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Vibrant, enchanting undersea world awaits guests at Seaside Finolhu

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Having recently undergone extensive renovations and upgrades as part of an elaborate transition from luxury Maldives resort to proud member of the exclusive Design Hotels portfolio, Seaside Finolhu’s bold new design concept is described as a kaleidoscope of colours that are inspired by the vibrant hues of the island’s natural wonders.

While guests will find this kaleidoscope concept brought to life in splashes of colour throughout the resort when it reopens on October 1, nowhere is the spectrum of living colour more evident than when they venture beneath the waves to explore the stunning flora and fauna of the nearby reefs.

Enjoying a prime location in Baa atoll’s UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Seaside Finolhu offers an idyllic base from which to explore the reserve’s sheer diversity and abundance of underwater life, some of which is found nowhere else on the planet.

Under the expert guidance of the resort’s professional and highly knowledgeable dive centre team, guests at Seaside Finolhu can explore the Baa atoll’s most enchanting sites on small group tours or private excursions that can be individually designed to optimise the guest experience through the centre’s Dive Butler.

The options available to guests include diving, snorkelling and even a semi-submersible boat for those who want to stay dry. Guests can also engage in a spot of sport fishing in designated areas and under the close supervision of the dice centre team.

In addition to the vibrantly coloured corals, the reefs of the Baa atoll teem with a wide diversity of marine life, some of which are extremely rare or even unique to the area. While the reefs are home to an array of exotic fauna, there are also some exciting visitors which come from the open ocean to breed or eat in the shallow waters of the Baa atoll.

Sea turtles

The green sea turtle is the most commonly sighted sea turtle in the Maldives.

Although these beautiful marine reptiles spend their lives out at sea, they breathe air and lay their eggs on land. After the baby sea turtles hatch, they can frequently be found swimming in the shallow reefs and lagoons of the Baa atoll.

In addition to seagrass and algae, green turtles also enjoy the occasional jellyfish. Unfortunately, they have been known to die after ingesting discarded plastic bags which can look just like jellyfish drifting in the water.

As an endangered species, sea turtles are protected in the Maldives where their friendly and curious nature make them a favourite among tourists and locals alike.

Eagle ray

Another very popular visitor from the deep ocean is the white-spotted eagle ray, which comes to the shallow waters of the Baa atoll in large schools to feed on invertebrates such as clams, shrimps, oysters, and worms.

Growing up to three meters in wingspan and five meters in tail-length, these ocean giants can often be seen cruising close to the surface making them easy to spot even from a boat.

One of the most spectacular sights in the Maldives is when these majestic creatures remove parasites by breaching and then slapping down on the surface.

Under the water, they are graceful and fast swimmers.

Although white-spotted eagle rays have a defensive venomous barb at the base of the tail, they pose no danger to divers or snorkelers as they are quite shy and easily frightened.

Blacktip reef shark

In addition to these visiting ocean giants, there are also a few large creatures that call the Baa atoll home.

Named for their distinctive black fin tips, the blacktip reef shark spends much of its life in and around the reefs feeding on smaller reef fish. They can grow up to 1.8 metres in length but pose no danger to humans.

Juveniles can often be seen using the Baa atoll’s shallow lagoons as a nursery ground before venturing out into deeper waters.

Moray eel

The most common of the 40 species of eels in the Maldives is the giant moray eel.

Growing up to 2.4 metres in length, only their black-spotted heads are generally visible poking out of rocky coves from where they ambush shrimps, fish, octopus, and even smaller eels.

Although generally shy and peaceful creatures, they will use their extremely sharp teeth to bite if they are provoked.

Clark’s anemonefish

One of the most colourful inhabitants of the Baa atoll reefs is the Clark’s anemonefish.

Closely related to the clown fish and with similar colouration, these small fish get their name from the anemones in which they make their home. The stinging tentacles of the brightly coloured anemones provide protection for their small lodgers as part of a symbiotic relationship that also benefits the anemone.

Clark’s anemonefish can grow up to 14 centimetres and their markings depend on the type of anemone in which they make their home.

Peacock mantis shrimp

One of the more elusive occupants of the Baa atoll reefs is the peacock mantis shrimp.

