Male’, Maldives, 3rd April 2022 – The pandemic has caused a shift in priorities for the most discerning travellers, with guests looking for experiences that give meaning to their lives and spending their vacations more thoughtfully than ever before. Post-pandemic travel wish lists of elite travellers imply out-of-the-ordinary experiences as guests search for creative and outstanding ways to make the most of their trips with meaningful adventures and long-lasting memories to enrich the mind, body and soul.

The Nautilus deeply understands this mindset and has lovingly crafted “The Manta Ray Symposium” together with the resident marine biologist expert and AquaNautica team at the private island resort. During The Manta Ray Symposium, the marine biologist will share valuable knowledge with The Nautilus’ guests in a casual and free-spirited atmosphere as well as accompany and guide The Nautilus guests on private excursions within Hanifaru Bay’s waters and coordinate with the Hanifaru Bay park rangers, who are experts in ensuring guests enjoy the most rewarding sighting opportunities. In convivial discussions, whilst guests are sipping fine concoctions created by The Nautilus’s mixologist, the resident marine biologist expert will share in-depth knowledge about these beautiful, captivating, and mysterious creatures, different species, breeding and feeding habits and about Hanifaru Bay itself. Guests can learn about interesting facts, such as Mantas are born into a life of everlasting motion and that they can never stop moving and need the flowing of water over their gills to breathe or share important guidelines on how to snorkel with Mantas sustainably and respectfully; or how to best capture a photo of this one-of-a-kind experience without disturbing these gentle giants. In close interaction, the marine biologist and AquaNautica team will ensure that guests leave with an enriching experience and unforgettable moments spent amongst the corals and sea life of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

World renowned Hanifaru Bay, the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in Maldives’ stunning Baa Atoll, which is just 15 minutes away from The Nautilus by luxury yacht, is one of the largest manta feeding hotspots in the world. Hanifaru Bay is unique as it has a vigorous water circulation system due to the funnel-like reef shape – approximately 1,300m long and 600m wide. During the north-western monsoon (May to November), enormous quantities of plankton get trapped in the bay, creating what is known as plankton ‘soup’, which attracts large numbers of filter feeding megafauna’ such as whale sharks and manta rays. More than 1600 individuals have been identified in Baa Atoll in the last manta season alone.

Along with a few whale sharks, these manta rays display the unforgettable spectacle known as cyclone feeding. In this particular location, cyclone feeding can consist of more than 100 individual mantas. This special behavior is almost exclusive to Hanifaru Bay, the only location where you’re allowed to swim and snorkel with these beautiful creatures. For an almost guaranteed sighting of the mantas, guests could consider booking their aquatic Nautilus adventure over a full moon or new moon phases. During this time, the tides are naturally a little higher, therefore capturing the most plankton within the bay ready for the mantas to eat.

The lunar tide pushes against the oceanic current creating a dynamic clash of currents, increasing the sub-aqua nutrients available. If there is no presence of a counter-tide, the mixture of plankton simply washes over the bay into the outer periphery of the atoll. If there is a collision of currents, the plankton is swept up from deeper parts of the sea. Once it has risen, it’s biological instincts reject the light making it return back down to a higher point of the sea bed. This method of naturally collected plankton is what drives the mantas back for their plankton feeding frenzy. When all of these facets align, mantas in their masses, usually up to 200, commune and perform a show of feeding and intrigue, whirling up to the surface to take a look at the snorkelling visitors.

Typically known as Mobula Alfredi, the reef manta ray is not only one of the largest but also one of the most iconic marine species in waters surrounding The Nautilus. Snorkellers and divers are far more likely to witness the grandeur of Mobula Alfredi than, for example, the Oceanic Manta Ray species, because they prefer communing in far shallower waters and are typically more sociable. With an average width of 325cm-400cm, weight of 700kg and life span of around 40 years, these magnificent creates will continue to grace Hanifaru Bay’s waters and The Nautilus’ atoll for many years to come.

For enquires please contact [email protected] or begin crafting a world of your own making by booking direct at or call +960 660 00 00.

About the Nautilus Maldives

The Nautilus is your ultra-luxury bohemian hideaway in the Maldives. A highly personalised, immensely private island resort with just 26 beach and ocean houses and residences, where every experience is tailored to you. Where nothing is fixed and anything is possible. Where you are free to set your own beat; free to do – and to be – as you please.

Conceptualised by a Maldivian hospitality icon and visionary entrepreneur who was instrumental in creating many award-winning resorts, The Nautilus is the result of his lifetime’s worth of expertise and represents what ultra-luxury should be – not just in the Maldives, but worldwide. The legacy of his visionary entrepreneurship is now carried forward by the next generation of the family, alongside The Nautilus team. A celebration of the individual spirit, The Nautilus offers liberation and freedom unconditional. Space to share, to meet, where guests are encouraged to be themselves and shape their own personal journey. Above all, The Nautilus champions its guests to reflect and celebrate with the people they’re with, in any way they choose. Because in the end, it’s these simple, elemental pleasures – that ability to simply be – that form the greatest luxury of all.

The Nautilus has gained phenomenal international recognition since opening, most notably within Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards 2020 as the ‘Best Resort in the Indian Ocean’ and being recognised amongst the top 3 ‘Best Resorts in the World’. The Nautilus is also within Condé Nast Traveler’s highly prestigious ‘The Gold List’ 2021 as well as Tatler’s renowned Travel Awards 2021 as ‘Best Private Island Retreat’. Most recently, The Nautilus has been recognised within Condé Nast Traveller Middle East’s ‘The Gold List 2021’ and within Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards 2021.

The Nautilus is the ideal choice for a private Indian Ocean escape. The already thorough cleaning and hygiene protocols have been further reinforced in line with public health guidelines issued by the WHO and local government authorities, and the team have been fully trained and informed of the new procedures. The Nautilus offers Covid-19 PCR testing onsite for guest convenience with results returned within 24 hours.

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