The Four Seasons properties in the Maldives are quite extraordinary: two resorts, a luxury yacht and a their own private island. But particularly interesting is their twice-annual Manta Trust Expedition onboard Four Seasons Explorer, where guests are at the forefront of cutting-edge research into manta rays. It’s a rare and thrilling opportunity to join in this incredible field of science and spend time up close with these creatures.
Improve your free-diving technique, learn how to take ID photos and help record critical environmental information as you are immersed in every aspect of the research experience. Suitable for divers and non-divers alike, including families with children as young as eight years old, the seven-night Mantra Trust Expeditions package is available August 23 to August 30, 2018 and September 6 to September 13, 2018.
Dr. Guy Stevens, one of the world’s leading manta ray experts, heads up the Maldivian Manta Ray Project (MMPR) that he first established at Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru. His work is now at the center of the world’s largest manta ray charity, The Manta Trust, and his team operates projects in more than 20 different countries around the world.
Four Seasons Explorer’s Manta Trust Expeditions offer a rare insight into the pioneering research that Guy’s team has developed over the years. Participants of all ages are encouraged to free-dive and snorkel with mantas alongside a team of specialist marine biologists, recording critical environmental information, taking manta ID photos, and joining in the ID process – including naming any newly sighted mantas.
“From population size, migratory routes and life history strategies, to social interactions, growth rates, life span, reproduction and more, every time we enter the water with manta rays, we improve our knowledge of them – and the global steps required to protect them,” shares Guy. “Escorting these trips has the added benefit of transporting me back to that incredible moment when I first swam with a manta ray as guests have their own first manta encounter. It was life-changing for me and I never tire of seeing the impact it has on others too.”
Four Seasons Explorer is a floating PADI 5 Star dive centre and a Manta Trust research lab (not to mention a championship surfing venue). It offers Four Seasons-style accommodation and activities for up to 22 guests, a team of 25 adventure-seeking crew, effortless access to up to six different atolls and many less-expected resort-style benefits too. Spa treatments (on deck or a secluded sandbank); remote island village visits; desert island BBQs; kayaking, wakeboarding, waterskiing and windsurfing; handline or bottom-line fishing from a dhoni; sunbathing decks; evening stargazing by telescope; gourmet dining; and chill-out days on snuggly sofas in the large air-conditioned lounge.
Newly refurbished in 2017, the boat is 128 foot long with 10 State Rooms and signature Explorer Suite. The experience can be combined with a stay at one of the other properties Four Seasons offers in the Maldives as well.
Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru is one of these options. This resort sits at close proximity to some of the most renowned manta hotspots in the world. They have a dedicated team of researchers who work tirelessly to protect and preserve the manta ray.
The resort offers two unique experiences:
Manta-on-Call service: a popular guests experience where guests are given a 'manta phone', it rings whenever mantas are sighted nearby; and a speedboat on standby to take them for a thrilling snorkeling adventure!
Manta Ray Scientist for a Day experience: an adventure-meets-research immersion into the world of manta conservation. Guests can free dive, take photos, collect environmental data whilst cruising the UNESCO Biosphere.