By Lauren Jade Hill
With its abundance of marine life, the Maldives’ Lhaviyani Atoll is celebrated worldwide for having some of the world’s best dive sites within its borders. Turtles, sharks and barracuda can be seen in these crystal clear waters, along with clouds of tropical fish such as butterflyfish and Napoleon wrasse. But perhaps most extraordinarily, the atoll is also home to an abundance of Manta Rays, which feed on the especially nutrient-rich waters. With Lhaviyani Atoll as its idyllic setting, Hurawalhi Island Resort places the focus on protecting this environment and marine life, while integrating it into the experience guests have.
Over 400 individual Manta Rays have been seen around the island, many of which were just a few meters away from the resort. With a great understanding of how important this marine life in, the resort plays an active role in studying and rebuilding the underwater environment of this region, with a Marine Biology Center on the island that’s dedicated to this purpose.
Led by marine biologists from the Manta Trust and run in collaboration with Prodivers Maldives, the Marine Biology Center conducts research on the atoll’s Manta Ray population, while also studying the coral reef ecology. To enable guests to get involved, the center then runs workshops and expertly guided trips to explore the underwater environment here, which with bountiful Manta Ray, dolphins, turtles and reef sharks, as well as over 200 species of coral, is known locally as The Aquarium.
Through these one-on-one experiences, guests are afforded an immersion into this integral aspect of the archipelago, while making a contribution to the preservation of the environment during their stay and assisting in the marine biologists’ work towards defining the Manta Rays’ migration patterns. While staying in one of the resort’s over-water or beachfront villas, this new Manta Ray experience offers an immersion into nature, showcasing just how special this part of the world is.