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Marine Savers at Four Seasons Resorts Maldives: Beyond plastic

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At Four Seasons Resorts Maldives, marine conservation and plastic reduction has been a serious topic for nearly 20 years.

All Four Seasons resorts in Maldives — Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru, Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa and Four Seasons Private Island Maldives at Voavah — have used reusable terracotta toiletry bottles since 1998; paper straws since 2010; reusable glass water bottles since 2012; and have been collaborating with Parley since 2016 to recycle any leftover plastic into sportswear.

But the battle against plastics is just the tip of the resorts’ on-site conservation efforts.

With more than 99 per cent of the Maldives comprising water (and some 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris polluting the world’s oceans) the team sees the effects of human negligence more than most, from heart-breaking, all-too-common scenes of marine life trapped in ghost nets or dying from ingesting plastic debris, to the devastating effects of rising sea temperatures on corals, which protect the islands from erosion.

Enter Marine Savers. Four Seasons’ team of 10 full-time marine biologists – ably assisted by interns and apprentice in conjunction with local environmental agency, Reefscapers (formerly Seamarc), the Maldivian Ministries of Environment and Energy, Fisheries and Agriculture, and the Environmental Protection Agency – have been running some of the Indian Ocean’s most pioneering conservation projects since 2010 from two Four Seasons-based Marine Discovery Centres.

It’s hands-on collaboration at its life-changing best. Each project has an interactive element to inspire guests and locals (through community outreach programmes) to participate in their future and legacy: from days spent as a manta ray researcher to coral frame planting, Junior Marine Savers experiences and wildlife monitoring dives.

To date, the centres have: rehabilitated and returned 155 sea turtles back to the wild; transplanted more than 7,000 coral frames to boost ailing reefs; identified more than 1,500 turtles and more than 350 cetaceans; created 40 fish tanks, eight larvae tanks and two plankton reactors to help replenish ocean life; hosted hundreds of local school children on awareness days; rehomed six non-releasable Olive Ridley turtles (dubbed “The Flying Turtles”) into overseas oceanariums as ambassadors for the plight of their species (with one since returned and released back to the wild); and undertaken two decades of research and conservation in the areas of fish breeding, coral transplantation, satellite tracking, nest protection, manta ray protection and more.

Here is an overview of the key projects undertaken by Marine Savers.

The Maldivian Sea Turtle Conservation Programme

This government-endorsed initiative first sees Marine Savers working with local islanders to encourage turtle nest protection.

The majority are released straight away with any weak or deformed hatchlings taken back to Kuda Huraa’s Hatchling Rehabilitation Centre to improve their chance of survival in the wild. Some are released with GPS tags to assist with migration and population research.

In addition, the launch of the Sea Turtle Morpho Evolution Project at Kuda Huraa in 2017 uses facial recognition software to chart a turtle’s evolution via its unique facial scales and scutes.

Turtle Rehabilitation Centre

Marine Savers take in injured turtles from all over the Maldives for rehabilitation. Some have been hit by boat propellers; many have buoyancy issues or have ingested plastic; most have been entangled in discarded “ghost” fishing nets.

Thanks to generous donations from guests, the Rehab Centre has successfully rehabilitated and released 155 sea turtles back to the wild.

Highlights of a decade of work include the creation of two sea-based pools to provide a larger space for turtle rehab; the fitting of the Maldives’ first prosthetic turtle flippers; the discovery of “Indra,” a very rare turtle – thought to be a green-hawksbill hybrid – displaying green turtle head features and a hawksbill turtle’s scale shape and serrated carapace; and the historic “Flying Turtles” initiative (permanent overseas rehoming for turtles unable be released into the wild).

Reefscapers and Coral Propagation

In early 2000, in the wake of the 1997-1998 El Nino bleaching event, Thomas Le Berre, founder of Reefscapers, began challenging marine conservationists’ dismissal of coral propagating and artificial reefs, and approached Four Seasons Kuda Huraa about coral protection. The resort was already experimenting with reef balls, and a pioneering partnership was born.

Four Seasons Reefscapers project is now one of the most successful of its kind in the world, featuring the Indian Ocean’s largest mass of artificial reefs: more than 500,000 pieces of 40 species of coral transplanted onto 7,000 coral frames in the waters around Landaa Giraavaru and Kuda Huraa.

The project is propelling further research into the strengthening of artificial reefs to withstand future bleaching events, and is developing a pioneering AI Catamaran, using robotics and artificial intelligence to improve monitoring efforts.

Four Seasons guests can transplant their own reef and watch it grow via photo updates on the Marine Savers website.

The Fish Lab and Anemone Mapping

One of the Fish Lab’s main priorities is to teach aquaculture to local Maldivians with a view to supporting eco-label aquarium trade (adhering to strict sustainability standards as opposed to the irresponsible removal of fish from the ocean).

This is particularly important in the case of Maldivian clownfish – unique to the Maldives and therefore more vulnerable to extinction. To help preserve these Nemo-like fish, the team also map and monitor the Baa Atoll anemone population, and have released more anemones populated with Maldivian clownfish from the Fish Lab to increase the wild stocks.

