Soaring across the enticing, picture-perfect atolls toward Hurawalhi has one wondering what lies beneath the sparkling surface of the Indian Ocean. While an astounding variety of fish is a given, coral reefs around the resort are known to exceed divers’ and snorkellers’ expectations with some truly unique, rare or unusual marine life. The more time you spend looking for fascinating creatures, the higher your chances are to see something exceptional.
The uncontested winner of the ‘Weird and Wonderful’ award is the guitarfish. One – we like to refer to him as Elvis – can sometimes be seen in the sandy areas of a nearby dive sites, and recently also came to take a closer look at guests enjoying their lunch 5.8 meters below the ocean.
Ornate eagle ray
This species of eagle ray appears to be naturally uncommon and is rarely observed, making Lhaviyani Atoll a unique place as every now and then we do get to see this huge and distinctly patterned ray. Together with the whip-like tail, an ornate eagle ray can be as long as 3 meters.
While mobula ray sightings are generally rare in the Maldives, Hurawalhi is extremely lucky that its house reef is a place that mobula rays regular pay visit to. In fact, Hurawalhi is the pioneer of the Maldives’ mobula ray research – our divers and snorkellers were the very first to report sightings to Manta Trust that officially started to collect data on mobula rays based on news about regular sightings at Hurawalhi.
The waters around Hurawalhi have been identified as one of the Maldives’ manta ray hot spots. With an average wingspan of 2.5-3 meters, mantas are incredibly graceful and elegant. Over 300 individuals have been identified in Lhaviyani Atoll, and we are keeping our fingers crossed for many new names to be added with the next plankton bloom when the mantas will again revel in the feeding frenzy in nearby lagoons.
A whopping one third of the country’s entire green sea turtle population lives in the lagoon and on reefs of Hurawalhi’s neighbouring island. Having such a large community of green sea turtles not only offers an amazing opportunity to see them in their natural environment, but it’s also rare given the fact that on the national level the predominating species is the hawksbill turtle.
Those who don’t want to get their hair wet don’t necessarily have to miss out on the spectacular marine life: pods of dolphins, baby sharks or eagle rays can often also be admired during your breakfast, spa treatment, Champagne sundowner or as you leisurely stroll around the island.