Connect with us

Underwater

Meet W Maldives Marine Insider who protects the house reef by killing the starfish

Published

on

W Retreat & Spa, underwater

Maldives.net.mv – With its central location in the Maldives’ North Ari atoll, W Retreat & Spa – Maldives is surrounded by some of the best dive sites in the world. All the big fish such as mantas, whale and hammerhead sharks are to be found in the immediate vicinity plus those smaller marine animals such as frogfish or ghost pipefish.

In the retreat’s commitment to craft unique and authentic experiences, W Retreat & Spa – Maldives offers a myriad of specially designed water activities through DOWN UNDER & WAVE, its diving and watersports centre. These activities immerse guests in the vibrancy of experiences of the natural environment and cultural heritage of the Maldives. One of the key people playing a vital role in this is Morgan Dobson, the retreat’s W MARINE INSIDER who has been based on the Fesdu island for 18 months. Growing up in Cyprus and with a diploma in Marine Biology and a degree in Environmental Studies, Morgan leads all conservation initiatives such as coral rehabilitation and educational outreach programs to preserve a healthy ecological environment at W Retreat & Spa – Maldives. He is also a certified diving instructor and takes care of the diving and snorkelling trips to local reefs and around the Ari Atoll, where the best dive sites are located. Maaya Thila, Fishhead, Malhoss Thila, Himendhoo Thila – to name just a few. A tilla is a smaller sand formation that rises up like a small hill in the water and never reaches its surface. Tillas are often as deep as 8 meters to the top of the reef.

W Retreat & Spa, underwater

W Retreat & Spa – Maldives is renowned for its underwater offerings – dive sites enhanced by tillas and farus – coral walls in large circles, which rise up from anywhere between 40-20 meters to just below the surface of the ocean. A unique diving spot in Fesdu is Hoholla Faru. This faru has a number of shallow caves big enough to swim into. The ceiling and walls are very honeycombed, allowing fish to swim in and out at their leisure. The ceiling, a living mural, is covered by coral encrusted clam shells. Just a stone’s throw from Fesdu is Gaathafushi desert island. It is totally intact and wild – a tropical fantasy in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

Following a recent invasion of crown-of-thorns starfish on the retreat’s house reef, which started in September 2015, W MARINE INSIDER and his team have been dedicated to stopping it ever since. The starfish consume the corals by climbing onto them, thrusting out their stomachs, and bathing the coral in digestive enzymes, which liquefy it for ingestion. Adult crown-of-thorns starfish, ranging in size from 9 to 18 inches (3-6 cm) in diameter and with up to 21 arms, can eat nearly a square foot of coral each in a day.

“We currently have teams entering the water and injecting the starfish with vinegar to kill them. We have also extended this procedure to other nearby reefs as this seems to be the area where they arrive from. So far more than 25,000 starfish have been killed. Also, the starfish behavior has changed as they are now hiding on the house reef during the day and come out to feed at night, which is why we have to dive in the dark to kill them.

If the current trends continue, the Fesdu’s spectacular reef may be severely damaged within a few years from now. Stopping the starfish infestation is a priority for us at the moment as this can save the stunning reef’s flora and fauna”, Morgan concluded.

For bookings and more information on W Retreat & Spa – Maldives, please explore http://www.wretreatmaldives.com/.

Action

Once-in-a-lifetime baby Humpback Whale encounter at Komandoo Maldives

Published

on

In the tranquil waters surrounding the Maldives’ Komandoo Island Resort & Spa, a remarkable event unfolded recently, captivating the hearts of guests and locals alike. A baby humpback whale, measuring between 8 to 10 metres in length, graced the reefs with its majestic presence, creating a stir of excitement and awe among those fortunate enough to witness this extraordinary spectacle.

The enchanting encounter began on April 10th at 9:00 am, when the young whale was first spotted near Komandoo Water Villas. Dive Instructor Anna, from Prodivers on Komandoo, was one of the first responders to this unexpected visitation. “I saw the big baby humpback whale sleeping at a depth of 7-8m and took some video footage as proof before heading back to shore as quickly as I could to alert others about this incredible sight,” Anna shared, reflecting on the initial moments of this once-in-a-lifetime event.

