After the successful opening of a multi-functional Marine Biology Centre on the island, LUX* Maldives moves a step forward and invites guests to a new type of exploration of the underwater world of South Ari Atoll, by hosting, between 14 - 20 May 2012, the first ‘Underwater Festival’ in the Maldives.
‘This time it’s all about water’ says the General Manager and passionate free-diver Dominik Ruhl ‘we wanted to draw the curtains of the underwater world to our guests by giving them the unique opportunity not only to dive some of the most beautiful dive sites on the planet, but also to meet the experts of the sea and learn how to bring these treasures home’.
Boasting a gathering of marine experts on a global scale, the Festival highlights intense sessions of underwater photography led by award-winning photographers, ground-breaking introductory courses of free-diving and the innovative technique of fluo night-diving. An intense ensemble of water activities stretched over one week of lighter learning for keen divers, photography fanatics and water enthusiastic or just simply curious guests in search of a holiday with a difference.
With a strong focus on underwater photography, the festival’s attendees have the opportunity to join training sessions with the experts throughout the week. From his hectic Parisian life, the multi-award winning underwater photographer Pascal Kobeh joins the festival as member of the jury and coach. ‘I started shooting underwater pictures while I was a diving instructor here in the Maldives; I haven’t stopped since then, and it became by profession’ says Kobeh; ‘it brought me here today with the same passion I had ten years ago and I am very excited to join the festival’.
Adding dimension to the event, LUX* Maldives hosts the founder of world renowned free-diving Team Mayol, Jean-Jacques Mayol, son of the free-diving legend and subject of Luc Besson’s cult film “The Big Blue” (Le Grand Bleu) Jacques Mayol. Offering introductory free-diving sessions to the attendees, Mayol enables a personalized rediscovery of apnoea techniques, without any spirit of competition, including meditation and breathing exercises. Attendees can leave the snorkel aside and join his sessions throughout the week.
Set amidst an impressive variety of dive sites, pristine waters and frolicking marine life, LUX* Maldives partners with Eurodivers during the festival to launch a night-diving technique operated for the first time in the Maldives: The fluo dive. By using a set of special filters on masks and torches, fluo-dives enhance the diving experience of the festival’s most daring attendees through experiencing the complex phenomenon of colour conversion.
Even the most determined divers must surface now and then, and for those moments on land, LUX* Maldives hosts stimulating and interesting workshops and forums during the festival with the resident marine biologist Chiara Fumagalli. Having monitored the marine life within the South Ari Marine Protected Area, Chiara presents an array of insightful facts with tailored projections and discussions under the stars.
Documentaries about the biodiversity of marine life, engaging underwater films and news regarding the ongoing research on the friendly whale sharks are just some of the topics of conversations in a toes-inthe-sand setting.
As there is no competition without a generous reward, the Underwater Festival’s attendees have the opportunity to win several prizes. The best pictures taken during the week and submitted to the professional judging of the Festival’s jury, can bring much more than fabulous memories to the photographers-including substantial prizes such as a 5 nights complimentary stay in one of the
LUX* Island Resorts.