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Carpe Diem Maldives Celebrates a Decade With Resort Expansion

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Since 2008, the award-winning hospitality group Carpe Diem Maldives Pvt. Ltd. has been growing its fleet of luxury dive and surf liveaboard cruises, sharing the beauty of the Maldivian waters with adventurous travellers.

Adding to the existing three high-end liveaboard cruise vessels, the private island Carpe Diem Beach Resort & Spa is scheduled to open June 2018 in Raa Atoll, northern Maldives. With the emphasis on an activity-driven atmosphere, the resort’s tagline ‘Social by Nature’ reflects an easygoing travellers’ finesse against the backdrop of a healthy house reef and a significantly large lagoon.

Each of the 115 private pool villas at Carpe Diem Beach Resort & Spa have sliding doors leading on to a large deck with a shaded seating area and a sun-drenched plunge pool. Ten accommodation choices have been designed with a modern and social traveller in mind to offer a vibrant addition to this revered Indian Ocean destination. Introducing a new room category to the Maldives market, five Over Water Pool Villas are dedicated to solo travellers looking to share twin bed accommodation, omitting the need for a single supplement. A full-board stay for all guests at Carpe Diem Beach Resort & Spa includes house wines and beer, as well as access to an inflatable water park in the private lagoon. Bespoke and signature dining choices, a contemporary Spa, and an over water tapas and sunset club with a transparent dance floor combine with a myriad water sport experiences to create a truly unique, forward-thinking resort.

Speaking on the expansion, Managing Director of Carpe Diem Maldives Pvt. Ltd., Amir Mansoor says:

“From our first boat a decade ago, Carpe Diem Maldives has grown to become a collection of three unique liveaboard dive and surf cruises, each catering for 20-22 guests. We are the only liveaboard operator in the Maldives to offer diving adventures with a team of all-Maldivian Dive Masters. With the expansion into resorts, Carpe Diem Maldives becomes the only hospitality brand in the country to offer year-round liveaboard cruises that can be combined with a resort stay. This vibrant new offering and collection of activities brings a fresh approach to holidays, one that also meets the changing traveller demographics to this popular destination.”

Renowned for delivering a sense of discovery, adventure and excellence, Carpe Diem Cruises have established a solid relationship over the years with the top echelons of the diving & leisure travel industry.

“Our guests now have a wider array of choices – go diving or surfing on a luxury cruise for a few days, or stay in one place with a naturally soft, white-sand beach, spa and a multitude of dining options where like-minded travellers meet… Even better, do both!” explains Assistant Managing Director, Agnes van Linden. “We’ve taken the knowledge and experience gathered over the last 10 years, listening to our guests’ preferences, observing the changing demands from global travellers, to create a resort with a social and vibrant personality,” adds Agnes.

Located on the cusp where Raa and Baa atolls meet, the area is rich in marine diversity; Baa atoll, renown for the annual Manta Ray migration from May to November in Hanifaru UNESCO Marine Biosphere, is just 15 minutes away by speedboat. The home base of Raa Atoll is teeming with wildlife and a survey in June this year by US-based marine organisation Coral Reef CPR identified an extraordinary array of rare coral species, some of which are 500-1000 years old, attracting over 215 fish species to the house reef at Carpe Diem Beach Resort & Spa.

The resort’s General Manager, Socrates Alvaro comments:

“At Carpe Diem Beach Resort & Spa the emphasis is on a social holiday where like-minded travellers meet. Today’s holidaymakers are seeking a more engaging environment paired with adventure and excitement, rather than a romance and honeymoon emphasis, and Carpe Diem Maldives is set to deliver on that rising market demand. With new budget airline routes into Male, and the new travel trends to this destination, it means the Maldives is now more accessible to a much wider demographic than previously, and that’s very exciting.”

Carpe Diem Beach Resort & Spa is a 40-minute seaplane ride from Malé International Airport, or a 20-minute flight to Dharavandhoo Domestic Airport in Baa Atoll combined with a 25-minute speedboat ride. Full-board room rates accommodating 2 adults and 2 children, or 3 adults, start from USD899 per villa, per night, and for solo travellers in a shared twin-bed Over Water Pool Villa from USD450. The resort is already accepting bookings for stays from 1st June 2018 onwards.

For more information visit www.carpediembeachresort.com (live from 6 November 2017).

Gear Reviews

Gear Review: Mares EOS LRZ Torch Range

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What does LRZ stand for I hear you ask? The answer is: LED lights, Rechargeable, Zoomable. Mares have created a versatile set of seven underwater lights in the new range to suit all needs and budgets.

I tested the most powerful of them – the EOS 32LRZ at Capernwray on a cold but bright spring day. I was diving with Alex Mustard, and so all the underwater images are by him, showing me trying out the torch in both the shallows and in some of the wrecks at this site.

All the torches in the new line have an LED visual battery charge indicator that allows you to keep the battery level under control.

Want to use it out of the water? No problem! The new EOS LRZ torches feature an innovative temperature control system that allows you to use them both underwater and on land. I can see myself using this on gloomy dog walks later in the year!

