Marine biologist Robin Aieilo at Halaveli

Marine biologist Robin Aieilo reports on her latest diving adventures at Constance Halaveli.

Octopus at Constance Halaveli, Maldives

Octopus at Halaveli

I can’t believe that my month on Halaveli is already over. How sad! The last week, like all the others, was full of adventure and fun. The diving seemed particularly good with wonderful sightings of sharks, manta rays and, with the full moon, lots of spawning fish.

Octopus sighting
One of the most memorable sightings for me was a very large octopus that gave us quite a show. We found it when it was hiding in a small crevice in the reef. After a few minutes of waiting, it seemed like it wasn’t going to come out and play, so we headed off to continue our dive. But as we started to leave I looked back and saw it start to emerge. So we waited…and out it came.

Parachute feeding
It was a stunning creature, nearly a metre long. We watched as it swam over to a nearby cave, settled down and started to feed. It would position itself over a particular spot on the cave wall and then extend out its long arms, one at a time, and reach into a small nearby hole to grab prey. Sometimes it would launch itself and suddenly ‘pounce’ to one side. As it landed the skin between its arms would balloon out, trapping all small animals beneath it – this is called ‘parachute feeding’.

We must have stayed with the octopus for at least 10 minutes, fascinated by the way it would instantaneously change colour and texture to blend in with whatever background it was sitting on for the moment. It really was a spectacular sighting.

Hawskbill Turtle

Hawskbill Turtle

Communication and interpretation training course
As the time for my departure from the island approached closer and closer, it seemed like I got busier and busier. I was deeply honoured to be asked by the dive team to run a course on communication and interpretation – this is a course that I have been running for the Great Barrier Reef tourism industry staff in Australia for the past 15 years.

We actually had a lot of fun – gathering on the Dive Center jetty after work, and discussing such topics as what is the difference between education and interpretation, what makes a good nature interpreter, and what are the best body language techniques to use to get your messages across.

The Halaveli Dive Team
For me, as an educator, it was especially wonderful to watch the staff use some of these new techniques into action during the following days. The staff of Halaveli Dive Team are the most wonderful group of instructors that I have ever worked with – they are professional, friendly and nothing, I mean nothing, is too much of a hassle for them to do.

And they have incredible eyes for spotting marine life underwater.

Especially turtles. One of the most popular snorkeling activities on offer through the Dive Centre is the ‘Snorkel with Turtles’ excursion. There is a reef nearby that has 7 resident Hawksbill Turtles, so the chance of seeing these gorgeous sea creatures is very good.

Here’s some insight into these amazing creatures.

Creature Feature – the Hawksbill Turtle

Hawksbill Turtle, Halaveli

Hawksbill Turtle, Halaveli

There are two common species of turtles in the Maldives – Hawksbills and Greens. Around Halaveli, we see only Hawksbills.

Why don’t we see Green turtles? Because Green turtles feed almost exclusively on sea grass, and there are no seagrass beds nearby – thus, no Green turtles. However, Green turtles are seen on other reefs that have lagoons full of sea grass.

Endangered
All sea turtles are endangered and in most countries they are fully protected. Sea turtles have been harvested for centuries, mainly for their meat, but in the case of Hawksbills they were also harvested for their beautiful brown mottled shell (carapace) – known as tortoise-shell.

The shell, when cleaned and polished, is made into decorative objects like jewellry, combs and other personal ornaments. Objects made out of Hawksbill turtle shell have been found in tombs and burial sites of many Egyptian pharaohs.

Watching Turtles
Hawksbill sea turtles are beautiful rare, animals. We are lucky that the ones at the reefs near Halaveli Island are very calm and undisturbed around people.

When you see one, the best thing to do is to stop swimming and just float above it and wait. Eventually, they must come to the surface for a breath – remember, these are not fish, they are reptiles, and cannot breathe underwater. In fact, their ancestors evolved on land but returned to the sea about 150 million years ago. They are one of the few species of animals alive today that are so ancient that they were also around before, during and after the time of dinosaurs.

