Enter our name the sea creature competition

Enter our competition to name sea creatures found at Constance Halaveli in the Maldives, and you could win a set of luxury Valmont Fit and Tone body treatments.

Valmont Fit and Tone Body Treatment Set

Valmont Fit and Tone Body Treatment Set

To enter

All you have to do is choose names for our collection of awe-inspiring sea creatures below. Be as creative or quirky as you like.

Then post the names by leaving a comment on this blog post below, on our Facebook page or using our Twitter feed @constancehotels. Remember that if you’re the winner, we need to be able to contact you so include an email address, your Twitter handle or a message on Facebook.

Competition closes on Monday 15 July 2013 at midnight. Winners will be announced here on Wednesday 17 July 2013.

Bonus prize

And as an added bonus, if you post your own photo of a sea creature onto the Constance Facebook wall, we’ll enter you for a prize draw to win one of our sought after Constance USB memory sticks, designed in the shape of a room key in a beautiful black croc leather pouch. Again, winners will be announced on Wednesday 17 July 2013.

1. Name the Scorpion Fish

Scorpion fish at Constance Halaveli, Maldives

Give our Scorpion fish a name…

 

2. Name the Green Mantis Shrimp

Green Mantis Shrimp at Constance Halaveli, Maldives

I need a name too…

 

3. Name the White Tip Reef Shark

White Tip Reef Shark at Constance Halaveli, Maldives

… and me…

 

Valmont at Constance Halaveli

At Constance, we’re passionate about diving and proud of the work we do to protect the environment around our hotels for future generations.

The prestigious Swiss skincare brand Valmont, who opened a spa at Halaveli last year, has partnered with us to further support our coral reef regeneration programme at Constance Halaveli.

Since the tsunami in 2004, we have been working hard to encourage marine life to thrive once again in this area. With the help of Valmont, the programme is gathering momentum and we are seeing real progress in coral growth and the regeneration of sea life for which the Maldives is renowned.

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Valmont supports coral reef regeneration programme in Maldives

Valmont has extended its partnership with Constance Halaveli to support reef health and biodiversity on the beautiful Maldivian island.

Marine life at Constance Halaveli, Maldives

Marine life at Constance Halaveli, Maldives

Having opened the Valmont spa at Halaveli in 2012, the leading Swiss skincare brand is now backing an ambitious sustainable initiative to support rehabilitating the coral reef in the Maldives.

Creating an artificial reef to promote marine life

To encourage the coral reef to grow quickly and provide shelter for other marine animals, we have created a man-made underwater structure, where broken coral fragments can be attached.

Seduced by the regeneration programme that began a year ago at Halaveli, Didier Guillon CEO of Valmont Group has chosen to donate $5,000 per year, to buy and maintain these structures. This move is a reflection of the brand’s commitment to global sustainable co-operation initiatives.

How Constance manages the Reefscaping program

The initiative was originally started in 2011, backed by Mr. Vallet, CEO of the Constance Group, himself heavily committed to sustainable development projects.

The Constance Halaveli Spa team now manage the program, backed by the support, enthusiasm and deep involvement of Halaveli resort General Manager Renato W Chizzola.

Valmont Spa at Constance Halaveli, Maldives

Valmont Spa at Halaveli

Valmont spa at Constance Halaveli

With immaculate white sand beaches and beautiful turquoise lagoon, Constance Halaveli naturally blends into the idyllic setting of the South Ari Atoll.

It’s in this magnificent setting, that Valmont opened their spa a year ago. One of the exclusive treatments on offer here is the popular Valmont After Diving Treatment.

Find out more

 

Get to know the ocean’s friendly giants at Moofushi

Experience the awe-inspiring thrill of swimming with a school of manta rays during the manta season at Moofushi.

Manta ray at Constance Moofushi, Maldives

Manta ray at Moofushi 

Share the ocean with these beautiful creatures with wingspans of up to 8 metres across. The curiosity of these gentle giants suggests they positively enjoy human interaction.

Manta season at Moofushi

Manta season at Moofushi runs from December to the end of April as the elegant rays migrate through the Ari Atoll in schools following a trail of enticing plankton.

The number of rays during the season means they are regularly encountered by divers and snorkellers alike with our dive centre running trips for both.

Although we still know very little about these magnificent creatures it is known that they are capable of diving to depth of more than 1,000 meters. The rays migrate cyclically with some giant mantas recording distances of over 1,000km.

Despite manta rays coming under increasing threat as the market for their gills continues to rise, they are a protected species in the Maldives where environmental funds are invested in safeguarding their future.

Find out more

Read about shark diving at Constance Moofushi

Visit our website to find out more about diving holidays at Constance Moofushi, Maldives

Watch a stunning close encounter with manta rays at Moofushi from our Blue Tribe Dive Center

Discover what happened when The Telegraph’s Tim Ecott visited the Maldives to swim with manta rays

Marine biologist reveals what’s underwater at Halaveli

This week’s instalment from marine biologist Robin Aiello sees her come face to face with the awe-inspiring whalesharks in the waters off Halaveli.

