Velaa Private Island located in the north of Maldives is exemplary in many ways. The luxury Maldivian resort is oft celebrated locally and internationally for its excellence in luxury service to guests and team members, and contributions to the local community. The resort welcomed the year 2021, with yet another remarkable milestone to celebrate.
Though 2020 was mostly a gloomy, lonely year due to the pandemic, Velaa's team were hands-on in giving back, but to mother nature. The ultra-luxury property took to Twitter to announce that the resort's coral restoration program had let to the transplant of 2,000 corals onto the reef in the year of the pandemic.
The Velaa Private Island Coral Restoration Project debuted after a mass coral bleaching event in 2016. In simple words, this is Velaa doing their part in restoring marine biodiversity to its full pride.
Spearheaded by Velaa's Marine Biology Team, the Coral Project follows a two-stage process: growing them in coral nurseries, and transplanting on the reef.
The mid-water floating nurseries are basically PVC frames that suspend corals via ropes and lets the corals grow with the availability of good light and water flow and lack of sedimentation and little to no predation and algae. Once reaching the approving size, the team transplants the corals back onto the island's house reef.
According to Velaa's Coral Project, under favorable conditions, these corals can more than triple in size within six to nine months.
In 2019, the Velaa Coral Project adapted the coral tree nursery method as well, amongst many others.
"By increasing the amount of coral on our house reef, we hope to attract new recruits, increase the abundance of fish and apex predators and help stabilize the reef," said Velaa Private Island in their designated Facebook page for the project.
Simultaneously, the team of excellent marine biologists at Velaa keeps a strenuous watchful eye on the growth of the underwater building blocks.
The team monitors the progress of coral growth, conducts regular fish surveys, and the staff and interns at the resort's Marine Biology establishment lead their own innovative conservation and research projects, to which the whole team contributes.
Velaa Private Island's Coral Restoration Project is counted as one of Maldives' biggest projects in the area and draws the attention of many visitors to the resort. For those relucting to take a dive to look at the colorful coral gardens, Velaa launched a project to bring the corals to them to view from above the water: a project was launched to build "mini reefs" under the glass windows of Velaa's water villas.
"We build the structure with rocks and then transplant loose corals that are found along our reef via the nail and tie method and epoxy. Straight away, during transplantation, we see an accumulation of fish hiding and playing among the mini-reefs. It's very exciting to see the transformation and it's great to be making new habitats for the marine life that live in the lagoon." said Velaa's Coral Project.
After all, where there is coral, there is life!
Velaa has also installed a little landmark underwater back in July 2018; a Velaa coral sign which is home to many vibrant fish. The sign can be viewed when guests are out snorkeling or kayaking, or if lucky, while on your seaplane to/from Velaa!
UPDATE: Velaa Private Island Coral Restoration Project released new pictures of the Velaa coral sign last December, showing remarkable growth and its habitant marine creatures hanging around. Check it out via this link.