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Inspiring the next generation of Ocean Guardians with the Maldives’ First Manta Festival



Manta Trust and Four Seasons Resorts partner with Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve to raise awareness of marine plastic pollution and manta rays in the Maldives.

The Manta Trust is hosting the first ever Baa Atoll Manta Festival on 24th November 2018 on Baa. Dharavandhoo. This unique day aims to celebrate the diverse marine life of the Maldives and raise awareness of threats to it – mostly from climate change and plastic pollution – amongst local communities and schools. School students will have the opportunity, many for the first time, to
learn to snorkel, thanks to generous donations of snorkelling equipment from luxury tourist resorts in Baa Atoll.

The festival takes place in the Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, a World-famous destination to see manta rays, the gentle giants of the ocean, which can aggregate in numbers of over 200 in the renowned Hanifaru Bay. The day will be a lively mixture of enlightening talks from marine biology & conservation experts, competitions and educational stalls from a fantastic variety of local marine & government organisations, along with resorts’ marine biology teams, and school students. In the evening the festival will culminate with performances by Maldivian celebrity ‘Shiuz’ along with traditional music and food from local communities. Visitors and guests are welcome at the festival without any ticket needed.

This is an event bringing together all the schools, communities, resorts and environmental organisations in Baa Atoll and beyond to celebrate and raise awareness of what is really important to us all – our ocean. We are surrounded by the ocean yet often disconnected from the beautiful creatures that are facing huge human-driven threats just off our shores. Here we can all come
together to start to make a change” says Shafee Ali, Outreach Officer for the Biosphere Reserve Office.

The Manta Trust is delighted to be partnering with the Biosphere Reserve Office, Four Seasons Resorts, Baa Atoll Council and Dharavandhoo Council to deliver this exciting event. The festival is sponsored by 12 luxury tourist resorts in Baa Atoll – Four Seasons, Vakkaru, Coco Palm, Kihaa Maldives, Anantara Kihavah, Royal Island, Milaidhoo, Reethi Beach, Finolhu, Amilla Fushi, Dusit Thani and Soneva Fushi, as well as luxury travel agent Manta Reisen.

We are very grateful to all the local tourist resorts that have sponsored the festival and generously donated Cressi snorkelling equipment to every school in Baa Atoll” explains Flossy Barraud, from The Manta Trust “This has not only enabled local students to attend the Baa Atoll Manta Festival, but also to have snorkelling lessons to teach them to use their new equipment for years to come. Despite being surrounded by water, many Maldivians – especially females – rarely snorkel to witness the beauty under the waves.

The Manta Trust hopes the Baa Atoll Manta Festival will leave a lasting legacy for the communities of Baa Atoll – inspiring the next generation to become Ocean Guardians in the Maldives.

For more information about The Manta Trust visit their website by clicking here.



Scubaverse UWP Winners Gallery: Christian Horras



Each month we give the winner of the Scubaverse Underwater Photography competition the opportunity to show off a little more of their work in a gallery. The March winner was Christian Horras and you can see their winning image at the top of this page.

What do you love about diving & underwater photography?

For me it is all about showing the beauty of our world underwater to people that don’t dive and thus can’t see it for themselves. I want to share my own passion for the amazing ecosystem that is so much older than everything we know living on land. As I am from Germany, there are only a few people in my surroundings that have ever seen a coral reef or a shark with their own eyes. It is a big privilege to be able to go diving all over the world and in return it should be our task to arise awareness of this fragile and endangered ecosystem.

What equipment do you use?

I use a Nikon D810 in a Isotta Housing and various lenses, depending on the subject: a Sigma 15mm F2.8 Fisheye, a Nikon 16-35 mm F4 and two Nikon Macro lenses (60mm and 105mm), as well as a WeeFine +13 Diopter. The Fisheye is my main lens, as it allows me to get really close and still cover a big field of view. For lighting I use two Retra Pro Strobes and a Retra Snoot.

Where can our readers see more of your work?


To enter the latest Scubaverse Underwater Photography competition, with a chance to win some great prizes as well as have your own gallery published, head over to the competition page and upload up to 3 images.

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Emperor Divers reaches halfway in Covid Diver Heroes Initiative with fourth award



Emperor Divers have reached the halfway point with their #coviddiverheroes initiative and are still receiving worthy nominations every day! Here, they recognise their 4th winner, another awesome hero from the diving community with an inspirational story of selflessness through the pandemic. Nominated by David White, Phuong Cao wins a free liveaboard trip in the Maldives when she can finally take some time off, and here is her story:

I, David White, would like to nominate Phuong Cao (36) for her tireless efforts fighting this pandemic. Not satisfied with being a frontline hospitalist in New York she took a second job on the COVID team in Guam to treat patients under even tougher conditions on her weeks off! She continues to commute 7750 miles each way and apply herself to both jobs for three months already and counting. Her energy level has no limits and she’s only happy when those in her care are on the mend. I think she definitely deserves a break! I guess the Maldives would be the best choice for her as I know she has dived with you in the Red Sea already.

Phuong Cao

We have been in touch with Phuong who had this to say: “Wow what a surprise! Thank you for the recognition. Holding my breath until I get back underwater!”

The halfway point is a good chance to remind people that the initiative is still running and the Emperor Divers team would love to hear about more heroes, as there are four more to award in the next 2 months!

Do you know a diver who has been heroic this past year? Emperor know that, worldwide, people have had to step up during this pandemic which has affected so many lives. They want to reward some real heroes with free liveaboard trips in the Red Sea or Maldives.

Luke Atkinson, Emperor’s Red Sea Manager, said: “This initiative is our way of saying ‘thank you’ to all those hundreds of people who have taken a selfless interest in looking after the vulnerable in their community. Examples could include healthworkers, carers or those who have come out of retirement to volunteer locally, but really we know there are many other ways people have been heroic.“

Emperor want to hear from people who know a heroic diver who would love to have a free liveaboard trip to look forward to in the future. People need to nominate a Covid Hero Diver and tell Emperor (in 100 – 200 words) why they deserve a free trip, and whether they would prefer the Red Sea or the Maldives. A multinational panel of Emperor’s most loyal and compassionate staff will judge the entries and pick a winner every 2 weeks for the next 2 months. There are two remaining Red Sea and two more Maldives liveaboards to be earned, so get nominating and give that hero a reward for their amazing work!

Winners will be announced by 14th (Maldives) and 28th (Red Sea) of each month. Final entries for Red Sea by 20th May ‘21 and Maldives 5th June ’21.

Entries, comments and questions should be sent to

Terms & Conditions apply: Please contact for details.

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Explore the amazing triangle of Red Sea Reefs - The Brothers, Daedalus and Elphinstone on board the brand new liveaboard Big Blue.  With an option to add on a week at Roots Red Sea before or after. 

Strong currents and deep blue water are the catalysts that bring the pelagic species flocking to these reefs. The reefs themselves provide exquisite homes for a multitude of marine life.  The wafting soft corals are adorned with thousands of colourful fish. The gorgonian fans and hard corals provide magnificent back drops, all being patrolled by the reef’s predatory species.

£1475 per person based on double occupancy.  Soft all inclusive board basis, buffet meals with snacks, tea and coffee always available.  Add a week on at Roots Red Sea Resort before or after the liveaboard for just £725pp.  Flights and transfers are included.  See our brochure linked above for the full itinerary.

This trip will be hosted by The Scuba Place.  Come Dive with Us!

Call 020 3515 9955 or email

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