Students go snorkeling at Soneva Fushi to mark World Oceans Day

A Baa atoll student prepares to go snorkeling on Soneva Fushi resort's house reef as part of the World Oceans Day celebrations. ET PHOTOS: Thoriq Ab. Rahman

Baa atoll students prepare to snorkel on Soneva Fushi resort’s house reef as part of World Oceans Day celebrations. ET PHOTO: Thoriq Abdul Rahman

 

Yesterday (Monday, June 8) was the World Oceans Day marked by United Nations (UN) to celebrate and conserve the seas.

As Maldives’ most ecosystems are marine-based, the day was of significant importance to the archipelagic nation of coral atolls and its hundreds of islands and countless sand banks.

Soneva Fushi, a resort operated in Maldives’ Baa atoll, which is a UNESCO-designated biosphere reserve in the country, marked the day through its ‘Learn-to-swim’ program aimed at familiarizing the atoll’s students to the oceans and inculcating in them a sense of the importance of protecting the environment.

A Baa atoll student prepares to go snorkeling on Soneva Fushi resort's house reef as part of the World Oceans Day celebrations. ET PHOTOS: Thoriq Ab. Rahman

A Baa atoll student prepares to go snorkeling on Soneva Fushi resort’s house reef as part of the World Oceans Day celebrations. ET PHOTO: Thoriq Abdul Rahman

 

Over the past two months, the resort trained 44 students of Baa Atoll Education Center, the BAEC that is based in the atoll’s capital island Eydhafushi, and 14 students from the atoll’s Maalhos island, to swim and appreciate marine ecology through the swimming program which included snorkeling on the resort’s house reef.

“Undersea is cool. This is the first time I snorkeled with a mask and fins. I saw many fishes and corals, too. Actually, only now I saw the real underwater. A very big thanks to Soneva,” said Ifham, a Grade 3 student, after the snorkeling activity.

Soneva “Hosts” instructors and volunteers taught the children to swim under the Learn-to-swim program.

Certificates were also awarded to eight people who had trained to become swimming instructors under the program. They were trained by Maldives Lifeguard Association.

A Baa atoll student prepares to go snorkeling on Soneva Fushi resort's house reef as part of the World Oceans Day celebrations. ET PHOTOS: Thoriq Ab. Rahman

Baa atoll students prepare to snorkel on Soneva Fushi resort’s house reef as part of World Oceans Day celebrations. ET PHOTO: Thoriq Abdul Rahman

 

Commemorative shields were bestowed by Soneva Fushi on Maldives Police Service (MPS), Maldives Lifeguard Association, BAEC and Maalhos’ school in appreciation of their special assistance to the Learn-to-swim program.

“Despite living in an island nation less than one meter above sea level, many Maldivians grow up without learning to swim. While this poses a clear risk to life, it also means that children gather little environmental awareness of the marine ecosystems that surround them. Soneva’s Learn-to-swim Program is designed to help the children become more confident in the water and inspire a new generation of Maldivians to protect their endangered coral reefs,” the resort had said in a press release on Friday.

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