Although they can grow up to 18 centimetres in length, they can be difficult to spot as they make their home between the rocks and will only leave to hunt for clams and oysters in the surrounding area before quickly returning to their burrows.

As they scurry over the reef tops, however, they are easily distinguished by their bright green colour and curious, high stalked eyes.

“Most of these beautiful animals can be seen year round while snorkelling and diving at Finolhu,” explained Dive Butler Finolhu’s Senior Diving Instructor Tom Zimmer.

“However, we are world famous for manta rays roughly between the months of May and October.”

Anyone interested in seeing these unique megafauna in large numbers should plan their trip for this time, although the sheer diversity and abundance of marine life in the Baa atoll’s UNESCO Biosphere Reserve means there’s never a bad time to visit.

As Zimmer adds, “Whenever you come, you’re sure to enjoy your diving experience here at Finolhu with our expert team of instructors and the five-star luxury service.”

Famed for its long white sandy beaches and spread across four islands, Finolhu has 125 beachfront and overwater villas (more than half with private pool) and four restaurants.

While popular with honeymooners, the expansive resort is also very family-friendly, with a kids’ club and a wide choice of fun activities. Finolhu also includes world-class wellness facilities and is famous for its entertainment.

Owned and managed by Seaside Collection, a Europe-based hotel group with an exclusive portfolio of high-end resorts and city hotels, Finolhu embodies the Seaside Collection’s criteria of quality, style, and holistic hospitality concepts.

Finolhu, which is a direct translation of sandbank in the local Dhivehi language, is located in Baa atoll, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in the Maldives.

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Catch the wind with Kitesurfing World Champion Youri Zoon at COMO Cocoa Island

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Embark on an exhilarating kitesurfing odyssey from May 6th to 20th, 2024, at COMO Cocoa Island alongside Youri Zoon, celebrated for seizing the kitesurfing world championship twice. Under his seasoned guidance, amplify your kitesurfing prowess, whether you’re a neophyte craving the fundamentals or a seasoned aficionado striving for intricate manoeuvres and airborne thrills.

Kitesurfing merges windsurfing, surfing, and wakeboarding for a dynamic water sport. Using controllable kites, riders harness wind power to glide across the ocean’s surface while being set against the backdrop of endless horizons and azure waters.

Throughout his residency, Zoon will conduct guided kitesurfing sessions, offering novices a gentle introduction to the sport or empowering veterans to elevate their abilities. Additionally, Zoon will host enlightening COMO Conversations, delving into his personal journey to kitesurfing eminence and the obstacles he surmounted along the way.

Guests may arrange activities with Zoon at their leisure, with plenty of time to make the most of our private island comforts, from massage treatments at COMO Shambhala to sandbank dinners under the stars and more.

Hailing from the Netherlands, Zoon’s affinity for kiteboarding burgeoned at the tender age of 13. A prodigious talent, he swiftly amassed accolades, securing victories at the Junior European Championships and Dutch Nationals in his inaugural year. Subsequently clinching the world title in 2011 and 2012, Zoon’s enduring passion for the sport fuels his ongoing commitment to mentorship and coaching, ensuring his legacy endures both on and off the water.

Nestled within South Male Atoll, COMO Cocoa Island beckons discerning travelers with its intimate enclave of 33 overwater villas. Renowned for its iconic Dhoni Water Villas, which pay homage to Maldivian maritime heritage, this idyllic retreat offers a sanctuary of tranquillity and indulgence. Accessible via a scenic 40-minute speedboat journey from Velana International Airport, COMO Cocoa Island promises an unrivalled blend of luxury and seclusion.

For details on COMO Hotels and Resorts or to plan your next escape, please visit https://www.comohotels.com/cocoaisland.

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Sheraton Maldives hosts successful second season of Full Moon Futsal Cup

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Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa celebrated the culmination of the highly anticipated Full Moon Futsal Cup on March 31, 2024. The tournament, which commenced on March 17th, brought together 12 teams from neighboring resorts in Malé Atoll, fostering a spirit of friendly competition and camaraderie.

SO/ Maldives emerged victorious after a thrilling final match, securing the coveted title of Full Moon Futsal Cup Champions 2024. Mohamed El Aghoury, General Manager of Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa, presented the winning team with the Championship trophy and gold medals during a closing ceremony. Additional prizes, medals, and certificates were awarded to recognize the exceptional talent displayed by all participants.

