Island nature walks at Constance Halaveli

Renowned marine biologist Robin Aiello writes from Halaveli.

Island nature walks at Constance Halaveli

Island nature walks at Constance Halaveli

It is so wonderful to be back here at the beautiful Halaveli for the next month or so. Arriving back on the island was like returning home – no wonder so many guests return time after time to this island paradise. The weather has been perfect since I arrived, with light sea breezes, clear blue skies and spectacular sunsets.

Guided Island Nature Walks

This time, the General Manager, Renato Chizzola, and I have another new project to develop – a Guided Island Nature Walk of the coastal plants and animals. It is a fun-filled 45-minute stroll along the beach edge. It starts with a bit of beachcombing – looking for those elusive ghost crabs that dart to and fro, the charismatic hermit crabs that scurry along carrying snail shells on their back, and of course all those pretty little shells that come in so many shapes and colours.

Snails and shells

It is amazing what you can tell about a shell by its shape. The long tapered, pointy snail shell, like cone shells, olive shell and Turritellidae have a shape perfect for burrowing just under the surface of the sand as they hunt their food. As they move through the sand, the constant abrasion serves to keep the shell polished, which is why the shells are always so smooth.

But snails with larger bulky rounder shells with spikes, like the whelks and conchs, do not live under the sand. Instead they live on top of the reef, so need the spikes and thick shells for protection from snail-eating fish. They also have larger, rounder openings (called ‘apertures’) than the pointy shells – this is to make room for their big muscular ‘foot’, that snails use for crawling. These snails need an extra strong one for holding onto the reef so they do not get picked off by fish, or washed away by waves or currents.

Predatory snails

Sometimes you will find shells with perfectly round little holes drilled into them. Ever wonder who did that? Believe it or not, a snail makes these holes! Some predatory snails, particularly moon snails (naticids), use a specially modified ‘tooth’ (called a radula’) to drill through the hard shells of snails and clams. To soften the shell as they drill, they secrete sulphuric acid into the hole. Wow – such high-technology in such small animals! Once the hole is drilled, the snails stick their proboscis through the hole and start eating.

We have a lot of fun on this walk picking up different shells and being able to tell where they live, what they feed on, who might have eaten them.

The Guided Nature Walk continues along the shore-side looking at the coastal plants. These too, have special adaptations for living in such a sandy, sunny, dry environment. Some have wax-covered leaves to trap in moisture, while others have thin leaves that hang down to avoid the direct sunlight.

And, nearly every tree here can also be used for survival if you were stranded on a remote island in the tropics.This will be the topic of my next blog – so stay tuned.

Marine Biologist, Robin Aiello

Marine Biologist, Robin Aiello

About Robin

An honours graduate from Harvard University with a degree in Evolutionary Biology and Geographical Sciences, Robin Aiello has made her 30 year career travelling to the farthest corners of the globe as a marine biologist, expedition leader, lecturer and dive master.

With expertise ranging from the Indian Ocean to West Africa to Antarctica, including animals as diverse as polar bears, sea turtles and sea birds her depth of knowledge is simply incredible but she has a concentration on tropical coral reefs and shark conservation, perfect for an introduction to Halaveli.

She has over 25 publications, has won both the EcoWarrior and Earth Ambassador Awards.

Robin Aiello at Halaveli

Robin is with us at Halaveli for you to ask any question you may have.

Join us Monday, Thursday, or Saturday nights for one of her riveting lectures – please see your Daily Sun for exact times and topics.

Learn to play golf on a luxury holiday

Seize the opportunity on a luxury holiday with Constance to discover what it is that makes millions of people worldwide so passionate about golf.

Luxury golf holidays at Constance

Luxury golf holidays at Constance

Whether you’ve been inspired by watching McIlroy, Rose and Woods on TV or just fancy joining your friends in a friendly game, a luxury holiday is the perfect time to take the plunge and learn to play golf.