The news spread like wildfire across the island, with guests at the pool deck and from neighboring properties such as Kuredu, Hurawalhi, and Kudadoo joining in on the excitement. “It was a very joyful event for everyone. People were star-struck and some, myself included, even cried,” Anna recounted, underscoring the emotional impact of witnessing such a rare phenomenon up close. Tina, Kuredu Prodivers Dive Centre Manager, recounted the thrill of unexpectedly encountering the whale during her dive expeditions, “When I ascended from my dive in Aquarium, the Captain screamed at me that there is a humpback whale on Komandoo house reef – I couldn’t believe it!”

Efforts were quickly mobilised to ensure the well-being of the young whale. Komandoo’s General Manager at the time, Navaz, coordinated logistics to provide a speedboat for monitoring the whale’s movements, ensuring that guests and staff could observe from a respectful distance. “Everyone behaved very respectfully. In the water, it was not just guests; even the captain from Aisha Boat, Captain Ahmed, jumped in and snorkelled with the whale too,” Anna added, emphasising the community spirit that surrounded this natural marvel.

The whale’s journey continued to captivate throughout the following days, with sightings near Komandoo’s front jetty, and subsequently outside Hinnavaru’s and Kudadoo’s house reefs. Marlene, from Prodivers Office Team, shared her unforgettable experience, “When I think about my time with the whale, I still get goosebumps. Seeing the humpback was pure joy.”

Marine biologists were consulted to assess the whale’s condition and behavior. They confirmed that the whale appeared healthy and uninjured. “The information we got was that baby whales can get lost from time to time, and if they do, they seek shelter in shallower areas and wait for their family to pick them up again,” Anna explained, offering insights into the whale’s behavior and reassuring observers of its well-being.

For those who cherish wildlife encounters and the magic of the ocean, Komandoo’s recent visitor has left an indelible mark. As the young humpback continues its journey, the memory of this special encounter remains a testament to the wonders that await in the pristine waters of the Maldives. Whether from the shores of Komandoo or neighbouring islands, guests and locals alike were united in marvelling at nature’s beauty, reminding us all of the importance of preserving and cherishing our marine ecosystems.

For travellers seeking unforgettable experiences amidst breathtaking natural beauty, Komandoo and its surrounding islands continue to offer glimpses into the wonders of the ocean that are truly beyond compare.

Continue Reading

Action

Exploring the depths: Technical diving at the British Loyalty wreck in Addu Atoll

Published

on

In the southernmost reaches of the Maldives lies a submerged relic steeped in history – The British Loyalty shipwreck. This underwater treasure, resting 33 meters below the surface between the islands of Maradhoo and Hithadhoo in Addu Atoll, has become a haven for technical divers seeking a unique and thrilling experience.

The British Loyalty, an oil tanker with a storied past, was constructed in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, and played a crucial role during the colonial era, serving the British Royal Air Force until the late 1970s. Tragically, the ship met its fate during World War II when it was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in Madagascar in May 1942, resulting in the loss of lives and significant damage.

Despite facing the perils of war, the British Loyalty managed to find its way to Addu Atoll after being repaired. Its duty shifted to supplying oil to the base in Gan until another harrowing incident in 1944, when a German U-boat torpedoed the vessel. Miraculously, the ship did not sink but sustained considerable damage. Instead of full repairs, it was repurposed as a fuel storage vessel until the British withdrawal from the Maldives in 1946, leading to its intentional scuttling across the atoll.

Today, The British Loyalty lies beneath the crystal-clear waters, offering a captivating dive site for enthusiasts. Aquaventure Maldives, a PADI 5 Star Dive Center in Addu, facilitates these mesmerizing dives, providing enthusiasts with a chance to explore the sunken vessel and the vibrant marine life that has made it their home.

