknowledging the best of the best in luxury travel in 2023. Winning hotels, resorts, agents, and destinations were selected through a combined online vote by the magazine’s readers, an editorial panel, travel agencies, and Russian celebrities.

“As one of our most significant markets, Russia holds a special place for us. Receiving this prestigious award is truly an honour and testimony to the unforgettable romantic experience of our castaway island”, says Elisabeth Alleyne, General Manager of OZEN LIFE MAADHOO. “We are deeply grateful for this recognition and are committed to continuing to provide Maldivian dream escapes for honeymooners and couples from around the world.”

Couples seeking a tranquil, unforgettable honeymoon or a romantic celebration will find OZEN LIFE MAADHOO to be the ideal private island retreat. Known for its award-winning villas and exceptional dine-around options, the resort is thoughtfully designed to cater to your every need and want. Guests can enjoy intimate experiences such as private beach dinners and picturesque beach weddings, all set against the serene backdrop of the Indian Ocean’s vibrant blue hues or starlit sky.

An exclusive INDULGENCE™️ Plan, crafted to pamper you from arrival to departure. This all-encompassing holiday plan invites you to revel in the delights of island living without limits. From premium liquor to champagne, indulge in the finest libations as you soak in the breathtaking beauty of the Maldives. Let go of all worries as everything you desire is seamlessly integrated into this comprehensive holiday plan.

At OZEN LIFE MAADHOO peace, relaxation and wellbeing are cornerstones of the guest experience, with island life offering a bespoke journey tailored to individual preferences. The luxury award-winning spa by ELE|NA, one of the Maldives leading wellness brands, embodies the philosophy of the ‘elements of nature’. Guests can choose from a diverse range of holistic treatments, therapies and classes all curated to harness the energies of these natural elements.

OZEN LIFE MAADHOO’s recent accolade at the prestigious World Travel Awards, where it won the ‘Leading Villa Resort’ category, further independently confirms the islands reputation as a top luxury destination. This recognition highlights the resort’s commitment to providing an unparalleled experience for those in search of romance and luxury.

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Cinnamon Dhonveli Maldives shells out for sea turtle conservation efforts

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In honor of World Turtle Day 2024, Cinnamon Dhonveli Maldives has announced the adoption of three sea turtles residing in the waters surrounding their island resort. The two Green Turtles and one Hawksbill Turtle, named Rehendi, Raivilla, and Raalhu, will benefit from the resort’s ongoing commitment to marine conservation.

This initiative builds upon Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts’ broader environmental efforts. Through a data-gathering project that utilizes Maldives Ocean temperature loggers and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping, the company has developed detailed biodiversity inventories for each of its island resorts. These inventories encompass fish species, reefs, mangroves, and other ecosystems, with a particular focus on globally endangered species like sea turtles.

“As keystone species,” explains a statement from Cinnamon Dhonveli Maldives, “sea turtles play a critical role in maintaining the health of our oceans. Their threatened status underscores the importance of conservation efforts.” Six out of the world’s seven sea turtle species are classified as threatened with extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), highlighting the urgency of protecting these magnificent creatures.

Recognizing their responsibility towards these endangered animals, Cinnamon Dhonveli Maldives is actively involved in supporting the Olive Ridley Project. Through their adoption and donation program, the resort contributes to the project’s vital work of rescuing and rehabilitating injured turtles, while also supporting research initiatives that improve our understanding of sea turtles and their habitats.

Sustainability is a core value at Cinnamon Dhonveli Maldives, further reflected in their ongoing coral propagation program. This program, along with a 2.5-year research project examining underwater environmental factors, exemplifies the resort’s commitment to protecting marine biodiversity. By transplanting corals and raising awareness of their importance, Cinnamon Dhonveli Maldives is working to ensure a healthy future for the Maldivian coral reefs.

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Tripod the three-finned turtle sparks conservation efforts at Ellaidhoo Maldives by Cinnamon

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Ellaidhoo Maldives by Cinnamon, a resort committed to sustainability, has implemented a series of initiatives to protect the environment and its marine life.

The resort places a particular focus on safeguarding critically endangered hawksbill sea turtles, including the resident “Tripod,” a three-flippered turtle that frequents the island’s waters. Through their support of the Olive Ridley Project, Ellaidhoo contributes to rescuing, treating, and researching these fascinating creatures, ensuring a brighter future for their population.

Situated amidst the world’s seventh-largest coral reef system, Ellaidhoo prioritizes reef conservation. Their innovative “coral restoration through reef cubes” program has yielded remarkable results, with marine life thriving in these recycled structures.

The resort’s commitment to eco-friendliness extends beyond the underwater world. They have transformed damaged umbrellas into unique beach bags, with all proceeds supporting environmental and social initiatives in the Maldives. This includes providing reusable water bottles to local schoolchildren, promoting a reduction in single-use plastic.

Ellaidhoo Maldives by Cinnamon serves as a model for sustainable tourism, inspiring guests and local communities to embrace eco-conscious practices for the benefit of the Maldives’ breathtaking beauty.

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