THE AQUALFILES ASIA
Liquid luxury lovers are always looking for new ways to peel back the ocean’s mysterious layers. Trouble is, they all seem to involve getting soaked, fighting your way into a wetsuit or butting against the limits of human speed, lung capacity and temperature sensitivity.
The Four Seasons Maldives Landaa Giraavaru is the first resort in the world to launch DeepFlight Adventures, a submarine excursion for up to two guests (plus a pilot) to explore the Maldives’ only UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Baa Atoll. The DeepFlight Super Falcon 3S features individual viewing domes so passengers can enjoy 360-degree views of this incredible underwater world, reaching depths up to 37 meters (120 feet). The battery-powered vessel produces minimized electric and acoustic emissions, so the sub glides unobtrusively through the turquoise blue waters, over reefs and alongside teeming schools of fish or marine mammals. The hour-long DeepFlight Adventures excursion is the latest, most enviable way to immerse yourself in the breathtaking majesty of the Indian Ocean – no bathing suit required.
World renowned for its pristine beaches and breathtaking array of blue hues, the Maldives is home to some of the richest coral reefs in the world; a safe haven for many threatened species, including the world’s largest population of reef manta rays. Manta and devil rays, known collectively as mobulids, are some of the most beautiful, fascinating and enigmatic creatures in our oceans. Landaa Giraavaru is just 20 minutes from one of the world’s most renowned manta ray hotspots – Hanifaru Bay. Every year between June and October, the lunar tides and monsoon currents trap high concentrations of plankton in the bay’s steep side, attracting manta rays and whale sharks from all over the Maldives.
Mantas are some of the largest and most intelligent animals in the sea, reaching up to seven meters in width and weighing up to two tons. Their complex behaviors set them apart from other fish, but much of their lives remain a mystery.
Formed in 2011, the Manta Trust is a UK- and US-registered charity that coordinates global mobulid research and conservation efforts. The Trust’s expert team is comprised of a diverse group of researchers, scientists, conservationists, educators and media experts. The mission? Working together to conserve mobulid rays, their relatives and their habitats, through a combination of research, education and collaboration.
The Manta Trust’s conservation efforts now extend across the globe, but the Maldives is where it all started. Founded by Senior Marine Biologist Dr. Guy Stevens, the Maldivian Manta Ray Project (MMRP) is the charity’s flagship research project. After more than a decade of research across this island nation, together with the support of Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru and Save Our Seas, the MMRP has amassed the largest number of identified manta rays on record anywhere in the world, combining new discoveries with active conservation and education.
Despite their colossal presence, mantas are gentle creatures. They have the largest brain of all fish, and their intelligence and curiosity make encounters with manta rays a truly magical experience. Four Seasons Maldives aims to excite, educate and spark action through a greater understanding of these legendary marine wonders.
When you sign up for the Manta-on-Call service, you’ll be contacted immediately when manta rays are sighted near the resort. Once you get the call, you can hop on a speedboat to embark on an unforgettable adventure with experts from The Manta Trust. If you love to get wet, take a swim with these gentle sea giants or free-dive into the Indian Ocean to observe them in their natural underwater habitat.
Determined to stay dry? You can still see it all from the luxurious comfort of the DeepFlight Super Falcon’s personal pressurized – and air-conditioned! – cockpit. Passengers also enjoy real-time ray educational commentary from the knowledgeable pilot throughout the tour. (Unconfirmed whether or not The Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine” features in the journey.)
Sources: The Manta Trust; Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru
Photo: Water Villa with Pool: Ken Skeet; Four Seasons Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru
Photo: Two-Bedroom Water Suite, Four Seasons Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru; Photographer Ken Seet
Photo: DeepFlight Super Falcon 3S, Four Seasons Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru; Photographer Don Riddle