Ever wondered what’s going on underneath the sparkling Maldives ocean? From mammals to molluscs, the marine life that inhabits the Maldives water is diverse and is held together by oceans coral reefs.
These coral reefs provide an ecosystem for life underwater, protect coastal areas by reducing the power of waves hitting the coast, and provide a crucial source of income for millions of people.
Did you know that coral reefs are one of the most valuable ecosystems on the planet?
They are capable of producing half of the oxygen we breathe or creating the biggest structure made by living organisms that can be seen from space. Their complex tridimensional structure harbours the biggest amount of marine species per unit area when compared to other marine ecosystems.
It is like a small busy city where other animals and plants find shelter, food, or a partner to mate.
Coral reefs also support fishing and tourism industries, protect the shoreline and help fight climate change, among other key functions.
The most effective measure to safeguard these ecosystems and all the organisms that depend on them is the establishment of marine protected areas (MPAs).
Besides, the development of coral restoration projects worldwide, like the one in Constance Moofushi, contributes to this regard at a local scale.
The coral restoration project at Constance Moofushi started at the end of 2017 in partnership with Reefscapers, the leading coral restoration company in the Maldives.
The target is to help restore the natural coral reefs surrounding the island by growing corals on iron frames. The type of growing form used for the project is the branching type. This type grows faster and it is easier to collect than the massive one.
The small coral pieces are attached to the bars of the frames with cable ties and generally start growing after a few weeks. In approximately three-years’ time, and if no major events disturb the corals (for instance, a wave of coral bleaching), the whole structure will be covered by colonies, which then become the new source for more coral planting.
The frame becomes part of the natural reef but pieces of colonies can also be detached from it and placed back onto the degraded reef.
Guests visiting the resort are the main sponsors of the project. Purchasing the frames and attaching the corals before placing them in the water. All this of course under the supervision of our resident marine biologist in charge of the conservation project.
The small monetary benefits of the project are reinvested. For instance, planting more frames into the sea, inviting specialists in the field to the resort or organising a coral conservation day for local kids.
Moreover, the project has also a small social component because the frames are constructed in a local island called Fulhadhoo in Baa atoll by fishermen. Currently, there are 135 frames in the water divided into two main areas: the drop-off and the arrival jetty.
Have you seen any of these coral restoration projects during your travels?
How long does it take for corals to recover?
When corals are stressed, for instance, if the temperature of the ocean rises, they can turn white (bleaching). The reason for this change is the loss of the microscopic algae living inside of them (zooxanthellae) due to the stressful conditions.
Zooxanthellae are not only responsible for the amazing colours of the corals but provide most of the food corals need to survive and grow. The survival of coral reefs depends on their resistance to bleaching, tolerance to survive a beaching event and the level of recovery they display.
Every coral colony has a different set of genes and is surrounded by different environmental factors; hence, it becomes very difficult to predict the outcome from a bleaching event.
Nowadays, the biggest problem is the increased frequency of bleaching events due to climate change, combined with other stressing factors such as ocean acidification or water pollution. If the stressor is removed in a short period, corals are potentially capable of uptaking new algae and survive.
But if the stressor stays for a long time, it becomes hard for corals to go back to normal and survive.
Even if they survive a bleaching event, the overall health and capacity of the reef to reproduce is hindered.
Some experts point out that after following a major bleaching event, it takes around 5-10 years for corals to fully recover.
But as mentioned above, this is quite difficult to predict and it can never be assured it will come back to the previous state.
It may be a long road ahead, but let’s do all we can to help these corals bloom back into their prime condition.
Does coral need sunlight to grow?
Many corals, including all the reef-building corals (those capable of creating the living limestone structures called coral reefs), have microscopic unicellular algae (like “small plants”, called zooxanthellae) living within their tissues in a very successful relationship know as symbiosis. Both organisms benefit from it, with the algae finding shelter in the body of the coral and the coral getting food and oxygen from the algae.
We must remember that all plants (including the algae) photosynthesise, a process by which they absorb carbon dioxide and nutrients to build up sugars and release oxygen.
Since algae need sunlight to do the photosynthesis and survive, we could say that indeed corals need light too. The most interesting fact is that the algae cover almost 70 per cent of the coral needs. Hence, without this relationship between them, there would be no coral reefs in the world.
This also explains why corals thrive in poor waters low in nutrients. Corals get the rest 30 per cent of the food by sieving seawater with their tentacles. We don’t know about you but our mind is blown!
What’s the rarest coral?
In 2010, during an underwater survey in the remote North Pacific, specifically in the Arno atoll in the Marshall Islands, scientists discovered what could be the world’s rarest coral.
It looked very similar to the critically endangered Elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata) of the Atlantic Ocean, but genetic analyses made clear it was the Pacific Elkhorn coral (Acropora rotumana).
This species had not been spotted in over 100 years and it could be the same once described in Fiji islands in 1898, but no reliable data was gathered at that time.
If you spot this coral, make sure you get a snap of it!
What’s the role of Constance Moofushi’s marine biologists?
The marine biologist at Constance Moofushi, Estrella Gonzalez Tapias, manages the coral restoration project, gives four talks a week on marine life in the Maldives with a focus on conservation (manta rays, sea turtles, whale sharks and coral reefs), leads twice a week “Introduction to Moofushi reef”, and a presentation on marine life of the surrounding reefs.
She also takes guests on guided snorkelling trips to spot as much marine life as possible, joins as many whale shark trips as possible to enhance the guest experience and answer questions. She is also always around to meet guests and exchange knowledge with them.
So be sure to ask her any marine questions you have!
Estrella and Constance Moofushi’s team are also working on a number of projects. These include starting their own sea turtle database, to study the cetacean population near Moofushi, publishing their own guide to the reefs with photographs or broaden the resort’s collaboration with local NGOs such as Olive Ridley Project or Manta Trust! Talk about a dream job!
Have you ever been part of a coral restoration project? Are you feeling inspired to explore more of the ocean?
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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