Whiptail Ray, Constance Halaveli, Maldives

Whiptail Ray

It has been another amazing week full of beautiful dives, snorkels, lagoon cruises and island walks. The weather has been clear and warm, and the seas so calm that you can do an entire marine biology session from the surface without even getting wet.
I have, in fact, been spending hours on the jetty with guests looking down into the sea and spotting some fantastic animals. We have many harmless blacktip reef sharks that slowly cruise back and forth under the jetty, whiptail rays that look almost like eagles flying through the water, unicorn fish with their long horns sticking out from their foreheads, long slender coronet fish with their huge extended mouths, and bluefin trevallies (also called jacks) chasing schools of small silver fish.

Bluefin Trevallies

The trevallies (jacks) always put on an exciting show for us as they stalk and hunt the small silver fish that form massive schools in the very shallow water at the beach.

Small groups of 3 – 6 bluefin trevallies swim up and down the beach, getting closer and closer to the shore and forcing the small fish to form tighter and tighter schools – it is like cowboys rounding up the cattle on a range.

Bluefin trevallies, Constance Halaveli, Maldives

Bluefin trevallies

They do this for some time, then, without any warning, there is a huge commotion. The trevallies have decided it is time to strike, and change direction at full speed (which is really really fast) and dash through the school, grabbing fish as they go. The small silver fish, in response, take off in all directions like a firework display. They will even jump out of the water and land on the beach in their sheer panic to get away.

But, there is no where for the small fish to hide. Suddenly other predatory fish join the feeding frenzy, and if that is not bad enough, the seabirds and herons fly in from all directions to join the mayhem and pounce on any fish they can. The whole frenzied activity lasts only a few seconds, but what excitement! Sometimes I feel sorry for the poor little fish!

An unplanned evening snorkel

Probably the most unusual thing that I have seen in a long time was spotted one evening from the jetty. I was heading to dinner, all dressed up, and one of the guests asked me what it was – I had no idea – didn’t even know if it was manmade or natural.

Diamondback squid egg case, Constance Halaveli, Maldives

Diamondback squid egg case

So I ran back to my villa and grabbed my snorkeling gear and jumped into the water.

This thing was weird! At first, I had no idea what it was. It was in constant motion, rolling around and undulating, but I soon discovered it was the water movement that caused it to move – it was not actually alive. It was slimy and felt like thick mucous, and to add to the bafflement, there were thousands of little pink/purple balls embedded in it.

Finally it dawned on me that it had to be some sort of egg case – most likely molluscan from either a snail or a squid. After a couple of hours of research I discovered that it was, in fact, the egg case of a very large squid that reaches a size of over 1 metre called the Diamondback Squid. This squid would have laid the egg case out in the lagoon and the tides, currents and waves washed it into the shallows. Very interesting.

Diving with whalesharks

Yesterday, though, was the real highlight of my whole visit – every Sunday the Dive Center offers a day trip to find and snorkel with whalesharks. And what a day we had!

Thanks to our amazing boat crew, and of course the legendary snorkel guide Santana, we had the wonderful experience of swimming with 3 large whalesharks. Amazing! It is no easy feat to find a whaleshark – since they are fish, they do not come to the surface to breath like whales, so the only way to find them is to patrol an area – up and down along the coast. The crew stand lookouts on the roof of the boat looking for a large dark shadow in the water.

Whaleshark, Constance Halaveli, Maldives

Whaleshark

Then, if one is spotted, there is a flurry of activity as we get on our gear and jump overboard. At this point, the race begins. Although these huge animals are barely moving a fin at all, they maintain such a fast speed that we as mere human snorkellers must kick and kick and kick as fast as possible to keep up with them. They do not seem to be bothered by us at all – in fact, on several occasions they appeared to be curious and changed direction to come right up close underneath – within only a few metres of us.
When they are this close, they take your breath away. They really are special creatures!

They are so spectacular, that this creature will be the topic of my Creature Feature for this week.

Creature Feature – Whalesharks

Whalesharks are well known to frequent a spot on the southern part of the Ari Atoll – no one really knows why they ‘hangout’ in this area. But they seem to be mainly young-adult males that are about 6–8 metres in length.

Although this is considered relatively small for a whaleshark (they can reach sizes of over 12m) they are still incredibly impressive. In fact, whalesharks are the largest fish in the world.

Whaleshark, Constance Halaveli, Maldives

Whaleshark

Whalesharks are a type of shark – not a whale. They, like all sharks, have a cartilaginous skeleton rather than bone, have what are called denticles covering their skin instead of scales, do not have an air bladder, but use a liver full of oil for buoyancy, and of course they have ‘replaceable’ teeth rather than only one set like most reef fish. Sharks have hundreds of teeth and can go through as many as 30,000 teeth during their lifetime.

What happens is that teeth that form the ‘front-row’ periodically fall out, and within only a few days another tooth that behind in the ‘second-row’ will rotate into position. It is kind of like a conveyor belt of teeth. In this manner the shark always has fresh, sharp teeth! Whalesharks, although they do not use them, actually have about 300 very small teeth.

