Happy World Oceans Day 2018! In honour of celebrating our oceans and all who call them home, this year’s international action focus is to prevent plastic pollution and encourage solutions for a healthy ocean. There are some simple things we can do as individuals, to help this cause. It starts from something seemingly small like saying ‘no’ to plastic straws and one-time-use plastic utensils. Some people have resolved to carrying around their own metal straws, but for a more natural option, there are also straws made from bamboo. Portable, reusable individual cutlery kits have been around for longer and can be found at many places like Daiso or online.
For folks at The Andaman Langkawi, however, World Oceans Day is a time to remember and reinforce their efforts in coral conservation. The 2004 tsunami was incredibly destructive to the shores of Teluk Datai, where the resort sits. Ever since then, The Andaman Langkawi has been a strong advocate and practitioner of coral conservation and replanting to help rebuild the reef that surrounds the cove. In fact, the resort has its very own Coral Nursery where rehabilitation and implantation of new corals take place.
When the 2004 tsunami hit the cove, coral bits were broken off and washed up to shore. Other pieces were thrown around by the wave action, causing harm to the surviving live corals. To help prevent and minimise the destruction, guests and resort ambassadors go coral-clearing when the tide is low enough. The broken, dead coral bits are then brought back to the Coral Nursery, where they’re ‘recycled’ to become a mineral provider for transplanted living corals.
Hotel guests can have a go at transplanting the corals too. Little blobs of glue are dabbed on the mineral base block, then all you’d have to do is stick the live coral bits on them. For couples hosting their wedding at the resort, a special heart-shaped mineral base will be prepared for the significant occasion. Once the coral bits are stuck on, the block is placed in the Coral Nursery for some time to allow the corals to grow a little. Every six months to a year, these blocks are placed back into the reef at Teluk Datai to help gradually repopulate the cove.
The Coral Nursery itself is an attraction of the resort. Guests can request for a complimentary private guided snorkel between certain times. Each participant will be suited in a lifejacket, and floated around the nursery by a guide as he or she provides a running commentary on all the sights. There are some friendly little fishes in there, including the ever-famous clownfish, as well as a good variety of corals. Look out for the cheeky toe nibblers! They don’t have teeth, so don’t worry.
There is also a feeding session for the fish in the nursery, so check with the resort staff on the exact timing to participate. Typically, it’s at 5.30pm every other day. For those who want to visit the nearby coral reef (in the actual sea), there are snorkels, fins, and life jackets available at the Water Sports shack for free. It’s a good idea to ask the resort staff when’s the best time to go snorkeling, as the waters might be cloudy depending on the tide. If visibility is not on your side however, there’s always the option of kayaking to the nearby island, Anak Datai.
Should the weather not permit visits to the Coral Nursery or the coral reef, there’s another way to learn about the corals and marine life of the area. The resort’s Marine Life Laboratory is a fascinating little hub of knowledge. It’s open between 2 – 5pm daily, and an expert will be there to explain all about the specimens on hand. To protect our oceans, we must first learn more about them, after all.
We salute The Andaman Langkawi’s efforts in coral conservation and hope that more of these programmes will be adopted by resorts or companies that have the means. Besides being a great opportunity to spread awareness and help educate others, the availability of experiencing doing something good for the environment is an attraction in itself. Of course, the hotel’s beautiful rooms and V Botanical Spa treatments overlooking the bay are things to look forward to too.
Find out more about The Andaman Langkawi’s coral conservation efforts, or call them at +604 959 1088 for any other enquiries.