In 2016, the longest global coral bleaching event in history impacted reefs in the crystal clear waters of the Maldives, as a result of the El Niño weather phenomenon. Understanding the monumental role that the reef played, Anantara Maldives Resorts acted quickly by increasing its coral conservation project Holistic Approach to Reef Protection (HARP), which in only one year improved the reefs surrounding each of Anantara’s four resorts in the Indian Ocean.
The five-year HARP programme, led by Chief Scientist of the Living Oceans Foundation Dr Andrew Bruckner, encompasses practical environmental protection and marine education. Additionally, throughout the year, the project is worked on by the on-property dive centre teams, Aquafanatics at Dhigu and Elements at Kihavah, sustaining and building on the work done by Dr Bruckner which is inclusive of maintaining, monitoring and growing the coral whilst protecting it at the same time.
The pioneering programme has already succeeded in limiting potential damage to the coral reefs that surround the resorts — ensuring that they continue not only survive, but thrive.
Detailing the work at Anantara Dhigu and its positive impact for both guests and the surrounding environment, Dr Bruckner explains, “Essentially, all of the corals we used were rescued and would otherwise have died. They include juvenile colonies attached to rubble in areas where dredging and sand extraction occurs, as well as broken branches that were detached by snorkelers, divers and strong wave action from larger colonies, and corals that were dying due to coral-eating snails and coral disease. We took small clippings and attached them to ropes suspended in the water column. The nursery creates new habitat that attracts fish, and also maximises survival and growth as the fragments are elevated off the sea floor, preventing burial and consumption by coral predators.
“The work to date has produced a new snorkel trail at Anantara Dhigu and the coral nursery which provides much needed habitat and structure for fish and invertebrates in the area. Within just a few days over a 1,000 fish, comprising 60 species, had moved into the reef. A cleaning station was established at the beginning of the trail, which is now visited daily by a school of batfish, dart fish, unicorn fish and other species — and is once again being enjoyed by guests.”
After the programme was in place at Anantara Dhigu, Dr Bruckner went on to work on the reef that surrounds Anantara Kihavah’s underwater restaurant SEA.
“The project at Kihavah demonstrated that a beautiful thriving coral reef can be created using corals that would otherwise die. All of the corals transported to the underwater restaurant were collected on the reef surrounding the resort, including corals that were broken, fractured and detached from the bottom, piled up in sand channels and at the base of the reef, being buried by sand, under attack by voracious coral-eating snails and affected by coral diseases,” he says.
“Many of the colonies were partially dead, but all diseased tissue, predators and algae were first removed from the colonies. Then, small broken branches were attached to ropes suspended in the water. These branches will be grown for about 18 months until they form small “bushes”. The corals will be removed from the rope and used to restore other areas surrounding the restaurant. This will produce a continual nursery and once the grown corals are removed, the ropes will be replaced with new fragments. As a result of this work, SEA restaurant guests can once again view a healthy coral reef. Moreover, as the restaurant is located at the edge of an underwater cliff, guests can view both the reef marine life and larger pelagic fish, sharks, turtles and other creatures which visit this area in search of food. This is Kihavah’s signature restaurant and is visited by almost all guests, and this critical work promises an unparalleled ocean-viewing culinary experience.”
The next steps of the HARP programme with Anantara involve the continuation of work from the past two years, with the overall vision of restoring the entire habitat. In collaborating with leading experts in their fields for ground-breaking marine biology research, Anantara is pioneering the HARP programme. Currently all project work undertaken in the Maldives by Coral Reef CPR for HARP is funded by the Anantara initiative ‘Dollars For Deeds’, whereby Anantara guests are invited to donate one dollar for each night of their stay, which is then matched dollar for dollar by the hotels.
Dollars for Deeds funds raised in the Maldives are committed over the coming five years to three key focus areas: protection of marine and coastal environments; environmental education; and community welfare.
Thailand-based Anantara Hotels, Resorts and Spas operates three resorts in the Maldives; Anantara Veli Maldives Resort and Anantara Dhigu Maldives Resort in South Male Atoll, and Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas in Baa atoll. Additionally, parent company Minor Hotel Group runs Naladhu Private Island Maldives in the South Male Atoll and Niyama Maldives Private Islands in Dhaalu atoll.
Umair Badheeu sets new, national freediving record at AIDA Philippines National Championship
Maldivian freediver Umair Badheeu has achieved a new national record with a dive to a depth of 62 meters in the bi-fin category. His accomplishment was made possible with the support of Kaimoo Resorts and Hotels, a key sponsor and advocate for Umair’s pursuit of excellence in freediving.
Competing among 14 international participants, Umair’s performance not only secured a new national record but also surpassed his previous bi-fin category record of 60 meters by a margin of two meters.
Reflecting on the challenges of transitioning from his training in Egypt to competing in the Philippines, Umair said: “Adapting to reduced buoyancy due to warmer waters and encountering jellyfish were part of the new environment.”
This marks the third national record Umair has achieved. He previously set two national records of 62 and 64 meters in the free immersion category of free diving at the Andrea Zuccari World Cup held in Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt in October. Free immersion freediving is a discipline that requires divers to descend and ascend pulling a rope.