Golf in the Indian Ocean

At Constance Belle Mare Plage, Constance Le Prince Maurice and Constance Lémuria we have golf pros on hand to introduce you to the sport and teach you the basics to get you started.

And you don’t need to worry about investing in equipment as all resorts have a range of golf equipment available to rent as you discover the game for the first time.

Marc Farry Golf Academy, Mauritius

Learn from the very best at the Marc Farry Golf Academy at Belle Mare Plage and Le Prince Maurice where you will get to try out your new grip, posture and swing on two 18-hole championship golf courses.

Based on the teaching method created by championship French golfer Marc Farry, the specially selected golf pros will take you through a series of courses that will leave you feeling confident to take up the game when you get home.

The Legend, Constance Belle Mare Plage

The Legend, Constance Belle Mare Plage

Lémuria, Seychelles

Professionals are also on hand at the stunning, terraced landscape of the golf course at Lémuria, the only 18-hole golf course in the Seychelles.

Book your games before you travel

You can even take the plunge and commit yourself to trying something new before you arrive at the hotel or resort by booking your tee-off times and coaching online with our online concierge.

Apres-golf

After all that exertion on the greens you’ll deserve some serious rest and relaxation and what better way to unwind than with a ‘Golfer’s Tonic’, a treatment specially designed to ease the muscles of golfers in our Spa de Constance.

Or if you have fallen so in love with the game that you don’t want to leave the greens why not enjoy a chilled glass of champagne at one of the club house restaurants to celebrate your new passion.

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Trends 2013: adventure honeymoons

Adventure honeymoons are the latest trend for newlyweds according to travel writer for the Huffington Post, Jane Anderson.

Sailing at Constance Belle Mare Plage

Sailing at Constance Belle Mare Plage

In her blog, Anderson explains the popularity for adrenalin-packed adventure honeymoons saying many couples are experienced travellers before they marry so are looking for new experiences to make their honeymoon ‘special’.

Combine thrills and romance at Constance

Create a honeymoon that perfectly blends the romance of a luxury 5* island getaway with a rush of adrenalin-fuelled excitement at Constance Hotels and Resorts.

Whether you want to start your married life off with a shark dive, a zip line adventure through tropical forests, pitting your wits against the mammoths of the ocean in big game fishing or exploring the Indian Ocean by torchlight on a night dive, Constance delivers in spades.

Scuba diving

Qualified instructors at all our hotels and resorts can teach you how to dive and then take you out to explore the stunning reefs and marine life of the Indian Ocean.

Even experienced divers will feel the rush of trying a night dive for the first time or joining a shark dive at Constance Moofushi and Constance Halaveli. For keen swimmers a night-time snorkel excursion is also available at Halaveli.

Rock climbing at Constance Ephélia

Rock climbing at Constance Ephélia

Rock climbing and mountain biking

Learn rock climbing on the challenging granite climbing walls at Constance Ephélia before zip lining back down to earth through the rich Seychelles’ foliage.

Combine the romance of exploration with the thrill of mountain biking in Mauritius and the Seychelles with bikes available at Constance Belle Mare Plage, Constance Lémuria and Ephélia.

Sailing and out at sea

Or if you’ve been inspired by the recent adrenalin-pumping action of the America’s Cup, then you can sail on a catamaran. Fly fishing, night fishing and kite surfing also feature.

Start your married life together with the thrill of adventure and start striking a few things off your bucket list.

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World-renowned marine biologist at Halaveli

Discover the secrets of the deep, learn about mantas and whale sharks and then swim alongside them under the guidance of celebrated marine biologist Robin Aiello.

Diving at Constance Halaveli

Diving at Constance Halaveli

Harvard graduate and shark and reef specialist, Robin Aiello is back at Constance Halaveli so guests can enjoy a fascinating range of guided dives, snorkel excursions, nature walks and lectures.

Winner of both EcoWarrior and Earth Ambassador Award and author of over 25 publications, Robin will share over 25-years experience studying the oceans of the world with Halaveli guests from now until 24 October 2013.

