Nature's underwater world in the Maldives
While the Maldives is famous for its swaying palms, sunshine and sugar-white beaches, its underwater world is equally, if not more, spectacular. Nowhere within this strand of over 1,000 coral islands is more than six feet above sea level. Yet the archipelago's rich and colourful reef systems descend to depths of over 50 metres, making it a scuba divers' paradise. However, the Maldives' underwater creatures are not restricted to divers as guests can witness turtle hatching at Vilu Reef Beach & Spa Resort or spot resident manta rays and a variety of dolphins at Olhuveli Beach & Spa Resort, all of which can be seen from dry land, boat or jetty!
Located in South Nilandhe Atoll in the far south of the Maldives, Vilu Reef Beach & Spa Resort is a tiny, remote island with a thriving turtle population due to its narrow, gently shelving beach. Both green and hawksbill turtles return year after year in February and March to lay hundreds of eggs on the sand. The attentive staff ensure the nests are protected from predators before the waiting game begins. Incubation can take just over a month and any nature-loving guests who happen to visit at the right time are welcome to watch the hatchlings run to the sea in the moonlight.
A short speedboat ride away from the capital Malé, in the South Malé Atoll, Olhuveli Beach & Spa Resort is larger than Vilu Reef. With an impressive floodlit jetty, Olhuveli is home to several manta rays, which feed on the plankton attracted by the lights at night. The end of the jetty is a favourite spot for couples and also a lovely quiet place for stargazing, or even for a proposal! In addition, sting rays and eagle rays are spotted virtually all year at Olhuveli and can often be seen in the shallow lagoon around the water villas or while doing watersports such as canoeing and stand-up paddle-boarding (SUP).
In addition to manta rays, spinner dolphins and bottlenose dolphins can also be found in the channels near to Olhuveli. Lucky guests can occasionally catch a glimpse of a dolphin from the luxury of their water villa. But for a more reliable photo opportunity, the resort offers a regular dolphin cruise in which huge pods of dolphin can be seen flipping over and chasing the boat.
Destinology (destinology.co.uk) is offering a seven-night twin-centre package to Vilu Reef Beach & Spa Resort and Olhuveli Beach & Spa Resort in the Maldives from £1,899 per person. Valid for selected departures in March and April, the price includes return flights from Gatwick with British Airways, four nights' accommodation at Vilu Reef in a garden villa and three nights' accommodation at Olhuveli in a deluxe room, on a half-board basis, resort seaplane and speedboat transfers, taxes and surcharges.
For more information on Vilu Reef Beach & Spa Resort visit vilureefmaldives.com.
For more information on Olhuveli Beach & Spa Resort visit olhuvelimaldives.com.