Umair’s switch from training in free immersion in Egypt to the bi-fin category for this tournament demonstrated his adaptability: “It felt like shifting gears, utilising distinct techniques, and returning to a more familiar discipline. This dive marks a confident depth for me, focusing not just on depth but also on refining dive times for a more enjoyable experience,” he remarked.
“Kaimoo’s support has been instrumental, offering me the freedom to train. This support has allowed me to focus on honing my skills and achieving new heights in my freediving,” Umair added.
“Umair’s third record-breaking dive this year is a testament to his exceptional skill and determination. Kaimoo is thrilled to continue supporting Umair’s journey in the world of freediving. His achievements inspire us, and we congratulate him on this impressive feat, looking for-ward to his continued success,” said Mohamed Manih Ahmed, Kaimoo’s Managing Director.
With this record-breaking achievement, Umair now looks forward to a period of rest before gearing up for the upcoming freediving season.
Kaimoo Resorts and Hotels is a leading tourism company in the Maldives that manages five properties across the country. In addition to Embudu Village and Summer Island Maldives, Kaimoo also operates Equator Village in Addu Atoll, and the Mookai Hotel and Mookai Suites in Male’.
Kuramathi Maldives and Rasdhoo Divers dive into adventure with speciality courses
Kuramathi Maldives, in collaboration with Rasdhoo Divers, is elevating the underwater experience by offering a captivating range of Dive Speciality Courses, tailored for both novices and seasoned divers alike. These courses go beyond the ordinary, immersing participants in topics such as Perfect Buoyancy, Wave, Tides and Currents, Turtle Ecology, Manta Ecology, Marine Ecology, Deep Diver Speciality, and Enriched Air Nitrox Speciality.
Perfect Buoyancy: Master the art of achieving and maintaining perfect buoyancy underwater, ensuring a seamless and enjoyable diving experience.
Wave, Tides, and Currents: Dive enthusiasts can now confidently navigate ocean dynamics, enhancing their skills in diverse underwater conditions.
Turtle Ecology: Gain insights into the captivating world of sea turtles, understanding their behavior, and contributing to their conservation.
Manta Ecology: Delve into the mysterious realm of majestic mantas, exploring their habitat, behavior, and the crucial role they play in marine ecosystems.
Marine Ecology: Discover the delicate balance of marine ecosystems and learn how divers can contribute to their preservation through responsible and sustainable practices.
Deep Diver Speciality: Embark on a thrilling adventure below 18 meters, gaining advanced skills for deep-sea exploration and mastering safe diving techniques and pressure management.
Enriched Air Nitrox Speciality: Unlock the secrets of the deep with Nitrox, ensuring safer and longer dives. Enhance your dive planning, elevate safety, and indulge in extended reef adventures.
These Dive Speciality Courses at Kuramathi Maldives are designed not only to enhance participants’ diving skills but also to instill a sense of environmental awareness and responsibility. As custodians of the pristine underwater environment, Kuramathi Maldives is committed to nurturing a community of conscientious divers dedicated to appreciating and protecting delicate marine ecosystems.
Led by certified dive instructors from Rasdhoo Divers Kuramathi, these courses provide a safe and enjoyable learning experience. Whether you are a beginner eager to explore the underwater wonders or an experienced diver looking to expand your knowledge, Kuramathi Maldives invites you to embark on a journey of discovery beneath the azure waves.
Visit Maldives collaborates with Surf Session and Kyllian Guerin to promote the Maldives as a leading surf destination
Visit Maldives has collaborated with ‘Surf Session’, a media platform dedicated to surﬁng. An exciting familiarisation trip and a digital campaign was conducted to promote the Maldives as a leading surf destination in the French market. The digital campaign was conducted on social media and the Surf Session website.
During the ﬁrst part of the campaign, a young surfer, Kyllian Guerin, accompanied Surf Session on a week-long trip where he surfed and explored the best waves of the Maldives. Ayada Maldives, Adaaran Select Hudhuranfushi, and Cinnamon Dhonveli Maldives hosted this familiarisation trip. Kyllians’ journey was captured and brand content in the form of Instagram stories, posts, articles and banners were disseminated on Kyllian Guerin and Surf Session social media platforms and oﬃcial website. As for the second part of the campaign, digital and print articles highlighted the surf lifestyle in the Maldives and were published on Surf Session website. Additionally, an exciting video of Kyllian’s journey in the Maldives was posted on YouTube, showcasing the beauty of the surf spots of the destination.
The campaign strengthened Maldives’ presence as a premium surf destination and drove excitement among Surf Session’s readership and surﬁng community. The campaign increased visibility for French surfers and further strengthened the Maldives brand in the French market. Collaborating with prestigious media like Surf Session and inﬂuential personalities like Kyllian Guerin allows MMPRC to capture the attention of potential surfers and travel enthusiasts alike, encouraging them to choose the Maldives as their preferred holiday destination. The entire campaign resulted in over a collective reach of 919,209.00.
The current ranking of France is at #8 with 41,072 arrivals as of 31st October 2023. MMPRC is consistently promoting the Maldives in the French market through various marketing activities. This year, we conducted a campaign with Vogue France and IFTM Top Resa 2023. We also plan to promote the Maldives at ILTM Cannes 2023 later this year. These marketing activities ensure the Maldives remain a top-of-mind destination for travellers from the French market.
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