Best of the Maldives: Coral Pops – Summer Island

Summer Island - Coral pops

Look For Circles Day today. Not too difficult in the Maldives which essentially is entirely comprised up of hundreds of of white trimmed green dots speckling the ocean. Even in its vibrant aquatic world, circles abound from massive platters of Table Coral to gently gliding Turtles. But Summer Island’s lagoon might be about the best place to celebrate today with their innovative reef generation project:

  • “Diverland Maldives will deploy a CORAL POP, planted with 3-4 pieces of living coral fragments on the Summer Island’s house reef. These broken pieces of coral have been collected around reefs in the North Male Atoll. With the CORAL POPS we are building protection for aquatic life and protecting Summer Island’s beaches against erosion.”

The project evoked the expansive “Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red” installation at the Tower of London. And at $5 a piece for guests to plant their own Coral Pops, Summer Island has set a new bar for affordable Reefscaping.

Best of the Maldives: Budget Reefscaping – Shangri-La Villingili

Shangri-La Villingili - reef scaping 1

Mothering Sunday today will see lots of blossoming plants given to cherished mums across the British Isles, but Shangri-La Villingili has a gift you can give Mother Earth at a very reasonable price. An eco-planter for the “earth” that makes up the vast majority of the Maldives isles.

Instead of larger wire mesh frames, Villingili’s reef regeneration uses smaller blocks of concrete. They don’t cut the coral grafts, but collect broken coral. They then affix these to small blocks with epoxy and set them in the lagoon for about 18 months after which they are moved to the outer reef.

The resort hosts coral planting 10:30 am every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday for a mere $25 (compared to what is often hundreds of dollars for sponsoring coral frames).

The small price doesn’t mean small scale. Activity leader Yawlng Wong took me through the presentation they give to the guests about the program which illustrated how popular and expansive the results have been. I’ve shared a few of both the photos and the informative diagrams below…

  • Overall objective: To develop a hard coral nursery to provide a continuous supply of cultivated corals derived from broodstock
    • Coral culture in nursery from initial fragmentation of wild colonies / ‘corals of opportunity’ collected
    • Ongrowing of broodstock to become the source for all fragments to be planted in rehabilitation operations
    • Encourage guest participation in coral program

 

Shangri-La Villingili - reefscaping 2

Shangri-La Villingili - reefscaping 3

Shangri-La Villingili - reefscaping 4

Shangri-La Villingili - reefscaping 5

Shangri-La Villingili - reefscaping 7

Shangri-La Villingili - reefscaping 8

Best of the Maldives: Largest Coral Frame – Kurumba

Kurumba - frame

 

Kurumba is the unsung hero of Maldives house reefs. It has always been one of my favourite house reefs. We have snorkelled it many times and *every* time see so many critters especially of the infamous “Snorkel Safari Big 5”. We also spot many distinctive smaller creatures (like the baby Zebra Eel my wife watched for ages).

One of the primary reasons why it is underrated is its relatively weaker coral growth. But this past month, the resort embarked on a *big* Reefscaping project to help rejuvenate the coral to be as vibrant as the marine animals. In fact, they laid down the biggest coral frame in the country to date…

“A team of volunteers joined forces with Kurumba staff on Wednesday (December 17) to rescue corals from a land reclamation project and help create the largest coral frames in the Maldives. Thanks to the efforts of the team two massive 20ft coral frames packed with transplanted coral have been created on the house reef at Kurumba. The two adjacent frames are the largest of their kind in the Maldives and together form a new 40ft-long coral garden.”

Kurumba puts the “Big” into “Big 5”.

 

 

Kurumba - frame 2

 

Kurumba - frame 3