Treats for guests include:

  • Guided dives – including whale shark excursions
  • Snorkel excursions – swim with turtles and manta rays
  • Talks about local marine life – subjects include everything from crabs, starfish and urchins to whale sharks, octopus and squid
  • Guided island nature walks – see for yourself the geology which created our beautiful island, discover how early settlers survived here and meet some of the local inhabitants such as the ghost crabs
  • Kids’ Club – Robin will join the kids’ club for fun talks and marine discoveries

Throughout her stay at Halaveli, Robin will be happy to meet up and chat with guests about the fascinating marine life around Halaveli.

Check availability

Don’t miss this rare opportunity to explore the stunning North Ari Atoll of the Maldives together with one of the world’s leading experts in her field.

For more information on availability at Halaveli, visit our website.

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Read some of Robin’s absorbing guest blogs from her last visit to Halaveli

Top 5 reasons to go to the Seychelles

Indulge in a luxury winter getaway to the Seychelles this year and swap short, cold days of the northern hemisphere for those spent soaking up warm sunshine. Temperatures average 29–31ºC with up to seven hours of sunlight a day. Here are our top reasons to go the Seychelles this year.

Relax on the beach at Constance Ephélia

Relax on the beach at Constance Ephélia

1. The perfect time to explore the ocean

Throughout October and November the winds are at their calmest around the Seychelles creating the kind of calm waters and clear visibility – up to 30 metres – that divers dream of. Water temperatures average between 27–29ºC.

A special treat for divers between October and January are sightings of the gentle giant of the ocean – the magnificent whale shark.

2. Big game fishing

Because of the calmer waters this is also the ideal time to fish the teeming waters of the Seychelles. Pit your wits against Yellow Fin Tuna, Wahoo, Barracuda, Blue Marlin and Sailfish in conditions perfect for this high-octane sports fishing.

3. Experience one of the miracles of nature

October to February is turtle-nesting season in the Seychelles when the rare, endangered hawksbill and green turtles return to the same beaches – including the beach at Constance Lémuria on Praslin – to lay their eggs.

Take a trip to Bird Island in December and January and experience one of the only places where the hawksbill turtle can be observed nesting during the day.

4. Celebrate Creole culture at the Festival Kreol

A turtle nesting at Constance Lémuria

A turtle nesting at Constance Lémuria

The capital of the Seychelles, Victoria, has been nominated the capital of the Creole World. To celebrate the town holds an annual festival in November which attracts Creole people from across the world.

As well as food stalls, music and dancing, this year’s festival will be celebrating Creole music with a ‘serenade march’ through the streets of Victoria. Local Creole stars will sing as the procession of dancers and spectators moves through the town.

5. Constance in the Seychelles

For the ultimate Seychelles getaway, Constance Lémuria on the small island of Praslin is a tranquil paradise with access to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches.

Constance Ephélia on Mahé is a family-friendly luxury holiday resort, offering a raft of activities and set into the stunning scenery of the Port Launay National Marine Park.

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Visit our website to find out more about Constance Lémuria and Constance Ephélia 

Fowler triumphs at French Riviera Masters

Australian golfer Peter Fowler jumped from 11th to second place on this year’s European Senior Tour Order of Merit with a win at the French Riviera Masters.

Peter Fowler triumphs at the French Riviera Masters

Peter Fowler triumphs at the French Riviera Masters

The win, a stunning come back from being four shots back at the beginning of the final round at Terre Blanche Hotel Spa Golf Resort, was Fowler’s first European Senior Tour victory for two years.

The prize money of €60,000 puts Fowler just behind current Order of Merit leader Paul Wesselingh, making him a realistic contender for the John Jacobs Trophy awarded at the MCB championship at Constance Belle Mare Plage in December.

Fowler previously won the John Jacobs Trophy two years ago with two victories and 11 top ten finishes, with only four events remaining in this year’s European Senior Tour he is on track to repeat that success in 2013.

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