Acclaimed South Ari Atoll house reef praised by veteran Maldivian divemaster at Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives
The South Ari Atoll, declared a Marine Protected Area (SAMPA) by the Maldivian government in 2009, is home to vast acres of vibrant coral reefs where small and large pelagic fish species thrive, including one of the area’s magnificent gentle giants, ‘Fernando’.
Since opening our doors 14 years ago, Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives staff and guests have had the opportunity to see more and more marine species like these appear in our waters, as we have witnessed and supported the growth and rejuvenation of the reef, which now teems with diverse schools of fish throughout the seasons.
We had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Ali Hussain, a very special guest and qualified divemaster on his recent holiday at our resort, who left us with this most flattering commendation and important message that we are honoured to share with you.
“For the past 50 years I have been snorkelling and free diving in the Maldives and, compared to the coral I see in other atolls, I can honestly say I have never seen such rich marine life and coral treasures as in the house reefs belonging to Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives at South Ari Atoll.
I worked in another resort and as a boat captain for several safari boats in this area for 12 years, but the house reef here makes me truly proud to be both Maldivian and a diver. The best part is that it is located right at your doorstep, seconds away from your overwater villa, and readily accessible with no need to book a boat or excursion.
My heart overflowed with joy after discovering this marine haven, and I humbly ask every traveller who visits the Maldives to please safeguard our coral and our reefs.
If we have healthy reefs, you will see more fish and have more diverse marine life with which to swim, including our beautiful giants of the water – the whale shark! So, please be a #responsibletraveller and respect the rules when exploring the ocean so we can continue to enjoy this magical place together.”
- Mr Ali Hussain, Maldivian divemaster with 50 years of experience
With its strategic location amidst the flourishing reefs of the South Ari atoll, some of which showcase 3-metre wide table corals, Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives is a prime destination for spotting whale sharks year-round and is mere minutes from one of the finest shipwrecks in the Maldives, which has captured the hearts of divers and videographers from around the world.
The MV Kudhi Maa wreck features a 1200-ton, 52-metre-long Japanese cargo ship, which was built in 1968 and purposefully sunk by SUB AQUA Dive Center in partnership with Machchafushi Island Resort on 14th March 1999 for the pleasure of divers visiting this stunning destination. After 24 years, the enchanting wreck site is bursting with exotic marine life, including corals, frogfish, batfish, pufferfish, and large lionfish, as well as tiny sea creatures which make it a sought-after location for macro photography.
With the sparkling waters of the Indian Ocean attracting global holidaymakers every year, we remain committed to maintaining the well-being of our house reef for future generations through our coral restoration programmes. Discover the breathtaking world of our underwater playground and immerse yourself in a trove of natural wonders just steps from our award-winning property.
We look forward to welcoming you to our side of paradise at Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives, The Place to Be.