Normally, when feeding, turtles come up for air every few minutes, but if they are sleeping or resting, their heart rate and overall metabolism slows, and they can stay down for many hours. But they always have to come to the surface!

So it is very important that you never to try to touch or grab a turtle – if startled or scared they might drown.

Hawksbill vs Green Turltes
Telling Hawksbill and Green turtles apart is easy – there are a couple key features that distinguish them form one another.

First – look at the head and beak. Hawksbill turtles have long, curved strong beaks for tearing the reef apart to get to sponges, soft coral and corallimorphs. Green turtles, on the other hand, have a very stubby, short beak that it used like a lawnmower to cut the seagrass. Remember, turtles do not have teeth – instead they cut the food with thier sharp boney beaks and swallow the chunks without chewing.

Second – look at the back end of the shell. Hawksbill shells are jagged and serrated whereas Greens have a smooth shell edge.

Male vs Female
It is easy to tell male from female turtle apart just by looking at their tails. Males have longer tails that extend out past the edge of their shell, while females have shorter tails that do not stick out past their shell.

A Final Note
So, the next time you see a turtle diving or snorkeling, take your time and wait. The ones around Halaveli are so used to divers and snorkellers that they do not swim away. In fact, they will usually come up to the surface right next to you. It is an amazing experience to have one of these special creatures so close and so curious. Sometimes they will even approach you and look right into your mask.

Enjoy!

Robin.

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Night dives in the Maldives

Discover the lush vibrant colours of the ocean by night with a night dive at Constance Moofushi or Halaveli in the Maldives.

Alimatha night dive at Constance Halaveli, photo copyright Marco Care

Alimatha night dive

Experienced divers and beginners alike will be amazed by the differences visible on a night dive from those taken during the day.

What you see diving at night

Although some divers may initially feel nervous about the unfamiliarity and limited visibility of a night dive, these worries are quickly replaced by the exhilaration of discovering an entirely new nocturnal world.

The ocean at night is a riot of colour with many of the corals opening up after dark and becoming more vibrant. Many fish also feel safer coming out to eat at night so there is always a wide variety including some you won’t see during the day like the moray eel and octopus.

Some fish even change colour at night. Other fish sleep and you can see them nestled into their sea-floor or coral beds. It’s not unusual to see a reef shark lying quietly on the bottom of the ocean.

A highlight of any night dive is the moment when the dive lights are turned out and divers are able to see the phosphorescent plankton light up the water like ocean fireworks. A treat which will inspire awe in even the most experienced divers.

Where to night dive at Constance Halaveli

Trigone, night dive in Maldives, photo copyright Marco Care

Trigone, photo copyright Marco Care

Night dives are held in relatively shallow waters where the reef top is no deeper than five metres making for a safe, enjoyable exploration.

Favourite sites for night diving at Halaveli include Bathala House Reef, Bodu Thila and Ellaidhoo Thila.

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Shiseido offers new taster spa collection at Constance

World renowned Japanese beauty brand Shiseido introduces a collection of taster spa treatments for guests at Constance Belle Mare Plage, Ephélia and Lémuria.

Shiseido spa at Constance Hotels & Resorts

Shiseido spa at Constance

These treatments provide relaxation and visible results, using Shiseido’s award winning products and formulas.

The taster collection is already available at Belle Mare Plage, and will be on offer at Ephélia and Lémuria in the Seychelles from June.

Guests can choose from the following:

Shiseido Deluxe Facial Experience
45 minutes

Shiseido Express Facial Experience
30 minutes

Shiseido Relaxing Body Experience
60 minutes

Shiseido Relaxing Back Massage
30 minutes

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Yoga and bodywork specialist Steve Bracken to visit Halaveli

Rejuvenate your body and mind at Halaveli this Spring with guest yoga teacher and bodyworker, Steve Bracken.

Steve Bracken, yoga teacher and bodyworker

Steve Bracken, yoga teacher and bodyworker

Feel the stress of daily life slip away, loosening muscles and easing the mind through Steve’s holistic approach to body and spirit.

Offering both private and group sessions, Steve will be at Halaveli from 30 March – 23 April.