The Fish Lab also has breeding programmes for Clark’s anemonefish and seahorses.

Dolphin ID Project

Marine Savers dolphin biologists go out with guests at least four times a week and take pictures of dolphins to first assess population sizes in North Male Atoll (Kuda Huraa) and Baa Atoll (Landaa Giraaavru), and second to help estimate the local abundance and variety of marine mammals, including spinner and bottlenose dolphins, short fin whales and false killer whales.

The aim is to use the information to start building a mammal population map and expand the knowledge of local mega fauna beyond these two atolls through an extended network of Maldives-based marine biologists.

The Manta Trust

Since 2005, Landaa Giraavaru has been home to the Maldivian Manta Ray Project – the founding project of The Manta Trust.

Representatives from the world’s leading manta ray charity can be found at both Landaa Giraavaru and Kuda Huraa studying these graceful oceanic ballerinas.

Their research has helped to identify the population of Maldivian reef manta rays as the largest in the world (some 5-6,000 individuals) as well as unravelling many mysteries surrounding migratory routes and life history strategies; the discovery of a previously unknown oceanic manta population in the south of the country; and the contribution to landmark protective legislation for mantas and their direct relatives not only in the Maldives but globally.

Beyond plastic prevention and marine conservation, Four Seasons Resorts Maldives also bottle their own water, use eco-friendly laundry and cleaning products, and have ecologically sound sewage treatment plants, water restrictors and energy saving technology among other initiatives.

Combining innovation, wellness and conservation, Four Seasons Resort Maldives Landaa Giraavaru is a 44-acre, 103-villa wonderland in the Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve — a 30-minute seaplane flight from the main Velana International Airport.

Its sister property, Four Seasons Resort Maldives Kuda Huraa lies to the south: an enchanting garden island complete with Island Spa sea sanctuary and Tropicsurf coaches and guides. It features 96 thatched beach and water accommodations constructed by local craftsmen using indigenous materials and techniques to reflect a true sense of the Maldives.

The luxury catamaran Four Seasons Explorer connects the two properties via three, four and seven-night cruises, plus private leisure, surf and manta ray charters.

The latest addition to the Maldives collection, Four Seasons Private Island Maldives at Voavah, Baa Atoll opened in 2016 as the group’s first exclusive-use private island: off limits to everyone else, limitless to the guests.

To discover more about marine conservation, plan a getaway with Four Seasons by emailing reservations.mal@fourseasons.com or call the Central Reservations department of Four Seasons Resorts Maldives at tel: (960) 66 00 888.

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Live for Family Fun in a Tropical Easter Bliss at Angsana Velavaru: A Sun-Kissed Adventure for Families

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Angsana Velavaru, an all-inclusive premium resort in South Nilandhe Atoll, Maldives welcomes guests, especially families to indulge in the beauty of a tropical Easter celebration.  The sun-soaked beaches, azure sea, and delightful surprises create the perfect setting for an unforgettable experience for every member. 

On 30 March, the day begins with enchanting Bird Feeding session, Sand Sculpture display and an immersive Marine Talk, allowing guests to connect with the rich marine life surrounding the resort.  As the sun sets, guests can enjoy a Sundowner to Remember at Azzurro Restaurant and Bar, Funa Restaurant or Kuredhi Pool Bar, with the mesmerising Soul Serenade from Beatus Band.  Guests are invited to indulge in a delectable Mongolian Buffet Dinner at Kaani Restaurant, and cap off the night with the lively White & Green DJ Party at Kuredhi Pool Bar.

Sunday, 31 March promises a day filled with excitement, as Morning Melodies with Beatus Band sets the perfect tone for a day of Easter festivities.  Guests can engage in morning Water Aerobics, participate in Palm Leaves Weaving, and contribute to marine conservation with a Coral Planting activity.  The culinary delights continue with International and Pasta Buffet Dinners, offering a gastronomic journey of flavours.  Cap off the evening with a Sunset Dolphin Cruise, featuring bubbly and canapés against the stunning Maldivian sunset.

Designed exclusively for children, the Ranger’s Club hosts delightful Easter-themed activities.  Little ones can unleash their creativity with Easter Card Decoration and Eggs-travaganza Cookie Creativity.  The Kids Mixology Session 101 adds a touch of fun.  The Easter Bunny arrival on Sunday and the Egg Hunt promise excitement for the youngest members of the family.  

Beyond the traditional sun, sand, and sea experience, the resort curates a list of “101 Things To Do.” 

From water sports to wellness retreats and cultural excursions, guests can immerse themselves in a diverse array of activities, ensuring a holiday filled with excitement and discovery. View the complete Easter Brochure.

Part of Banyan Group, an independent, global hospitality company with purpose, Angsana Velavaru is a vibrant tropical getaway offering 79 private villas, all with beach frontage, and a cluster of 34 InOcean Villas.  

Escape to Angsana Velavaru this Easter for a tropical paradise celebration, where joy, sun, sea, and surprises converge to create cherished moments and lasting memories. 

Visit Maldives Resort Packages & Specials | Angsana Velavaru.  For further queries and reservations, contact Reservations-Velavaru@angsana.com or +960 676 8464.