“We are honored to have hosted and participated in such a vibrant tournament,” Mohamed El Aghoury commented, reflecting on the event’s success. “The Full Moon Futsal Cup celebrates not only sportsmanship but also fosters strong bonds within the resort community.”

Throughout the tournament, all teams showcased exceptional skill, determination, and teamwork, captivating spectators and fellow competitors alike. Notably, Sheraton Maldives’ own associate teams, Team Sheraton and Team Furana FC, participated with commendable spirit.

This involvement aligns with Marriott International’s Associate Resource Groups (ARGs) initiative, which prioritizes fostering an inclusive workplace where employees feel valued. The participation of the Young Professionals ARG team specifically exemplifies the group’s dedication to community building, skill development, and mentorship. The tournament provided a platform to spotlight the energy and potential of young professionals, promoting their growth and contributing to the organization’s future success.

Extending beyond a sporting event, the Full Moon Futsal Cup embodies the values of unity, friendship, and healthy competition. This aligns with Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa’s commitment to fostering community connections and Marriott International’s TakeCare philosophy, which emphasizes the importance of physical well-being among associates.

The Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa extends its sincere gratitude to all participating teams, supporters, sponsors, and organizers who contributed to the resounding success of the Full Moon Futsal Cup 2024. The resort eagerly anticipates continuing this tradition of sporting excellence and camaraderie in the years to come.

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Dive into memorable underwater adventure with Baros Maldives’s Eco Explorer Experience

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In today’s world, where the fragile balance of marine ecosystems teeters on the edge, to call for sustainable tourism practices resonates louder than ever. Baros Maldives, deeply rooted in its respect for nature, leads the way in conservation and preservation. Baros’s Eco Explorer Experience stands as a testament to the island’s commitment, inviting guests to not just observe but to actively contribute to the safeguarding of our underwater sanctuaries.

Nestled on a lush, natural island paradise, Baros is a sanctuary surrounded by a kaleidoscope of marine life, boasting a world-class house reef, celebrated for its unparalleled beauty and biodiversity, attracting adventurers and nature lovers alike.

The Eco Explorer Experience is a carefully curated immersive experience designed for those who seek to delve deeper into the mysteries of the ocean. This experience is more than an adventure; it’s a journey of discovery and contribution, offering intimate encounters with the marvels of the sea, all while promoting marine conservation.

With this experience, Baros guests enjoy a myriad of enriching activities, culminating in a bespoke photobook documenting the essence of their Eco Explorer journey beneath the waves.

Coral Restoration and Conservation: Participants will immerse themselves in coral ecology, by planting personal coral gardens under the guidance of Baros’s resident Marine Biologist. This hands -on experience not only fosters coral growth but also contributes to the restoration of these vital habitats. Through the Coral Cube initiative, guests will apply innovative techniques like using fast plug cement to build thriving underwater ecosystems. The Baros marine team will share bi-annual updates with the guests so that they can follow the growth of their corals.

Marine Life Identification: This educational session equips guests with the knowledge to identify different fish species and understand their vital roles within the marine ecosystem. Equipped with snorkelling gear and new insights, guests will explore Baros’s world- class house reef during a snorkelling tour, guided by the resident marine biologist, to witness the vibrant marine life.

Night Snorkelling and Bioluminescence: As night falls, the reef reveals a different kind of beauty. With UV lights, guests will explore this nocturnal wonderland, observing the reef’s inhabitants in a new light. This magical experience is not only enchanting but also educational, offering insights into coral health and the ecosystem’s delicate balance.

Baros recognises the fragility of the marine environment and is committed to fostering sustainable tourism practices. The Eco Explorer Experience is more than a holiday activity, it’s an invitation to become part of a larger movement, advocating for the protection and preservation of our marine environments.

Join the Baros marine team on this extraordinary journey. Together, dive deeper, explore further, and unveil the boundless wonders of the ocean, ensuring they remain vibrant for generations to come.

For bookings and more information, please visit www.baros.com or contact Baros directly at reservations@baros.com or call +960 664 26 72.

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