Yoga style draws from Iyengar and Scaravelli

Steve’s own yoga teaching style draws from the Iyengar and the Scaravelli tradition focusing on the physical poses which improve suppleness, build strength, create inner relaxation and promote general health and well-being.

While teaching at Halaveli, Steve will be offering two yoga classes per day. For guests, your first yoga group class is complimentary. Private classes and massage/sports therapy treatments are also available.

Bodywork with Steve Bracken
As well as yoga, Steve specialises in bodywork and injury healing. He combines massage along with structural bodywork and soft tissue manipulation to address any injuries, chronic tension or pain. The range of treatments include:

  • Soft tissue manipulation
  • Deep tissue massage
  • Structural bodywork
  • Sports therapy
  • Deep tissue energy release
Steve Bracken, yoga teacher

Steve Bracken

Steve describes his treatments as offering a profound difference to people’s lives. ‘To have pain, injury, tension, stress or trapped emotion released from our body is like the dropping of a great burden. It is joyful and life enhancing.’

As well as teaching yoga around the world, Steve runs workshops and courses on his holistic approach to bodywork. His treatments are effective for healing a range of common complaints.

  • Neck pain
  • Back pain
  • Chronic tension
  • Disc problems
  • Sciatica
  • Tennis elbow
  • Carpel tunnel
  • Emotional detox
  • Physical trauma

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Read more on Steve Bracken’s website

Discover more about Constance Halaveli and check booking availability

Constance Halaveli – one of the Leading Hotels of the World

Healthy start: detox juice recipes from Constance Halaveli

 

Queen of Retreats visits Constance Halaveli

Queen of Retreats, Caroline Sylger Jones, visited Constance Halaveli last month.

Spa at Constance Halaveli, Maldives

Spa at Constance Halaveli

After a week of  fresh food, rejuvenating spa treatments from Valmont and Ila, snorkelling, star gazing and wandering barefoot, she returned home feeling ‘far more serene. Reconnected. Happy.’

In her Diary of a Maldivian Retreat

‘I am treated to a divine four handed massage with Ayu and Yulia in the spa, which they call the Meditative Indulgence – it’s an hour, but they add on an extra 20 minutes for heads and feet.

What is about these Asian therapists – their hands make the treatment feel like it goes on forever and forever, whereas in the UK an hour and a half goes so quickly. Is it their hands, the heat, the fact I’m already relaxed? They also have real power, no matter how slim or slight they are.’

And what of Halaveli itself?

‘We lie in a white rope hammock for ages together under the trees, legs entwined, and remember what it felt like to be together before we had our child. There are others about, but it doesn’t feel like it – we feel cocooned and undisturbed in our own little world. There 57 water villas here, and 29 beach villas, but really you wouldn’t know it.’

Read the full review of Caroline’s stay at Constance Halaveli on her website: Queen of Retreats

Visit our website to find out more about the deluxe Constance Halaveli, Maldives

Learn with a pro at the Marc Farry Golf Academy in Mauritius

Indulge your dreams of discovering the perfect golf destination. At our two resorts in Mauritius, you can improve your game at our leading golf academy while enjoying a luxury holiday in the sun.

Golf at Constance Legend Course, Mauritius

Golf at Constance Legend Course, Mauritius

French championship golfer Marc Farry set up his academy with us in Mauritius, based at our two 18-hole championship golf courses the Links and Legend.

At Le Prince Maurice and Belle Mare Plage we share your passion for golf, and our pros are dedicated to helping you no matter what level you are.

Marc Farry Academy Teaching Method

Guests at both resorts can benefit from coaching in the Farry Academy Teaching Method. Choose from one-to-one or group coaching sessions. All sessions are organised to fit in with your own daily program.

At the Marc Farry Academy we even run individual and group courses for kids so that you can share your love of the game with your family.

Farry has based his teaching method on significantly improving four main areas:

  • Grip
  • Posture
  • Alignment
  • Ball position

Return home with techniques taught on the idyllic greens of our beautiful Mauritian golf courses, home of the MCB Tour Championship.

Links golf course, Mauritius

Links golf course, Mauritius

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Learn at home with our golf pro tips