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.
In 1998 more than 90 percent of shallow coral reefs in the Maldives died when El Niño raised sea temperatures by 4°C. It was enough to stress the coral and to release the microscopic algae that give them their kaleidoscopic colours, so the reef bleached. The coral has regenerated significantly since suffering from the bleaching event; however future temperature fluctuations threaten its survival.
Anantara’s coral reef adoption programme launched in 2010 to accelerate regeneration and strengthen our surrounding reef ecosystem. In the years since, the project has continued to evolve and expand, while always allowing guests to leave a positive mark on the reefs by sharing in our efforts.
Many of Anantara’s guests love joining in the reef creation project by adopting a coral frame. Three different frame sizes are available for adoption:
Take part in the Coral Adoption Programme by transplanting coral onto your frame with the help of our resident Marine Biologist in the shallow waters of the lagoon. This area is shallow enough to perform the operation with a mask and snorkel. Once the coral has been attached, the frame is moved to its new permanent home in the lagoon.
Make a return trip to these idyllic Maldivian islands to see how much the reef has grown.