Divers have the opportunity to navigate through the 140-meter-long wreck adorned with corals and inhabited by schools of small fish, turtles, and occasional visits from manta rays and sharks. The deck and keel of the ship feature two large holes, inviting divers to swim in and out, enhancing the overall experience of exploring this historic underwater site.

To ensure the preservation of the natural beauty surrounding the wreck, the Maldives Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declared The British Loyalty a Protected Area in 2018. This designation emphasizes the commitment to maintaining the delicate balance of marine life and safeguarding the historical significance of the site.

For those seeking an extraordinary adventure beneath the waves, Aquaventure Maldives invites divers to embark on a journey through time, exploring the depths of The British Loyalty and witnessing the captivating underwater wonders of Addu Atoll. With experienced instructors and dive masters boasting thousands of dives in the atoll, Aquaventure Maldives promises a safe and unforgettable technical diving experience in this unique underwater realm.

Continue Reading

Action

Amilla Maldives teams up with NGO to protect turtles

Published

on

In celebration of World Turtle Day on May 23rd, 2024, Amilla Maldives, a haven nestled within the breathtaking Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, announced a new and exciting partnership with the Atoll Marine Centre (AMC), a local NGO dedicated to marine conservation. This collaboration allows guests to actively participate in protecting these magnificent creatures and their vital habitats.

Founded in Lhaviyani Atoll in 2012, the Atoll Marine Centre (AMC) has become a vital force for sea turtle conservation in the Maldives. Their mission extends far beyond rehabilitation of hatchlings once kept as ill-advised pets. AMC actively rescues and rehabilitates adult turtles entangled in fishing gear or stranded on beaches. Their dedication extends to restoring coral reefs, raising awareness within the local community, and educating future generations through engaging school programs. This partnership with Amilla Maldives marks AMC’s first venture outside their home atoll, signifying the growing importance of collaborative conservation efforts across the islands.

As a proud member of The Conscious Travel Foundation and an EarthCheck silver-certified resort, Amilla Maldives goes beyond offering luxurious accommodations. The resort prioritises sustainable practices and actively engages guests in environmental initiatives. To celebrate World Turtle Day, Amilla curated a series of unforgettable experiences that allowed guests to learn about and contribute to sea turtle conservation:

  • Turtle Discovery Excursion: Witnessing the magic of turtles in their natural habitat through a guided snorkelling adventure.
  • “Turtle Tales”: Educational talks by marine biologists, demystifying the lives of sea turtles and the threats they face.
  • “Adopt-a-Turtle” Programme: An opportunity for guests to directly support AMC’s vital conservation efforts by symbolically adopting a turtle patient recovering at the centre

Amilla Maldives’ dedication to environmental responsibility extends far beyond World Turtle Day. The resort has implemented a series of ongoing initiatives that demonstrate their commitment to a sustainable future:

  • Harnessing the Power of the Sun: A significant investment in solar panel installation has drastically reduced the resort’s reliance on diesel fuel, minimising its carbon footprint.
  • Sustainable Amenities: Amilla Maldives has partnered with socially conscious brands to provide guests with refillable, eco-friendly toiletries packaged in PCR materials.
  • Combating Plastic Waste: The resort has replaced single-use plastic water bottles with reusable Rolla Bottles for all guests. Partnering with Rolla Bottle ensures that a portion of the proceeds goes towards funding ocean plastic pollution clean-up solutions.
  • Supporting Sustainable Fishing Practices: Amilla Maldives actively participates in the Blue Marine Foundation’s “Maldives Resilient Reefs” initiative. This program financially rewards local fishermen for adopting sustainable fishing practices that protect fragile coral reef ecosystems.

By choosing Amilla Maldives, travellers can indulge in luxurious comfort while contributing to vital marine conservation efforts. The resort offers a unique opportunity to combine an unforgettable vacation with the chance to make a positive impact on the environment. Let Amilla Maldives show you how luxury and sustainability can coexist beautifully.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Trending

Copyright all rights reserved by Maldives Promotion House 2023.