Turtles in Laamu – safe and protected – again

Building upon the success of Laamu’s first ever inter-island Turtle Festival in 2016, the entire community recently came together for the second Laamu Turtle Festival. The event took place on the local island of Gan, and was jointly organized by the Gan Island Council, Laamu Atoll Police Department and Six Senses Laamu. This year’s theme was once again Turtles in Laamu – Safe and Protected, aiming to raise awareness about the importance of sea turtles and providing a platform for community engagement about greater marine conservation.

The festival brought together one resort, two NGOs, three local businesses, four government agencies, 10 island councils, 12 schools, and upwards of 1,000 people to pledge Turtles in Laamu – Safe and Protected. All seven species of sea turtles are on the endangered species list, mostly due to human pressures such as harmful fishing practices and plastic pollution. Laamu Atoll is lucky to have large populations of both Green and Hawksbill turtles, however, poaching of turtles and their nests still occurs and it was agreed that everyone in the community needs to stop this practice from happening.

President of the Gan Island Council Shiyam Ahmed, and Laamu Atoll Police Commander Sultan Bishar welcomed everyone to the festival and introduced the day’s activities. There were educational stalls and games aiming to raise awareness about these marine animals and why it is critical that people do not harm them, as well as cultural performances, contests and prizes, food, music, ensuring everyone had lots of fun!

The guest of honor, Abdul Gafoor Ali, known as Gabbe, was the first Maldivian to sail around the entire country in a catamaran, in efforts to raise awareness for the conservation of the marine environment. He emphasized the necessity of improved waste management when he said, “If we want to protect turtles, the first thing we need to do is protect their habitat. When I sailed across the Maldives I saw a lot of trash in our beautiful ocean. In Kureli Kandu, the channel between Laamu and Meemu Atolls, I capsized my catamaran and had to be in the water for four hours. There were so many plastic bags, bottles and caps in the sea, I almost cried. It is our duty to reduce our waste to protect our marine habitats and save our marine life.”

To ensure the festival’s important messages are conveyed every day of the year, the Blue Marine Foundation team painted their fourth wall mural in Laamu, and called on all attendees to pledge their protection of turtles by signing it and recording a video pledge. Now, every time someone passes by the festival site, they’ll see the wall full of reminders that Turtles in Laamu are Safe and Protected.”

Marteyne van Well, general manager of Six Senses Laamu added, “Last year in Maavah, the festival was such a great success that it wasn’t a question of whether we could hold another one, but more of a question of when we could hold it. Our aim is to, year on year, increase our positive impact in Laamu and maintain efforts as a community to protect turtles. Last year, students from five schools in Laamu attended the event and today we have students from 12 of the 13 schools, so clearly we have achieved our goal.”

About Six Senses Laamu

Six Senses Laamu is the only resort in the Laamu Atoll, deep in the Indian Ocean, surrounded by a beautiful coral house reef. Most of the villas and facilities are built overwater, however beach villas and on-land dining is an option. All villas offer a sense of privacy and seclusion, with an amazing view of the Ocean and Maldivian nature.

Six Senses Laamu offers a wide range of dining options, with cuisines from around the world, an ice cream parlor, an overwater wine cellar and a signature Chill bar.

Many activities, excursions and options are available for everyone to enjoy, both overwater and underwater, in addition to the Six Senses Spa.

About Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas operates 11 resorts and 30 spas in 20 countries under the brand names Six Senses, Evason and Six Senses Spas.

Six Senses resorts are set in locations of incredible natural beauty that will stop you in your tracks, and an uncompromising level of service that will stay with you long after you’ve left. Each property has a distinctive personality, but shares a commitment to community, sustainability, wellness and design. This award-winning approach extends to new openings, including the urban concept premiering in New York in 2019.

Six Senses Spas incorporate local healing traditions with holistic rejuvenation treatments administered under the guidance of expert therapists and visiting practitioners. They constantly explore and rethink the typical spa model to offer pioneering wellness, not only in all resort spas, but also in standalone spas in prestigious hotels and premier class lounges.

