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Giant oceanic manta ray cut free from nets in Maldives

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A video taken by Swiss holiday-makers at a dive site near Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives reveals a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence when they witnessed a Giant Oceanic Manta-Ray being cut free from ghost nets by their dive instructor and the resort’s General Manager who was taking a leisure dive with the guests.

Estimated to be 4m in size the Giant Oceanic Manta-Ray approached the divers as they were about to take their safety stop at 15 metres following a deep dive, as if asking for help.

A keen and frequent diver, Mark Eletr, General Manager, Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives, said the experience brought him to tears when they eventually resurfaced after the experience, “It is quite possibly the most extraordinary diving experience I will ever have.”

Mark who is a Rescue Diver and has completed more than 300 dives, explained the phenomenal interaction, “…one of the most majestic creatures came to us for help. Towards the end of our dive we were approached by an Oceanic Manta approximately 4 metres in size. As it got closer I knew something was wrong and we could see the net trailing and wrapped around its head.” he explains.

“It came quite close and was obviously looking for help. It slowed to the point where I could swim up and grab the net from behind hoping that it would pull free, but that wasn’t to be the case.”

Mark explains that despite its enormous power and the feeling of him pulling on the net, the gigantic ray decided to turn and stay with the group of divers rather than pulling him down to the depths which would have been quite risky.

“Our dive instructor, Tomoyo, who is barely five feet tall seized an opportunity to get up close and cut it free. What an incredibly brave thing to do. Tomoyo got the rescue done as the rest of us stayed our distance and managed to capture it on video,” he says.

Three guests who were on the dive witnessed this incredible experience which will undoubtedly be a story that is recounted around dinner tables for years to come.

“Scuba Diving is always an adventure into an environment that we will never control or dominate,” says Mark.

“What we saw in this experience is that careless human acts like discarding or leaving nets adrift, can definitely harm marine life and this beautiful and fragile environment.”

Mark thanked the guests Xenia S and Reto Z for the incredible raw video which documents the rescue. “People just wouldn’t believe it, if they didn’t see it.” says Mark.

According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the net that trapped the Giant Manta-Ray near Kandooma Fushi is known as a Ghost net. Simply, it’s a fishing net that has been lost or abandoned in the ocean that poses a real threat to marine life. According to the WWF, just because a net is no longer used by fishers doesn’t mean it stops working. These nets continue to trap everything in their path, presenting a major problem for the health of our oceans and marine life. Nets keep animals from moving freely, cause injury and prevent surfacing. The ghost nets are also known to harm coral reefs, breaking precious corals and blocking sunlight.

“Fortunately for us at Kandooma, it’s the exception rather than the rule to see discarded nets, we are very lucky to have such beautiful clean waters, but I think what we have experienced is a timely reminder that it is our responsibility to people and planet, to care for these fragile environments,” adds Mark.

Ghost nets like the one cut away from the Giant Manta-Ray near Kandooma Fushi are a major contributor to the ocean plastics crisis. According to a 2018 study in Scientific Reports, ghost nets make up at least 46% of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Abandoned fishing line and nets never go away.

Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma is on the doorstep to some of the Maldives Top Ten Dive Sites and the wellbeing of the ocean and all the creatures within it, is important to guests and hotel staff alike. The resort aligns its efforts with IHG’s purpose True Hospitality for Good, through their sustainability programme ‘Journey to Tomorrow’ which is the hotel group’s response to helping achieve the  UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. 

Located in the South Male atoll just 40 mins from the airport by boat, Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives is a beautiful island paradise. White sandy beaches, swaying coconut palms and turquoise waters form the backdrop for various leisure pursuits and some of the best diving in the Maldives. Guests can choose from Garden and Beach Villas, two-storey Beach Houses and the popular Overwater Villas. Families are well catered for with a choice of 2- and 3-bed villas, the Kandoo Kids’ Club, and its complete activities programme. Six food and beverage outlets ensure healthy appetites are satisfied and the flavours of the Maldives are explored. For guests who desire the ultimate relaxation, sun loungers and hammocks are located around the island. The Kandooma Spa by COMO Shambhala offers the ultimate tranquillity and escape for body and mind.

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Gear up for ride of your life with Siyam World’s first go-kart track in Maldives

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Get ready to rev your engines and satisfy your need for speed at Siyam World Maldives with the grand opening of the 205m² Speed Racers Circuit – the first-ever go-kart track in the Maldives, adding an electrifying twist and high-octane experience to the ultimate island getaway.

Siyam World, known for breaking the mold of traditional Maldivian holidays, is paving new ground with the launch of a state-of-the-art go-kart track, the Speed Racers Circuit, that comes fully equipped with 18 sleek electric go-karts and a rugged off-road course. Spanning 205m² of heart-pounding twists and turns, the track is designed to ignite your inner racer and unleash the adrenaline junkie within.

But that’s not all, with speeds of up to 35km/h, racers feel the rush of the wind in their hair as they zoom around the exhilarating course.

And when the race is over, the party’s just getting started! There is a fully stocked bar, the perfect pit stop to refuel and celebrate a victory with friends and fellow racers. After all, every great race deserves an epic after-party!

“Siyam World is all about redefining what it means to holiday in the Maldives,” said Sara Siyam, Director of Marketing. “We’re not just offering relaxation and the traditional means of a Maldivian holiday, we are committed to delivering unforgettable adventures. Our new go-kart track is just the beginning of a series of exciting, fun-filled activities that set Siyam World apart from the rest.”

Siyam World has tailored four adrenaline-pumping go-kart racing packages to suit every level from 12 years and up:

Quick Sprint Package

  • Get your adrenaline fix with 3 lightning-fast laps for just $25 per racer (up to 5 racers).
  • Perfect for those who want a quick burst of excitement and friendly competition!

