All kinds of Creatures…

One of the most memorable things about the Maldives, was the incredible opportunity to spot all kinds of interesting creatures.

Funny little guy
Is it a pebble, no it’s a crab?!

Shark Feeding

Every evening, at 10 o’clock, was Shark Feeding time!  Hotel guests were invited to gather on the jetty, to witness this fascinating spectacle. What amazed me was that about 10 minutes before the shark feeders emerged, dozens of Black Tipped Reef Shark and Manta Ray had already began to gather, circling the jetty in slightly menacing anticipation. Who told them it was almost 10 o’clock?  Amazing creatures!

black tipped shark
marinesavers.com

Bats

Fruit bats were a common sight, flying about the hotel grounds, and you could occasionally get quite close to them if you were lucky enough to spot one hanging upside down in a tree.

Sunset Dolphin Cruise

The Kuda Huura offered the opportunity to go out on a boat, on a Sunset Dolphin Cruise.  Apart from being a very relaxing way to spend the late afternoon, it was wonderful to witness a pod of Spinner Dolphins, performing their incredible acrobatic flips and spins!  A real joy to watch.  And sailing back to the hotel just as the sun was beginning to set  was the icing on the cake.

spinner dolphinsfuturity.com

sunset cruise 4

Swimming With Manta Ray

If you’d have told me ten years ago that one day I’d be swimming in the Indian Ocean with Manta Ray, I would never have believed you!  But every once in a while, life offers you a golden opportunity!  The Landa Giravaaru issued us with a beeper, that would only go off once a Manta sighting had been confirmed.  Some days, reportedly, it didn’t happen.  Luckily, for us, it did!   When that beeper went off, it was a case of literally abandoning your Pina Colada and making your way to the Marine Centre!  Here, we were kitted out with flippers, snorkels and goggles, and off we went on a boat to the middle of the open sea. After plucking up the courage to dive in, it was an incredible thrill!  There were so many of these mysterious creatures, which can reach up to 7m in width, swimming beneath us. They are named Manta Ray, after the Spanish/Portugese word for cloak or mantle –  When you’re swimming above them, it’s easy to see why, as they glide about gracefully in the water.

Turtle Sanctuary

As previously posted, the Kuda Huura have a Turtle Sanctuary on site, where guests can find out all about the work of the Marine Biologists, and help feed the injured turtles. Many of the turtles are amputees, with flippers missing, due to getting them tangled in ghost nets. Now and again, lucky guests will get to witness a turtle, after a period of successful rehabilitation, being reintroduced into the ocean.

turtle 3

The Maldives really is a dream destination – it’s got something for everyone.  Whether you fancy lounging in utter paradise, reading a book, or enjoying an amazing spa treatment, or whether you’re up for an adventure:  snorkelling, kayaking, or swimming with a whole host of marine creatures, it’s all here.

The Maldives really was the trip of a lifetime for me – It broadened my horizons, and gave me the opportunity to do things I would NEVER have imagined myself doing.  And isn’t that what travelling is all about?

So, when life offers you an unexpected opportunity …grab it with both hands!  You never know how much fun it might turn out to be!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Turtle Sanctuary

One of the best things about the Maldives is the opportunity to get up close and personal with all sorts of sea creatures.

The Four Seasons, Kuda Huura Hotel, a joint participant of an initiative called Marine Savers, houses its very own Turtle Sanctuary, which offers guests of all ages a chance to help feed the turtles, as well as an enthralling glimpse into the job of a Marine Biologist.

turtle sanctuary
The Turtle Rehabilitation Sanctuary

The Turtle, is one of the National Emblems of the Maldives.  These graceful creatures can live for up to 60 years.

turtle carving

Five types of Turtle can be found in the Indian Ocean:

  • Green Turtle
  • Hawksbill Turtle
  • Olive Ridley Turtle
  • Loggerhead Turtle
  • Leatherback Turtle

Sadly, many of these turtles are on the endangered species list – the Hawksbill, hunted for the beautiful markings on its shell, is on the critically endangered list (last category before extinction).

Although fishing with nets is not permitted in the Maldives, sometimes discarded nets, known as “ghost nets” can drift on ocean currents from neighbouring countries.  These ghost nets attract turtles, (and other marine creatures) who end up entangled in them.

ghost net
Ghost Net

Most of the turtles that are housed at the Kuda Huura Sanctuary have been found by locals or visitors, caught up in ghost nets, which do irrepairable damage to their flippers.

The rescue centre work hard to carefully remove the netting, often having to amputate one or more flippers.  The turtles are weighed, fed and cared for on a daily basis until, hopefully, they are strong enough to be re-released back into the wild.

turtle 3turtle 2

You can watch a turtle being released, and find out more about the interesting work of the Marine Conservationists at http://www.marinesavers.com & www.oliveridleyproject.org