A unique summer conservation holiday in the Maldives, from 19 to 25 August 2022
The ocean surrounds Vakkaru Maldives and is one major reason many people return to the five-star resort again and again. Set on its own white-sand island, Vakkaru is in the middle of the Baa Atoll, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve since 2017 and home to a rich diversity of marine life, including manta rays, sharks and a variety of fish species. Guests are able to explore this fascinating underwater world through a variety of activities including snorkelling and diving on the house reef, in blue holes or nearby Hanifaru Bay, whilst learning about the life aquatic from the resort’s resident marine biologist.
This summer, however, Vakkaru takes a deeper dive into ocean conservation with a unique week-long residency by Oliver Steeds. Oliver is a former investigative journalist and the founder and mission director of Nekton, a science-based organisation that works with ocean nations to protect the seas and increase humanity’s knowledge of marine life.
With marine conservation at the forefront of the climate-biodiversity crises, this new experience brings together a pioneering figure in environmental research with one of the Maldives’ best resorts. During the week, guests of all ages can participate in a variety of activities to learn more about ocean life and its conservation in the Maldives, with workshops, cinema screenings and two expeditions, as well as sustainably sourced dinners and cocktail evenings.
From 19 to 25 August, A Deep Sea Odyssey will include two Young Ambassadors of the Ocean workshops for children of different ages (7-11 and 12-15), with Oliver leading a beach walk to discover the island’s land and seascape, drawing on films from his expeditions to inspire love for the sea and passion to protect it.
Two sea-going expeditions, on board a yacht and speedboat, will take guests to various stop-offs around the atoll to snorkel or dive with Oliver and Vakkaru’s resident marine biologist. During the evening, Oliver play host to beachside movie nights, screening documentaries such as Seaspiracy, Chasing Coral and Blue Planet.
The week will begin with a cocktail evening for adults, with bespoke marine-inspired cocktails from Vakkaru’s mixology team, while two dinners – one in the island’s Organic Garden, the other by a beach bonfire, will be informal occasions to speak to Oliver and learn more about his work and passions.
A portion of revenue generated from the various sustainably sourced dinners and other activities hosted during Oliver’s residency at Vakkaru will go towards a relevant charitable cause for Baa Atoll’s marine conservation, in collaboration with the Biosphere Reserve Office.
“Exploration is the discovery of new knowledge that can help humanity move forward,’ says Oliver Steeds. ‘The ocean is the beating heart of our planet, it’s the most important part of the planet, but it’s the least known. There’s never been a more important time to explore the ocean”.
“We are honoured to welcome Oliver Steeds for a week-long residency at Vakkaru Maldives this summer,” says Vakkaru’s General Manager, Iain McCormack. “Educational and fun, A Deep Sea Odyssey will be a chance for guests to learn more about the Maldives’ beautiful marine life from a real expert in his field. And all from the luxurious comfort of our beautiful five-star resort – a truly immersive experience in the best sense. With the growing post-lockdown desire for meaningful, experiential travel, Oliver’s residency promises to be a rewarding holiday that will stay in the mind of our guests for years to come.”
About Oliver Steeds and Nekton
Oliver is the founder, Chief Executive and Mission Director of Nekton - a UK charitable foundation with a mission to explore and protect the ocean. The name was inspired by a legendary 1960 expedition by ocean pioneer Don Walsh, who was the first to descent 11,000 metres to full ocean depth and was called ‘Project Nekton’. Since its launch in 2016, Nekton has helped protect an area of ocean equivalent to twice the size of Germany, discovered the Rariphotic Zone (a major new ecosystem from 130 to 300metre depths) and has pioneered live submersible broadcasting including the first subsea documentary series, Presidential Address and newscasts.
As a submersible pilot, Steeds has embarked on various ocean-going missions including around Bermuda and the North Atlantic, and most recently, in the Seychelles. In autumn 2022, Nekton will lead in First Descent: Maldives, an expedition in partnership with the Government of Maldives to establish a scientific baseline of ocean life down to 1000metres and inform the protection of immense new areas of Maldivian ocean.
Prior to Nekton, Oliver was a critically acclaimed international investigative journalist for many years (with NBC, ABC, Channel 4, Al Jazeera, Newsweek), and presenter of major historical, investigative and adventure series for Discovery Channels and others. He is also the co-founder of the educational non-profit, Encounter EDU and the Ocean’s Academy.