The Triple Challenge Package

  • Take on 5 laps of non-stop racing action for $80 (up to 5 racers).
  • Push the pedal to the metal and test your skills with this ultimate challenge!

Family Package

  • Treat the whole family to a thrilling ride with our fun-filled package for $350.
  • Enjoy 3 lap races for families and friends, creating unforgettable memories together!

Private Championship Package

  • Go for glory with an exclusive racing event for $550.
  • Compete in a private series with 3 lap qualifiers, 5 lap heats, and a 7 lap final – complete with scorekeeping, timekeeping, and awards

The addition of the go-kart track is part of Siyam World’s commitment to provide guests with a diverse range of activities, extraordinary adventures ,and pioneering experiences that go beyond the mainstream. Whether you are a seasoned racer or a first-time driver, the go-kart track promises a rush of excitement as you zip through tropical paradise. The electric go-karts are eco-friendly and perfect for healthy competitions among family and friends.

It’s time to buckle up, hold on tight, and experience the thrill of a lifetime at Siyam World Maldives’ Electric Go-Kart Track. Book your race now and get ready to unleash your inner speed champion!

Siyam World, Maldives is located in the popular Noonu Atoll, a mere 40 minutes’ direct seaplane ride from Velana International Airport, and also accessible via a 30-minute domestic flight to Maafaru Airport followed by a 10-minute speedboat trip.

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Join Ifuru Island Maldives’ exhilarating ice, bubbles challenge

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Are You Ready? The Ice & Bubbles Challenge awaits your arrival at Ifuru Island.

Are you ready for the ultimate chill thrill of indulgence and adventure? Then put on your explorer hat and jet off to Ifuru Island for the Ice & Bubbles Challenge! Imagine: you’ll be basking in the breathtaking Maldives scenery while putting your might to the test with a 6-minute polar plunge, clutching a flute of bubbly like a boss. Once you conquer the challenge, you’ll savour the delicious bubbly and feel like a true champion!

Picture yourself lounging poolside, surrounded by swaying palm trees, white sandy beaches, and crystal-clear waters, while also pushing your endurance to the limit. And as a badge of honour, guests are gifted with a trendy Ice Bath and Bubbles Challenge t-shirt to flaunt their fearless spirit. The current record for the Ice & Bubbles Challenge is a brave 22 minutes, and we’re daring you to beat it!

Cold-water immersion can speed up your muscle recovery, reduce inflammation, and give you a boost of energy. Plus, you’ll feel like a true hero after conquering the challenge and basking under the warm Maldivian sun.

So, what are you waiting for? Rally your friends and come join us on Ifuru Island Maldives for an unforgettable adventure that’s sure to create magical memories that will last a lifetime!

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Six Senses launches Mermaid Courses in Maldives

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Six Senses Laamu and Six Senses Kanuhura in the Maldives are making waves with the launch of an enchanting underwater experience – PADI Mermaid courses.

Now, guests aged six and above can embark on a magical journey guided by certified PADI scuba dive instructors. Aspiring mermaids and mermen will be equipped with a monofin, a type of swim fin that mimics the movements of dolphins, and colorful fabric tail, mirroring the hues of the ocean. Catering to various ages, interests, and skill levels, both resorts offer a range of courses from discovery to advanced. A professional photographer is available on request to capture personal fairytale-moments.

“We’re thrilled to introduce this fun new experience to our range of underwater offerings,” says Judith Scheibelberger, PADI trainer and resident mermaid expert at Six Senses Laamu, an IHG Hotels & Resorts property. “Our mermaid courses are not only a source of fun and excitement for kids but also invite adults to tap into their imagination and reconnect with their inner child. Beyond the entertainment aspect and capturing Instagram-worthy memories, participants will also gain valuable underwater skills and learn about the awe-inspiring secrets of the sea.”

Mermaid courses join a plethora of underwater experiences available to guests at both Maldivian Six Senses resorts, including snorkeling with turtles, vibrant coral reef explorations, and exhilarating diving adventures. The resorts boasts state-of-the-art dive centers that provide comprehensive services and expert guidance.

For young adventurers, both resorts also offer the PADI Seal Team programme, catering to junior divers aged eight and above. This program allows aspiring divers to explore the underwater world safely, through the five ‘AquaMissions,’ where participants can delve down to four meters, or the introductory PADI Bubblemaker experience, tailored for children aged eight to nine, allowing them to dive down to two meters.

“These experiences not only offer a glimpse into the mesmerising underwater world but also provide an opportunity for young divers to develop their confidence and diving skills while exploring the diversity of Maldivian reefs,” says Anne Hospital, Dive Manager of both resorts.

The brand’s Grow With Six Senses programme offers all of the dimensions of wellness, providing kids with opportunities to reconnect with nature and engage with their surroundings. Through immersive experiences in local culture, wellness, sustainability and social interactions, children spark their curiosity and gain valuable life skills. At the heart of this programme are the dedicated kid’s clubs known as ‘The Den’, which serve as hubs for exploration and discovery.

At Six Senses Laamu and Six Senses Kanuhura, one standout offering is the Mermaid course, which invites children on an underwater adventure amidst stunning turquoise panoramas. On land, the activities are equally diverse, ranging from enlightening garden tours to innovative waste-to-wealth workshops and interactive junior cooking classes. These experiences are designed to provide children with valuable life skills through hands-on play, ensuring a comprehensive and enriching journey for young guests at the resorts.

Prices for the PADI Mermaid Courses start from USD 150 for a 45-minute discovery session. For bookings and further information, please visit sixsenses.com or contact reservations-maldives@sixsenses.com.

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