Kuramathi, Naturally Maldives
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Monthly Archives: January 2014

Plants of Kuramathi: Coconut Palm

The national tree of the Maldives, Coconut Palm is a tree with a universal presence on nearly every Maldivian island while being a main feature of our ecosystem. Considered as the most important plant on the tiny islands of the Maldives, it has a long lifespan of more than 100 years and can grow up to 70 to 110 metres in mature height. The evergreen plant comprises of a single trunk, its bark smooth and grey, marked by ringed scars left by fallen leaf bases. The tree is also etched into the Maldivian national emblem and the coat of arms.

Coconut Palms bear fruit resembling a rather large nut, originally in bunches and each flaunting a size equivalent to a football. The fruit contains a thick yet edible flesh with a cavity filled with nutrient and tasty rich water. The Maldivians have discovered several uses for this plant, in its different stages, from making coir rope using the coconut husk to the distinguished custom of thatched roofs using coconut leaves that is often found in the present day resorts.

Quick Facts

  • The coconut palm has been a life saver since the first settlers inhabited the Maldives about 5000 years ago, playing a vital role in the economy as well as in the food and nutrition security of the Maldivian people.
  • The seed provides oil for frying, cooking, and making margarine, while acting as a moisturiser for body and hair.
  • Desiccated coconut or coconut milk made from it is frequently added to curries and other savoury dishes.
  • Coconut wood has proved to supply great value to the Maldivians in the areas of design and construction. The trunk of the wood is used for construction of houses, while the other wood is the well preferred element in the boat building industry.
  • Virgin coconut oil extracted from scraped coconut is used in making soaps, lotion and balms.
  • One of the most traditional foods produced from the coconut plant is the nectar (toddy) collected from the flower cluster while unopened via a small container. The toddy is also boiled into sugary syrup known as

Savouring the exotic zest of Thailand

Every Sunday, the Siam Garden gets busy in the evening, and it is not surprising, given that a sumptuous banquet is laid out with freshly prepared authentic Thai food, perfect to tantalise your taste buds. The buffet is titled

Fish ID

The Whale Shark or the Rhincodon Typus is the largest living fish species that grows up to a gigantic size of 12 metres, easily recognised by its two-tone pattern of light spots and lines on a dark back. Albeit its mammoth stature, it is one of the most timid sharks, that feeds on small fish, squid, crustaceans, and other plankton organisms with its enormous mouth that also filters large amounts of water.

Little is known about this mysterious creature, which frequents the blue during plankton bloom. Sub adults live in small groups, but these are seen only rarely. Adults are usually solitary, but no details are known about the method these giants use to find locate each other, or how and where they mate.

Whale Sharks are generally encountered (with a little bit of luck!) during November to April, in the lagoon or on the house reef of Kuramathi. There have been quite a number of sightings here on Kuramathi in the past few years while guests were snorkelling and diving. They are very popular with divers and in spite of their random happenstances, they are guaranteed off the Seychelles, Thailand (Andaman Sea), Christmas Island, and tropical Western Australia (Ningaloo Reef), and the Maldives at certain times of the year. The big giant sports the biggest smile underwater, and is often accompanied by other fishes.

Did you know?

The mouth shape of the whale shark modifies itself, as the jaws widen and distend outward, to form an enormous funnel