How whalesharks feed

So how does a whaleshark feed if it does not use teeth? Well, these giants of the sea, feed on some of the smallest animals in the ocean, plankton, by a method called filtering feeding.

Inside their mouths they have an unique system of filter-pads that trap all the small plankton – a lot like a sieve.

Whalesharks feed in two ways – ‘gulping’ and ‘ram feeding’. If there is plenty of concentrated plankton in the water, these sharks will stay in one place and take in huge gulps of water full of plankton.
If, however, the plankton is spread out in the water, then the sharks will swim at an average of 4km per hour with their mouths open – when they have enough food, they will swallow, then resume feeding – this is ‘ram-feeding’.

To watch them feed is incredible. They have huge mouths – up to 1.5 metres wide and they can filter over 300,000 litres of seawater per hour.

Identifying whalesharks by their spots

Other than the sheer immense size of these fish, the other really noticeable feature is the patterning. They are fully covered with spots and dots, and some lines – really beautiful.

They almost look like a bright starry night sky. In fact, a few years ago a couple of scientists came up with the interesting idea to use a computer program designed for tracking stars to document the spots on individual whalesharks.

Since the patterning on each whaleshark is unique for that individual (much like our human fingerprints are unique to each person), scientists have been able to compile a global database of whalesharks from photographs of their spots.

So, when you visit Halaveli Resort, be sure to take the trip out looking for whalesharks – it is fantastic!

Read more

Discover what happened when Robin Aiello went diving with baby whitetip sharks at Halaveli

Visit our website to find out more about this deluxe resort – Constance Halaveli, Maldives

Renowned marine biologist visits Halaveli

Next month, guests at Halaveli will have the opportunity to dive or snorkel with world famous marine biologist and reef conservationist Robin Aiello.

Robin Aiello

Robin Aiello

Robin will be visiting Halaveli from 3-31 March. Well known for her studies into marine animal adaptations and ecology, Harvard graduate and environmental management consultant Robin spends at least 8-10 months of the year on or in the ocean, between working on expedition ships in the arctic and Antarctic, and leading dive trips in the tropics.

Her previous expeditions have included diving with a wide variety of sharks – including Great Whites – to document their behaviour, living underwater for two weeks in a saturation chamber to study coral biology and observing jellyfish under an ice-shelf in Antarctica.

As part of her visit to Halaveli, Robin will run weekly events in order to share her expertise with our guests.

Events will include:

  • accompanied dive
  • accompanied snorkel
  • kids snorkel trip
  • presentation with slides
  • private dive or snorkel trips on request.
Coral reefscaping at Constance Halaveli

Robin’s visit coincides with our own reefscaping programme at Halaveli in which we are stimulating regrowth in the coral around the lagoon damaged by the tsunami of 2004.

During Robin’s trip to Halaveli, we’ll be posting regular updates, photos from under the ocean and more.

Find out more

Discover more about coral reef protection from the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program.

Visit our website to read more about Constance Halaveli and check booking availability.

Wreck diving in the Maldives

Join TGI Dive Instructor, Natalie Skipworth, as she shares the unique adventure and exhilaration of a wreck dive at Constance Halaveli.

Wreck diving at Constance Halaveli, Maldives

Natalie Skipworth wreck diving at Halaveli, photo by Marco Care

Stepping on the dhoni, a traditional Maldivian fishing boat, the clear turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean stretch out before me.

The sky is blue and cloudless and although it’s only a short ride to the dive site, and I’m eager to enter the water, I almost wish the journey wouldn’t end.

Arriving at the wreck

All too soon we arrive and my instructor tells me it’s time to get ready. She jumps in to check the speed and direction of the current, and surfaces with a smile, telling us the visibility is amazing and the fish are keen to see us.

We grin like idiots as we gear up and look each other over, strapping on computers, checking weight belts and air gauges, making sure nothing will ruin this perfect afternoon.

Entering the water

The first breath underwater is like coming home for me. As we swim down and across, following the guide, the wreck looms into view. It should be threatening, sinister even, but this wreck has been put here deliberately, sunk by the dive centre specifically for divers to enjoy.

What you can expect to see

The abundance of life is incredible in such a short stretch, and within the first 10 minutes we’ve spotted white tip reef sharks, stingrays, a napoleon wrasse, and even a turtle or two.

This wreck is slightly deeper than most and the first person reaches their air supply reserve within 30 minutes. The guide signals us to do a safety stop and inflates her surface marker buoy.

Blowing bubble rings through her regulator to pass the time she points out fish of every colour on the teeming reef.

We drift along for 3 minutes, almost blinded by the reds, yellows, oranges, blues and greens of the sealife, and surface together close to the dhoni. One of the many advantages to diving in the Maldives is that the boat follows you.

Handing up our equipment with the help of the instructor, we climb the ladder back onto the boat, tired but happy.

Find out more

Read more about Constance Halaveli on our website or catch up on other articles of interest on our blog: