Beneath the shimmering waters that surround the island archipelago of the Maldives’ South Malé Atoll, a fragile world quietly rebuilds itself.
Coral reefs protect the pristine beaches at Anantara Dhigu, Anantara Veli and Naladhu Maldives and guard the islands’ crystal-clear lagoon. They also support an astounding array of tropical fish, crustaceans and bizarre-looking molluscs.
However, for all of its beauty and apparent resilience, coral is a sensitive organism, vulnerable to extreme weather and sudden environmental changes. In our commitment to protect the environment, Anantara initiated the Coral Adoption Programme. We invite our guests to participate in this long-term project, by planting coral in our reef nursery and following its growth with photo updates or return visits.
Coral reefs support a vast array of marine life and contribute to the livelihood of millions of people worldwide. As a nursery, home and supermarket for fish of all shapes and sizes, reefs are an important resource to protect for the future health of the ocean. These living barriers also act as a natural defence against beach erosion and wave destruction. Without reefs, island archipelagos like the South Malé Atoll would eventually disappear.
Experience the rich biodiversity of these undersea habitats with a visit to our island home. Swim, snorkel or kayak above reefs that shelter large-mouthed groupers, brightly-coloured parrotfish and the occasional moray eel. As you glide through their aquatic environment, watch closely for the unmistakable shape of the spotted eagle ray or try to spot a giant clam, the world’s largest bivalve.
Count the anemones, starfish and sea urchins. Look for butterflyfish nibbling on coral. Follow a school of brightly-coloured damselfish across the reef. Step into the crystal-clear water from your Over Water Suite and let the ocean’s current carry you to countless new discoveries.
Surrounded by the vast ocean, the Baa Atoll, like the rest of the country, is vulnerable to extreme weather conditions. In 1998, the Maldives lost almost all its shallow coral reef when sea temperatures increased by 4°C, causing the to release the microscopic algae that creates their kaleidoscopic colours and bleaching the reef.
The coral has been regenerating since this event, but temperature fluctuations are still a cause for concern.
In 2010, the resident Marine Biologist created coral gardens and attached coral to iron frames under the Over-Water Pool Villas, joining an arrangement that to resemble the ‘A’ in Anantara.
Environmentally friendly and designed to promote the flow of water and nutrients, the frames are covered in sand to encourage coral to grow faster than it would naturally.
Participate in the ongoing conservation effort at Anantara Kihavah Villas by adopting a coral frame. Three different frame sizes are available for adoption:
Take part in the Coral Adoption Programme and, with the resident Marine Biologist’s help, transplant coral onto your frame in the lagoon. This area is shallow enough to do this with a mask and snorkel. Once completed, the frame is moved to its new permanent home in the lagoon.
Make a return trip to our idyllic Maldivian island to see how much the reef has grown. Look on from the jetty or jump in and explore the lagoon by following an easy yet rewarding snorkelling trail.