On World Oceans Day - 8 June 2020 - people around the globe come together to celebrate and honor the marine world that connect us all. This year calls on world leaders to protect 30% of the blue planet by 2030. By educating travelers in marine conservation as part of their holiday experience, we can – and will – protect and restore our shared deep blue. Here are just a few of the travels that can help understand and protect our marine life and the health of the planet:
MAGNIFICENT MARINE SAFARI AT HEMINGWAY WATAMU, KENYA
On a most beautiful stretch of beach, shaded by lazy palms, Hemingways Watamu is at the heart of the Watamu Marine National Park. It is home to wonderful coral reefs just 300m from the shore, filled with 150 species of hard and soft corals - brain corals, fan corals and sponges – and more than 1,000 species of reef fish. Hemingways Watamu is the perfect base from which to embark on a morning’s snorkeling, marveling at the multi-colored fish flitting among the reef, sea turtles, barracuda, lion fish, parrotfish and snappers as well as the occasional guitarfish or large grouper. The more experienced diver has the chance to spot Whale shark and Manta rays.
Watamu is a vital sea turtle breeding area, and the turtle watch program successfully protects five of the seven species, all of which are listed as endangered or critically endangered. Further out at sea, guests can spend the day tracking pods of wild dolphins, and have the chance to see whale, Orca, Bryde’s whales, striped dolphins, Pan Tropical spotted dolphins, as well as the very rare Dugong.
A founding partner and member of Watamu Marine Association (formed in 2008), Hemingways Watamu does not take this precious ecosystem for granted and is committed to conserving the beauty of the Kenyan coastline. Hotel guests can visit the EcoWorld Watamu recycling center, to participate in beach clean-ups and spend time in the Marine Park with expert Marine Biologists to explain about the devastating impact that plastic pollution is having on the delicate coral reefs.
Stays at Hemingways Watamu cost from $250 per room per night based on two sharing on a B&B basis. www.hemingways-collection.com
MARINE CONSERVATION IN RAJA AMPAT
One of the most extraordinary environments on the planet, Raja Ampat is as remote as you get – located off the northwest tip of the Bird’s Head Peninsula of West Papua – and is recognised as the world’s most bio-diverse marine ecosystem. Pelorus guests can live aboard a classic phinisi yacht and enjoy the beautiful blue all day long, as well as working with indigenous communities in conservation efforts. A Pelorus naturalist guide will also accompany, assisting with identification and the tagging of species as guests cruise between the four main islands, Salawati, Batanta, Waigeo and Misool and the 1,500 wild isles that surround them. The region has 1,200 species of fish, 550 species of hard and soft coral, and is a shelter for six of the world’s seven species of sea turtle…deep blue heaven.
Pelorus offers a week’s expedition from $129,000 (vessel suggestion – Dunia Baru). This price includes the yacht charter and a selection of experiences, but not international flights. Final costs will depend on type and level of experience. www.pelorusx.com / +44 (0)203 848 5425
EXPLORE THE RED SEA IN ALL ITS GLORY
Pelorus has developed a conservation dive program in association with the Cousteau Society & Cordio (Coastal Oceans Research and Development – Indian Ocean) to monitor some of the lesser known reefs off the coast of Sudan and Eritrea. The experience will focus on coral cover, algal cover, coral reef fish and pelagic fish, as well as monitoring the rare Arabian red sea shark. These waters are host to a myriad of marine life from anthias and butterfly fish, to hammer head sharks, manta rays and shoals of surgeon fish, snappers, bumphead parrots, dolphins, turtles and much more. The atolls are pristine, untouched by man, and therefore visibility is exceptional, the reefs are undamaged, and the marine life is prolific. With water temperatures between 24 - 26° C in the winter and 30° C in the summer what could be better for a guest looking to engage in hands-on marine conservation.
Pelorus offers a week’s expedition from $12,000 per person (excluding yacht charter costs) based on 12 travelling. www.pelorusx.com / +44 (0)203 848 5425
JOIN THE SARDINE RUN IN SOUTH AFRICA
This wild and unpredictable natural event is a spectacle of lifetime. By traveling with Pelorus, guests will have undivided access to the very best marine biologists and conservationists in order to witness one of the most breath-taking wonders of the natural world. Guests can enter the water with dolphins whipping the bait balls, watch thousands of gannets diving and whales feeding through shoals of scattered fish. Travelers can also extend the trip to enjoy snorkeling in remote atolls, swimming with sharks and taking part in reef conservation.
Pelorus offers a week’s experience from $8,000 per person. Accommodation is land based but guests will be in the water each day, following the bait balls. Good level of fitness and dive experience recommended. www.pelorusx.com / +44 (0)203 848 5425
SPOT ORCAS IN THE SEYCHELLES
In March 2020, Blue Safari Seychelles announced its first ever sighting of Orcas off the west coast of Alphonse Island. The pod, which comprised of around seven Orcas, highlights just how much there still is to learn about the remarkable marine life that inhabits the Indian Ocean. Known for its commitment to the protection and preservation of the marine and land environment, Blue Safari Seychelles is sharing data from this encounter with their partner non-profit organization, ICS (Island Conservation Society). Guests staying and diving at Alphonse Island can hope for a similar encounter in the future.
Turquoise Holidays offers eight nights at Alphonse Island from £5,195 per person. This includes one night at Eden Bleu in Mahe on arrival followed by 7 nights in a Beach Bungalow at Alphonse Island Lodge including all meals, water, tea & coffee, non-motorised and land-based activities, snorkeling equipment, stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, fly fishing rods and reel rental, return flights Mahe to Alphonse and return international flights from the UK to Mahe with Etihad via Abu Dhabi. www.turquoiseholidays.co.uk / 01494 678 400
CORAL RESTORATION AT KOKOMO ISLAND RESORT, FIJI
Guests can learn how to ensure the Kokomo Island house reef continues to thrive, led by the Marine Biology Team and Marine Department, through coral restoration as just one part of the outstanding conservation projects offered. Guests will discover how to identify heat resilient corals, before planting them into a nursery and transplanting them back onto the Kokomo house reef. To date, Kokomo has transplanted over 300 corals and currently houses over 1,300 corals in the nursery. This is a great hands-on experience, which allows guests to play their part in environmental sustainability. Other experiences include the Kokomo Acoustic Manta Project – the first of its kind in Fiji – sustainable fishing initiatives, sea foraging for new natural food sources and a seawater desalination plant.
Turquoise Holidays (www.turquoiseholidays.co.uk / 01494 678 400) offers seven nights at Kokomo Island Resort from £9,995 per person. This price includes a 10% saving for bookings made 60 days before travel. This represents a saving of £2,300 per couple. The price includes 7 nights in a One Bedroom Beachfront Villa, all meals and soft drinks, an introductory spa treatment, one tank Scuba Dive, international flights & seaplane transfers. It is valid for travel until 31st March 2020 (excluding festive period).