The Coolest Diving Souvenir You Can’t Take Home

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You may have snuck a seashell or a couple of T-shirts into your carry-on bag after your last diving trip, but did you know there’s a way to leave a permanent mark on a dive site that will last years after your vacation is over?

The Coolest Ecofriendly Dive Trip Souvenir Ever!

It’s probably the coolest ecofriendly dive trip souvenir from a vacation ever, and it’s available in the Maldives — a diving Mecca that’s at the top of many scuba divers’ bucket lists.

The area is becoming renowned for an emphasis on ecotourism, and for good reason. With stunning atolls and beautiful beaches, the Maldives is an incredible slice of natural paradise.

Sea Turtle Identification Project and the Maldivian Manta Ray Project

Two local resorts that are popular with divers, the Four Seasons Kuda Huraa and the Four Seasons Resort Maldives Landaa Giraavaru, are upping the ante.

Both of the resorts have made a public commitment to sustainable tourism.

They are the permanent home to branches of both the Sea Turtle Identification Project as well as the Manta Trust, which works towards manta ray protection and conservation.

Grow Your Own Reef?

In the past decade, the resorts have been getting their diving and water-loving guests involved through Reefscapers, a program that has been established since 2005, and which essentially allows vacationers to plant and grow their own reef!

Heading underwater to start a reef from scratch sounds like a massive undertaking, but the process is surprisingly simple.

How Does Reefscapers Work?

Essentially, program participants take pieces of broken coral that has been removed from an established reef via a coastal storm, or human accident and affix them to a “frame.” This action is similar to planting seeds in the ground, and once the frame has been set with coral pieces, it’s placed in a barren rocky or sandy area along the sea floor where the coral can grow.

Because of the Maldives’ warm and unpolluted waters, the growth rate is amazingly fast. Coral develops in this corner of the world an average of 5”-6” annually, so it’s possible for visitors to return a year, five years, or ten years down the road and see amazing progress of their initial coral-affixed-to-frame “seeds.”

How Do You Identify “Your” Reef?

Of course, the question arises that once you have your seeds planted on the sea floor — next to potentially dozens of other coral gardens — how do you know which reef is yours?

Reefscapers has a solution for this too. Every coral frame that’s placed under the water is registered with the guest’s name, as well as the GPS coordinates of where exactly it was submerged. Progress photographs can be available by email, and with the GPS directions in hand, visitors can return to their personal reef again and again in the years to come.

It’s a fascinating idea and one that’s gaining a ton of traction. To date, there are more than 2,000 newly planted reefs off the coast of the Maldives, and there’s no sign that this cool new trend of creating an eco-souvenir will be slowing down in the immediate future.

Leave Your Mark and Help Rebuild Reefs for Future Generations

What greater experience and “souvenir” to bring home? On your next Maldives vacation, in between the incredible dive trips and the Happy Hour cocktails, reserve a little time to leave you mark.  By creating and planting your own coral reef, you’re essentially allowing generations of divers to benefit from your trip, and telling the world that you were there.

Scuba Toys supports any efforts to promote education and environmental awareness for divers and non-divers alike. Let’s go diving!

Would you like to see similar “reef garden” programs in other regions and if so, where? Let us know in the comments section below!

Image attribution: https://www.flickr.com/photos/skyrim/

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Article Name
The Coolest Diving Souvenir You Can't Take Home
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Instead of the usual t-shirt or hat souvenirs, imagine getting to help establish a new reef you can revisit in one of the most beautiful dive destinations in the world, the Maldives?
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4 responses to “The Coolest Diving Souvenir You Can’t Take Home”

  1. Tara Nicols says:

    Can you talk about the impact this has on the oceanic environment and why this is important, for those who do not know?

  2. Hind Marina says:

    It’s too bad the Gulf of Mexico is so cloudy because it would be lovely to have something like that close to home.

  3. Lars Michelson says:

    Are there different types of ecoreefs or are they all pretty much structured the same way?

  4. Trudy Billings says:

    What a lovely idea. That would make a beautiful gift for someone who loves the ocean.

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