Travel has always been linked to the ocean. It was by taking to the seven seas that we discovered new worlds, with explorers racing to be the first to set foot on unmapped territory. Even since we set our sights on the sky, we have gazed down from aeroplane windows at the bounty of blue waters that glimmer below, making up an astounding seventy-one per cent of the Earth’s surface.
To this day, our oceans inspire us to see more, learn more and do more. From savouring sparkling sunsets over Mediterranean waters, to riding the surf on Pacific waves or gently paddling the Caribbean coast, we all show our love for our world’s waters – which is why we are fully on board to celebrate World Oceans Day!
Co-ordinated by The Ocean Project, World Oceans Day has been promoted annually, with advisors from across the globe, to encourage the conservation and protection of our marine life and to help keep our water clean. This year, the theme is ‘Our Oceans, Our Future’, and is focused on reducing the plastic pollution and litter that is increasingly threatening the beauty and health of our planet.
There are many ways to get involved, with events and get-togethers being held across countries both far, near and at home, bringing art projects, workshops, beach-cleanings and much more to those willing to lend a hand.
However, we think one of the best ways to show your appreciation for our marine wonders is to see them for yourself, and allow yourself to be inspired to preserve their magnificence for generations to come. Read on to discover our favourite eco-friendly ways to enjoy the ocean and maybe even help it at the same time.
Save Our Turtles!
One of the friendliest residents of the sea, it’s even more sad to consider that the adorable Hawksbill Turtle is now listed as critically endangered after inhabiting the planet for the last one-hundred-million years. While their sponge-based diet helps maintain the health of coral reefs and the sea bed, they are now threatened with loss of their natural habitats and have become sought-after due to the illegal trade of their beautifully patterned shells.
Luckily, there are many places you can go to help these little critters out. Head to Jumby Bay Island in Antigua to visit the Jumby Bay Hawksbill Project, where since 1987 researchers and conservationists have patrolled the beach to help protect the turtles’ nests and ensure hatchlings make it to sea.
Over in the natural paradise of the Seychelles, Fregate Island Private also works hard to safeguard their nests, and hosts resident conservationists to teach guests all about the beautiful eco-system of the island. Join them, and seek out any tiny hatchlings emerging from their shells, to witness the first steps of their journey.
A Case for our Coral Reef
Coral reefs make up some of our ocean’s biggest spectacles. These ‘rainforests of the sea’ provide a home for around twenty-five per cent of all marine species, and are critical to the survival of our planet’s array of fish, invertebrates, algae and microorganisms that make our sub-aquatic kingdom so special.
Our most famous and largest coral reef system is, of course, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Unfortunately, scientists have also declared that as much as two-thirds have experienced the damaging effects of coral bleaching as the result of increasing sea temperatures. To see this natural wonder before it’s too late, Lizard Island is perfectly positioned to snorkel or dive amid one of the world’s most diverse eco-systems, and has its own research station that has produced over a thousand publications on the reef.
If you really want to get hands on with saving the reef, Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa in the Maldives is proudly part of a pioneering coral reef regeneration project. Here, guests can transplant their own piece of coral, and watch it grow once they have returned home via their Marine Savers website.
Dive to Discover
The magical thing about our oceans is that the beauty is hidden underneath. Diving below the surface is essential to seeing the treasures we are working so hard to protect, allowing us to see what is at stake if we allow the damaging effects of pollution to jeopardise the trove of marine life that thrives below.
Baa Atoll in the Maldives is a great place to go to witness the stunning sight of the underwater world. This UNESCO World Biosphere is home to a fantastically diverse array of marine life, allowing visitors to come face-to-face with hoards of tropical aquatic dwellers. Soneva Fushi is in a prime spot for making the most of this spectacular setting, partnering with Soleni Dive Centre for the opportunity to explore over thirty dive sites. You can also receive advice from their resident freediving expert and take a trip to Hanifaru Bay, where you can find the world’s largest population of Manta Rays.
Conservation Projects Worth Travelling For
While we all like to go on holiday to have a good time and relax, there are many resorts that are equally committed to helping the environment as they do so. Positive Luxury is a platform that awards brands who demonstrate their passion for sustainability with their ‘butterfly mark’, giving eco-conscious travellers a standard to trust when seeing the world.
The aforementioned Soneva Fushi has been awarded the butterfly mark for its environmentally-friendly policies, as has Song Saa Private Island in Cambodia, which has a mission statement dedicated to the rehabilitation, protection and growth of the country’s ocean habitats. Its extensive project is aimed at helping the local community with schools, doctors and medicines, as well as operating the Tropical Marine Conservation Programme.
Four Seasons Resort at Landaa Giraavaru also hosts its own conservation project at its Marine Discover Centre. Pioneering research into the Manta Ray population and the coral reef landscape, guests can experience once-in-a-lifetime encounters with creatures of the deep. Especially good for children, little ones can visit the Fish Lab, help transplant coral frames and be introduced to snorkelling in the Coral Garden.
Over on the Atlantic side, Acqualina Resort & Spa on the Beach in Florida offers an award-winning children’s program called AcquaMarine that helps young minds become inspired by the ocean by giving them the chance to create an edible coral polyp, while The Ritz-Carlton, Naples has partnered with Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Future Society to introduce children to the importance of taking care of our sea friends.
The ocean’s future is, after all, in their little hands!
For more information on any of the resorts or destinations mentioned, please call our expert Travel Consultants to enquire about or book your eco-conscious luxury holiday.