It’s probably not even something that you consider before packing your bags, but marine life can often be a holiday highlight. As Brits, we don’t see sea creatures that often and so when we do the magnitude and variety of them can leave us overwhelmed. Whether you’re looking at the undeniable majesty of a whale, or the kaleidoscopic patterns of a passing school of fish, the ocean is a wonderland of hidden beauty. Families will be delighted to hear that this sea life can be found close to hotels, whether in a marine park or in their natural habitat.
Sharm el Sheikh is a prime spot for sea life. Egypt is certainly an impressive country with a wealth of history including – the pyramids, the Nile, the monoliths, monuments, mosques and museums – however it is Sharm’s status as a premier resort for diving and nightlife that has seen it become the fastest growing holiday resort in the country.
Sharm el Sheikh has over forty diving sites, so there is lots to choose from, the bulk of which stretch from the Straits of Tiran to the Ras Mohammed National Park. Divers don’t only enjoy a plethora of sea life, but also shipwrecks and amazing coral reefs, which all combine to make the resort truly unique and memorable. Jacques Cousteau famously uncovered the SS Thistlegorm wreck here in the early 1950s.
Shark species have inhabited the Red Sea for thousands of years and you can see many of these around the resort. Grey reef, leopard sharks, hammerheads, whale sharks and white-tip sharks are all best seen from Sharm’s semi-submarine tours. These take place frequently stopping at the fantastic underwater reef sites, which are home to hundreds of types of coral and colourful fishes. You don’t even need to get your hair wet.
You can discover this underwater world of sea creatures, by venturing beyond the hotels, shopping centres and bars and exploring the natural surroundings on your holiday.
The Maldives archipelago consists of around 1200 islands covering an area of approximately 800 kilometers in the Indian Ocean, and they are generally thought to be some of the most beautiful tropical islands on our planet. These islands, and indeed this country, are threatened by rising sea levels since they are all only a couple of meters above sea level.
Just a small increase in sea levels would cause most, if not all, of the islands be submerged by the Indian Ocean, and those that would still have land above sea level would be virtually uninhabitable. Maldives resorts like Baros island, Filitheyo island and Kuredu island which are very popular with thousands of tourists each years may be lost to the sea within a matter of decades.
As well as the threat from sea-level change the islands are also under a very real threat from an increase in ocean temperature. Increases in water temperature could destroy the coral reefs that play a large part in protecting these islands from waves.
Whilst global warming has tended to be a point of conjecture among environmentalists, the unprecedented event of the rapid melting of Arctic sea ice in 2007 has caused many environmentalists to agree that warming is not only inevitable, but is happening more rapidly than was originally suspected.
James Hansen, a leading climatologist, published a research paper in 2008 which demonstrated that the safe atmospheric limit for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was 350 parts per million, anything higher bringing about a negative envrionmental impacts. The level of CO2 is already at a concentration of 390 ppm and rising.
The Maldives are not the only country under immediate threat, countries like Bangladesh are already suffering flooding to the sea levels have risen in the last decade; forests across western North America and Europe are succumbing to non-native pests that are moving into these warmer areas.
The fact that many countries are already suffering the effects of global warming is probably the main reason why no one is totally happy with the recent pledge of the G8 nations to take steps to try and restrict temperature increase to 2 degrees and atmospheric concentration of Carbon Dioxide to 450 parts per million. A few years ago, these levels might have been realistic but current scientific findings indicate that they are out of date.
Later this month, a 100 world leaders will meet at New York for the United Nations Climate Change Summit, whilst on 24th October 2009, the Maldives will hold an underwater political demonstration with snorkelers and divers taking signs down to the coral reefs to publicize what is at stake. Its not totally clear at present but it seems inevitable that holidays to the Maldives may be over in the future.
The Maldives coral island atolls are located in the tropics, are influenced by monsoons but enjoy a lovely sunny climate and are warm all year round.
The islands of the Maldives host some of the most diverse marine life to be seen on our planet, and it is therefore no wonder that they have become a center of excellence for snorkeling and diving alike.
Resorts such as Bandos and Filitheyo island offer diving for all abilities and snorkeling trips are scheduled on a daily basis from the diving center to the many surrounding reefs.
One of the most striking things about visiting many Maldive island resorts are the breath-taking beaches which often offer unbroken walks around the whole island. Another bonus of course is that you can often walk these beaches without seeing another sole.
What is amazing about many resorts is that they have been developed with a contemporary style without compromising any of their natural beauty and tranquil charm. You will find that reception areas are generally complete with modern conveniences such as internet hotspots, but the tropical beauty of the islands are unspoilt, with tranquil accommodation and private beach areas shaded by ubiquitous tall palms and other indigenous vegetation.
Of course, many of us visit the Maldives because of the promise of the tranquil accomodation, namely the water villas. In the resorts of Bandos, their are 48 circular-shaped Beach villas, each is two-storey, with an upstairs bedroom complete with sea balcony. These rooms have a very superior feel, with the bathrooms half inside and half outside, complete with thatched jacuzzi, this would make a visit to the Maldives special for anyone.
Many Maldives resorts also cater specially for getting married during your holiday with wedding parties that can be pre-arranged in advance. Bandos island resort pushes the boat out, so to speak, by offering the “Kuda Bandos Sunset Wedding” featuring a traditional island ceremony complete with a private cruise for the newlyweds on a Dhoni (Maldivian boat).