COMO Maalifushi, the pristine island resort in the Maldives’ Thaa Atoll, is now offering guests the opportunity to get close to whale sharks in their natural habitat.
COMO Maalifushi is only a 20-minute boat ride away from a whale shark feeding area. Guests can watch these majestic creatures from the deck of a boat, or take a more adventurous turn snorkeling beside them.
This has been made possible through COMO Maalifushi’s new partnership with ECOCEAN, a not-for-profit research organization dedicated to conserving the world’s whale sharks. The partnership will be a long-term project, aimed at understanding the numbers and movements of the whale sharks found in Thaa Atoll, of which little is known at the moment.
Whale sharks have individual markings in the same way that humans have individual fingerprints, so ECOCEAN is using photo-identification to better understand how many are in the area and how often they are seen. Satellite tracking, using a custom-designed, minimal-impact attachment method for the tags, also allows the creature’s position to be transmitted when their fin comes out of the water during feeding.
“Seeing whale sharks feeding under the boats in Thaa Atoll at night is an incredible experience. We hope our research will tell us more about their behavior in Thaa Atoll, and ultimately contribute to global knowledge and conservation of the species,” said Dr. Brad Norman, Director and Lead Scientist at ECOCEAN.
COMO Maalifushi’s Whale Shark Excursion is available from December to April. As this activity is dependent on the behavior of the whale sharks, sightings cannot be guaranteed. However, guests can sign-up to the excursion when they arrive at the resort and will be called to the boat when one of these docile creatures is spotted nearby.
The Whale Shark Excursion starts from US $150 for guests watching from the deck of a boat and US $250 for those wishing to snorkel.