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Prime Surf Season in Maldives: Niyama Welcomes Back Surf Pro Brad Gerlach and Surf Photographer Junior Gracia

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At Niyama Private Islands Maldives, surfing is a way of life. And with peak surf season fast approaching, two renowned surfies – Wave-Ki founder and instructor Brad Gerlach and whiz-behind-the-lens Junior Garcia – are set to take up residence.

Niyama Private Islands Maldives is the ultimate surf destination. Guests can jet in with their boards or get fully outfitted at the Rip Curl boutique, set up camp in one the specially outfitted surf villas, then hit the waves – including Vodi, a powerful and sometimes hollow wave that breaks right on shore. Afterwards, chill time awaits at the Surf Shack with rum and reggae, or at Drift Spa with a recovery back massage and sunburn-soothing aloe vera wrap.

In residence 10 March – 20 April to offer his revolutionary method of coaching is Brad Gerlach, the world’s #2 in 1991 after dominating the leader board for the majority of the year. He is the founder of Wave-Ki, a land-based method to perfect surf skills favoured by pros like Parker Coffin, with a martial art-like focus on slow, precise movements which create kinaesthetic motor memory for improved surfing once in the water.

There to capture guests mid-wave will be photographer Junior Garcia, at the resort 8 March 8 – September 30. Originally from Brazil, and now based in Bali, Junior has spent his life chasing the ultimate wave and the ultimate shot.

“The return of Brad and Junior to Niyama is epically exciting,” says Nathan Kemp, Surf Development Director at the resort. “Their unrivalled talents, combined with the perfect surf conditions and absolutely incomparable backdrop that is the Maldives, guarantees an unforgettable experience for all who will be staying with us during this time”.

While surfing in the Maldives can be enjoyed year-round, peak season runs from March to November. Brad can be booked for private or family coaching, first on land (USD 249) then in the water (USD 447). There will also be regular group land sessions (USD 74). Packages include a year’s access to Wave-Ki online, with video lessons, live sessions and Q&As, plus the option of one-on-one virtual coaching. Sessions with Junior begin at USD 249 per hour, or USD 489 for a week.

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Bunny hop to an Easter playground at Hard Rock Hotel Maldives and SAii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by Hilton

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Easter is the calm before the storm, the perfect time to jet off for a memorable family holiday before the summer rush floods in. Balmy, warm beaches, long spells of sunshine, colourful reef and glimmering lagoons must be on the top of your agendas for this Easter especially with the incredible line up of festivities and events lined up at Hard Rock Hotel Maldives and SAii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by Hilton.

Easter here is a very special holiday filled with energy and enthusiasm for adventure-making for the toddlers, teenagers, adults, or grandparents (or all of them). The secret ingredient to it all is embedded in the brand ethos itself.

Kid-Friendly, Teen Approved, Roxity Kids Club ™ & Teen Spirit ® Club for This Easter

Who says grown-ups get to have all the fun? Kids need a place where they can have an adventure that’s exclusively theirs. Hard Rock Hotel Maldives signature, kid-friendly hangouts are part of an adult-free zone, each with its line up of exciting Easter activities. Start your day with the Bunny Dance Fitness session at the Pool Deck, where you can groove to the rhythm and get energized for the day ahead. As the sun sets, join the Easter Sundown Ritual, a harmonious celebration of the holiday spirit against the perfect tropical sunset backdrop.

Indulge in a Mexican dinner at The Elephant and The Butterfly, accompanied by live band performances that will set the stage on fire. The family favourite Easter Pool Party, is a must try on the list where you can make a splash and enjoy the beats of the Bunny DJ I-MJAN. For the little ones, there is plenty of fun with Roxity Mini Fun Fair, Easter Bunny Cookie Making, and the Roxity Easter Egg Hunting. For the ultimate thrill-seekers, take on the Easter Limbo Challenge at the Pool Deck or try your hand at the Bunny Silk Climbing Aerial Class at The Stage. With live music, delicious dining experiences, and exciting activities for all ages, Easter at Hard Rock Hotel Maldives promises to be an unforgettable melody of fun and excitement.

Koimala & Maalimi’s Junior Beach Club and Camp’s SAiiSational Easter Line-Up

Celebrate Easter with a touch of heartfelt charm at SAii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by Hilton. Start your day with a snorkeling house reef tour, where you can explore the vibrant underwater world of the Maldives. Join Saii Lagoon for Aqua Zumba and Water Polo at the Beach Club Pool, perfect for guests of all ages to enjoy some fun in the sun. Unwind with a cocktail-making competition and pool volleyball, promising exciting prizes for those who participate. For aspiring chefs, the SAii Master Chef Competition sets the perfect stage, where they can showcase their culinary skills and win fantastic rewards.

As the day winds down, indulge in the Easter Dinner Buffet at Tera and Mray, offering a delightful dining experience with live music. With its relaxed atmosphere and genuine hospitality, Easter at SAii Lagoon Maldives promises to be a truly SAiiSational experience, where every moment is a chance to reach out to the blue and embrace the beauty of the island.

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