As you can see from the video I filmed just after getting back from a dive, the torch is easy to use, even with thick gloves in cold water. The zoomable light beam means that you can highlight a particular spot, or have a wide beam, which is great for both modeling for a photographer, and exploring different underwater environments.

The EOS 32LRZ has a powerful beam with 3200 lumens of power and 135 minutes of burn time. Perfect for some of the darker dives you can experience in the UK, but also for exploring overhead or enclosed environments. I easily got 2 long dives out of a single charge, and then was able to recharge it in my car using a USB cable on the way home, ready for the next day of diving.

The look and feel of these torches are great. In your hand you can feel the quality of the torches. They are solid and well built. They also look great. Each torch in the range comes with a padded case to keep them safe during transport.

For more, visit the Mares website by clicking here.

All underwater images by Alex Mustard

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Marine Life & Conservation

Reef-World launches Green Fins Japan!

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The Reef-World Foundation, the Onna Village Diving Association, the local government, and Oceana are delighted to announce that Japan is now the 14th country globally to implement the Green Fins initiative – a UN Environment Programme initiative. Onna Village in Okinawa is the first Japanese tourist destination to adopt Green Fins environmental standards to reduce the threats associated with diving and snorkelling on the marine environment.

Green Fins is piloted in Onna Village, Okinawa prefecture, an area renowned for its marine sports and has been working to protect its reefs for many years. Green Fins is implemented as part of the national Sustainable Development Goals project, which aims to manage and illustrate to the local industry how sustainable tourism can play a role in reef conservation. The economic benefits of the reefs benefit not only the fisheries industry but also the tourism industry as it has rocketed in recent decades.

If the project is successful – proving the value of sustainable tourism – the model has the potential to be escalated to a national level. A wide rollout would allow Reef-World to focus on uptake and expansion into other marine tourism and biodiversity hotspots across Japan. Green Fins implementation in Japan would provide practical solutions to many of the common problems faced in the area. It would also help to promote high standards for diving in the country. Improving the quality of the diving industry through Green Fins would demonstrate the added value of Onna Village’s tourism product. This, in turn, will encourage tourists to spend more time and money diving in the region.

Following a week of training by Reef-World (23 to 28 May 2022), Japan now has a national Green Fins team comprised of four fully certified Green Fins Assessors and two Green Fins Coordinators from Oceana and the local government. They will be responsible for recruiting, assessing, training and certifying dive and snorkel operators to become Green Fins members in the country. This involves providing training about the ecology and threats to coral reefs, simple and local everyday solutions to these threats and Green Fins’ environmental standards to dive and snorkel operators. Green Fins membership will help marine tourism operators improve their sustainability and prove they are working hard to follow environmental best practices as a way of attracting eco-minded tourists.

James Harvey, Director at The Reef-World Foundation, said: “We are really excited to finally introduce Green Fins in Japan. We have been planning this for almost three years, but the travel restrictions related to the pandemic hindered progress. The diving industry in Okinawa and the marine life upon which it has been built is so unique, it must be preserved for generations to come. The Okinawa diving community is very passionate about protecting their marine environment, and Green Fins has given them an opportunity to collectively work to reduce their environmental impact and pursue exemplary environmental standards.”

Diving and snorkelling related damage to sensitive marine ecosystems, including coral reefs, is becoming an increasingly significant issue. This damage makes them less likely to survive other local and wider stressors, such as overfishing or plastic debris and the effects of climate change. Based on robust individual assessments, the Green Fins initiative helps identify and mitigate these risks by providing environmental consultation and support to dive and snorkel operators. Through Green Fins implementation in Japan, Reef-World aims to reduce negative environmental impacts in the region by reaching 10 marine tourism operators, training 50 dive guides and raising awareness of sustainability best practices among 10,000 tourists in the first year.

Yuta Kawamoto, CEO of Oceana, said: “Green Fins will help to unify all the conservation efforts in Okinawa by applying the guidelines in many areas and raising tourists awareness. We hope this will increase the sustainable value in the diving industry and in turn increase the diving standards in the country.”

Green Fins is a UN Environment Programme initiative, internationally coordinated by The Reef-World Foundation, which aims to protect and conserve coral reefs through environmentally friendly guidelines to promote a sustainable diving and snorkelling tourism industry. Green Fins provides the only internationally recognised environmental standards for the diving and snorkelling industry and has a robust assessment system to measure compliance.

To date, four dive operators in Onna Village have joined the global network of 600+ trained and assessed Green Fins members. These are: Benthos Divers, Okinawa Diving Center, Arch Angel and Pink Marlin Club. There has also been significant interest from other operators, even those that are not located in Onna Village, for Green Fins training and assessment.

Suika Tsumita from Oceana said: “Green Fins serve as an important tool for local diving communities to move towards a more sustainable use of their dive sites; so that they can maintain their scenic beauty and biological richness to provide livelihoods for many generations to come.”

For more information, please visit www.reef-world.org or  www.greenfins.net/countries/japan. Dive and snorkel operators interested in signing up for Green Fins can find the membership application form at: www.greenfins.net/how-to-join.

Dive and snorkel operators in Japan interested in signing up to be Green Fins members can contact the Green Fins Japan team at japan@greenfins.net.

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