The Shark Safari Snorkel at Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa brings guests up close and personal with one of the most valuable and vulnerable fish in the sea.
It’s the stuff of missed heartbeats: You jump off the boat, adjust your snorkel and start swimming, trying to ignore the first two notes of the Jaws theme filling your head. Hovering above kaleidoscopic shoals, you start to wonder what’s behind you. Anything? No, surely not. There couldn’t be, could there? You turn in the water, slowly at first, only to see two 2-metre blacktip reef sharks swimming right towards you “¦ and just when you think you’re about to become lunch, they dart away in fear.
Just a 15-minute speedboat ride from Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa, the waters around the island of Bandos are a playground for blacktip reef sharks, and it’s not uncommon to see up to eight at a time. Now, thanks to the new Shark Safari Snorkel, guests aged eight and over can join the Resort’s marine biologists on escorted snorkelling trips with these magnificent creatures.
But as scary as the notion may seem, there is a more serious side to the trip – to highlight the desperate plight of the ocean’s sharks. With 100 million killed each year for their fins, shark species worldwide are facing the very real threat of extinction. Eliminating sharks from our oceans would lead to an imbalance of other animals, threatening populations of the smallest creatures and resulting in catastrophic implications for the whole marine food chain. In 2009, the Republic of Maldives became the first nation in the region to impose a shark hunting ban within its waters, but the race is on: can mankind transform its irrational and devastating fear of these perfect predators into a will to preserve them, before it is too late?
Kuda Huraa’s Shark Safari Snorkel departs from the main jetty every Monday and Friday at 2:30 pm, followed by an educational talk on the ecological importance of sharks, conducted by the Resort’s marine biologists at 6:00 pm in the library. Each trip is limited to a maximum of 12 guests.