Evason properties continue the philosophy to protect their natural environments and cultures. Family friendly, these properties also provide a strong value focus, while offering a vast array of personal guest experiences.

Six Senses Laamu Celebrates World Turtle Day

In July 2016 the Resident Marine Biologists at Six Senses Laamu implemented a new code of conduct on how to sustainably snorkel and dive with turtles, ensuring that every encounter is a positive interaction and that it does not affect the natural behavior and movements of the turtle. With this in mind, they began compiling a database of turtle sightings from the dive and snorkel sites around the Laamu Atoll, via a simple photographic identification process.

Today, on World Turtle Day, Six Senses Laamu celebrates the identification of 100 different Hawksbill turtles on the atoll’s reefs.

This identification process allows the Marine team to closely monitor the population of both Green and Hawksbill turtles in the surrounding waters. Due to key members of the team being both dive and photography enthusiasts there are available sighting records dating back as far as 2013. Of the 800+ total sightings, only 240 are of Hawksbills. The most re-sighted Hawksbill is Mia with 20 sightings.

Hawksbill turtle exploring the pinnacles of the house reef, Six Senses Laamu
Hawksbill turtle exploring the pinnacles of the house reef, Six Senses Laamu

Hawksbill turtles are located worldwide and are easily distinguished from other sea turtles by their sharp curving beak and serrated edge to the rear of their shell. Like all sea turtles they spend the first 20 or so years of their life in the open ocean feeding predominantly on jellyfish. Therefore when they come to live in coral reef habitats they change their diet, and start feeding on sponges, algae, coral, and small crustaceans instead.

Hawksbill turtles are listed as Critically Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. This is partly due to their shell being used for thousands of years for decoration purposes, but in the 1900s their population was estimated to drop by 80 percent. As air-breathing reptiles turtles are at great risk of drowning in fishing gear. In addition to this, with jellyfish as their main food source in the open ocean, plastic pollution is a major problem. In the present day, they are protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) but much is still needed to conserve populations.

Six Senses Laamu aims to increase awareness of turtles and conservation measures to protect them and the habitats in which they live. Hawksbill turtles play a key role in the coral reef ecosystem. There are few animals that eat the fast-growing sponges due to the toxins in their tissue; therefore they allow coral and other species to colonize and grow in the gaps they create. This maintains diversity throughout the reef ecosystem.

Guests diving or snorkeling on the surrounding reefs are encouraged to take photos of turtles they come across and if they find a newly spotted turtle, they may get a chance to give it a name.

Farm to pool at Six Senses Laamu

Six Senses Laamu features an organic garden where 40 different herbs, vegetables, salad leaves and micro-herbs are grown. Chef Martin and his culinary team have teamed up with the gardeners to create a daily-changing menu, entirely based on fresh and organic ingredients, served by the pool at Sip Sip.

The menu features a different starter, salad, pizza and dessert every day for guests to choose from. “The idea is to offer guests an additional healthy set of light dish options to enjoy by the pool with locally sourced ingredients. Everything is prepared simply with no addition of processed or modified foods,” says Martin, executive chef.

Chef Martin shares one of his favorite, so far, Farm to Pool recipes for Six Senses Laamu Garden Salad.

Mixed lettuce
Baby spinach
Micro herbs
Three carrot slices
Sliced red radish
Four avocado slices
Lemon Juice
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Flaxseed cracker

Wash and picked lettuce, spinach and micro herbs.
Make the dressing by mixing lemon juice, salt and pepper, slowly pour the olive oil.
Dress the lettuce and avocado, arrange in the bowl, garnish with micro herbs and flaxseed cracker.

For the flaxseed crackers

50 grams golden flaxseed
60 ml water

Pour the water over the flaxseed, mix and stir thoroughly.
Leave to sit for 10 to 15 minutes, stir regularly until the mix becomes thickened.
Spread the mix thinly over one dehydrator tray and score lightly with a spatula.
Dry for 12 to 36 hours.

From all the Farmers and Chefs at Six Senses Laamu: Meerukon’ Kaalacchey (Bon Appétit).

Chefs and gardening team working together, Six Senses Laamu
Chefs and gardening team working together, Six Senses Laamu

 

Six Senses Laamu Garden Salad, Six Senses Laamu
Six Senses Laamu Garden Salad, Six Senses Laamu

Six Senses Laamu is the only resort in the Laamu Atoll, deep in the Indian Ocean, surrounded by a beautiful coral house reef.

Most of the villas and facilities are built overwater, however, beach villas and on-land dining is an option. All villas offer a sense of privacy and seclusion, with an amazing view of the Ocean and Maldivian nature.

Six Senses Laamu offers a wide range of dining options, with cuisines from around the world, a swimming pool with a sunken bar, an ice cream parlor, an overwater wine cellar and a signature Chill bar.

Many activities, excursions and options are available for everyone to enjoy, both overwater and underwater, in addition to the Six Senses Spa.

About Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas

Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas operates 11 resorts and 29 spas in 20 countries under the brand names Six Senses, Evason and Six Senses Spas. Aggressive development plans will triple the portfolio over the next five years with the resort, hotel and spa openings underway in Austria, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Egypt, Fiji, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Nicaragua, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and the United States.

Six Senses operates resorts in far-flung locations of incredible natural beauty known for their distinctive and diverse design personalities. Each of the nine properties is supported by a leadership commitment to community, sustainability, wellness and design. Six Senses hotels which share the same vision and values found at their award-winning resorts will premiere in urban locations in 2019.

Six Senses Spas offers a wide range of holistic wellness, rejuvenation and beauty treatments administered under the guidance of expert therapists. Six Senses Spas are located in all Six Senses and Evason resorts; 18 additional standalone spas are located in prestigious hotels and resorts as well as the premier class lounges of two major airports.

Evason introduces a collection of two unique resorts that follow the Six Senses philosophy of uncompromised responsibility to sustainability and to the community. Family friendly, these properties also provide a strong value focus while offering a vast array of guest services and personal attention.

Six Senses Laamu Maldives

Just an inter-island plane trip from Ibrahim Nasir International Airport and a short boat ride brings you to a place where dolphins swim. Six Senses Laamu is a combination of on-land and over-water villas constructed of sustainable materials and set around the palm-fringed paradise.

At several lounges and restaurants, chefs from East and West prepare mouthwatering dishes, many created from produce grown in the island’s organic gardens.

Amra Palace Hotel and Spa

Built in 2013, Amra Palace Hotel and Spa is a distinct addition to Maldives Islands and a smart choice for travelers. From here, guests can enjoy easy access to all that the lively city has to offer. With its convenient location, the hotel offers easy access to the city’s must-see destinations.

Offering hotel guests superior services and a broad range of amenities, Amra Palace is committed to ensuring that your stay is as comfortable as possible. While lodging at this wonderful property, guests can enjoy car hire, airport transfer, meeting facilities, currency exchange, bicycle rental.

Guests can choose from 20 rooms, all of which exude an atmosphere of total peace and harmony. Whether you’re a fitness enthusiast or are just looking for a way to unwind after a hard day, you will be entertained by top-class recreational facilities such as private beach, fishing, garden, diving, children’s playground. Amra Palace is a smart choice for travelers to Maldives Islands, offering a relaxed and hassle-free stay every time.

23 new hotel properties set to open end of 2016 in the Maldives

Following the recently launched integrated resort development project, the government of the Maldives plans to kickstart the guest house concept by planning to 23 new hotel properties in three and four star sector, with 2100 beds.

water villa concept rendering
Water Villa concept rendering

The aim is to attract moderately affluent guests to the island nation from different regions of the world.

The project work is set to begin at the end of the year on Thumburi and Hulhiyandhoo island.

The hotel complexes is estimated to complete by the end of 2016, with a connecting bridge between the two islands.