|Artificial Reef Module|
|One of the many educational signs fringing the
Andaman’s Coral Nursery
|A crane on a barge deploys the concrete ARMS while guests watch from the Andaman’s luxury catamaran. Dr. Gerry speaks about the importance of protecting our precious reefs.|
The Andaman is nestled between Datai Bay, one the most
beautiful bays in the world, and a 10,000 year old rainforest. It’s a breathtaking scene and the beach is pristine,
scattered with the intricate sand designs of the sand bubbler crabs. But from the beach, what isn’t readily noticeable is the
dire condition of the Datai Bay reef, which was badly damaged in the 2004
Indian Ocean tsunami. The reef protected
the bay and properties from the deadly tsunami by absorbing the force and
energy of the waves and in doing so, suffered extensive damage.
|Lafarge CEO Bradley Mulroney, Kedah State Exco for Tourism Yb
Dato’ Hj Mohd Rawi Abd Hamid, Andaman GM Christian Metzner
and Marine Biologist Dr. Gerry Goeden watch as they
ceremoniously deploy the ARMS into Datai Bay.
Dr. Gerry Goeden, the Andaman’s Consultant Marine Biologist
notes about the ARMS project, “We are not just throwing building materials in the ocean and hoping for
the best, this concrete is specifically designed for reef restoration and can
serve as an example for the world,“ says.
The eco-friendly modules have holes sized for the types of fish that
need to be protected. Two types of concrete was designed for the project by Lafarge cement, who have been a close partner in the project. have been used; each type will be
tracked and studied by UMT to find out which attracts the most marine life. It is
hoped that many more modules will be dropped in the future.
unique and authentic experiences, and they certainly deliver, with an eye on
the environment. “[Our program is] no longer spectator tourism, this is
participatory, with a synergy to drive the island forward,” says Dr. Gerry.
guests. For example, for several years since the tsunami, the resort’s team and
guests have been working to clear dead coral from the bay, which can inhibit
propagation and growth of new coral. The dead coral is ground into dust, which
is then cast into a mini ARM, on which guests can then help glue coral and
place into the Andaman’s impressive coral nursery. Eventually the ARMS are placed into the bay. Guests for the ARMS deployment ceremony had the chance to participate too; we were surprised that superglue is used to harmlessly adhere the coral to the mini ARM!
|Coral Nursery at the Andaman offers private guided snorkelling with marine biology students and staff.|
The purpose-built nursery is believed to the first of its
kind in SE Asia, allowing guests to snorkel safely while learning about the
fish and coral within. (Did you you know coral are actually collections of tiny animals, and not plants?) Here, private
guided snorkeling is offered daily between 10am and 1pm. I arrived just in time for fish feeding at
5:30, which is also offered daily. Some
of the children who showed up were a little skittish at first, and I have to
admit it was a little unnerving to have so many fish nipping at my fingers and
camera, but what a fun experience!
|Fish feeding at the Andaman Langkawi’s Coral Nursery|
The Andaman also offers daily nature walks, a sustainable
menu at on-site restaurant, Jala, and I’m especially happy to notice several
water refill stations on the property with cups instead of plastic bottles.
|Water refill station with cups|