Anantara Kihavah Villas are offering an array of unique aquatic experiences – including encounters with manta rays and the house reef ‘The Golden Wall’ – with their Ocean Discovery Package.
“Last year’s migration to Hanifaru Bay in Baa Atoll was particularly exciting,” says Joseph Lassus, Anantara Kihavah Villas resident Marine Biologist. “According to reports from the Manta Trust research team based in Baa Atoll, when the mantas arrived in May last year, there were more sightings of pregnant mantas than in the last 10 years. We noticed this as well with the mothers getting bigger as the season progressed. With a pregnancy term of 12 – 13 months, this means that this year we can expect to see a lot of baby mantas in Hanifaru Bay. Already on a recent snorkelling trip we came across a new born pup, which is really quite rare to see, roughly measuring 1.2 metres from wing-tip to wing-tip.”
With no previous snorkelling experience required, tours depart three to four times a week from Anantara Kihavah Villas. The tour guides scout the spots where mantas frequent, usually in Hanifaru Bay or in nearby currents where plankton and krill swim. Once in the water, snorkellers are then treated to an amazing underwater ballet whereby giant mantas glide and somersault in mesmerizing patterns. The mantas often swim within centimetres of snorkellers, always managing to avoid contact at the last second. On any given day visitors to Hanifaru Bay can see anywhere from a couple of mantas to more than a forty depending on plankton levels.
At Anantara Kihavah Villas itself, the house reef has become known by the local divers as ‘The Golden Wall’. Joseph explains, “The beauty of this dive site results from the incredible amount of sedentary life forms inhabiting the wall, completely covering its steep surface, edges and overhangs. This provides an immense variety of habitat to many local species of fish, lobsters, sea stars etc. The area is clearly dominated by wide spread colonies of soft corals, these being of many different species displaying a huge range of colours, such as the orange, magenta or mauve spiky soft corals and cauliflower soft corals. To have this quite literally on our doorstep means an amazing dive no matter what the conditions are. Among all the bright colours displayed, the particular presence of yellow and golden coloured variations make it clear to any diver why this reef is best called The Golden Wall and a ‘must dive’ reef when in the Maldives.”
Anantara Kihavah Villas is 35 minutes by seaplane from Male. The Ocean Discovery Package for two persons is bookable online and includes five nights’ accommodation in a Beach Pool Villa or Over Water Pool Villa, daily buffet breakfast, and both guests enjoy a Dolphin Discovery excursion, a Turtle Quest or Manta Ray Snorkelling excursion, a choice of one Scuba Dive or one Scuba review course, a 30 minute Seabob water sport experience and a local island visit.
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