Elaa Private Island is a place of awesome natural beauty, from its postcard-perfect tropical landscape to its crystal clear waters. Part of the Maldive archipelago —which stretches north from the equator in the Indian Ocean — Velaa (which means “turtle”) opened in 2013 and offers guests of a number of modern, luxurious villas placed either by the white sand beach or overlooking the turquoise waters of the lagoon.
Surely one of Troon’s most unique, luxurious, and off-the-beaten-track destinations, the resort is achieving big things in the realm of care and preservation of the local environment and habitat, including under the water, via the Maldives largest coral restoration project. The endeavor thus far includes the successful transplantation of more than 4,200 nursery-grown corals. This project has seen an increase in coral growth around the island of ﬁve percent since its implementation and has led to a surge in the quantity of sea life throughout the transplant areas and the surrounding, endangered sites.
Led by the island’s onsite coral biologist, the project aims to raise awareness of the destruction of coral reefs following the severe global bleaching in 1998 and 2016, which destroyed 60 percent of the country’s reefs. Some scientists predict that 90 percent of global reefs will experience severe bleaching annually by 2055 due to warming ocean temperatures. Most corals have a narrow temperature tolerance. When temperatures become too warm, corals will expel the symbiotic algae that live inside them, causing them to turn white and lose an important food source. Although corals can survive a bleaching event, they are more vulnerable to disease and will eventually die if the marine heatwave lasts too long.
Guests at Velaa are offered an extraordinary ﬁrst-hand experience of the coral restoration project by adopting corals, and they can even plant their adopted corals personally via snorkeling or scuba diving. Particularly committed guests can go one step further, and join the marine team for the day.
The Maldives is such a fragile ecosystem, so it’s great that we can be part of something bigger, and contribute to the health and longevity of the natural habitat below water.”
Commenting on the work being done through this project, Director of Golf Gavin Campbell said: “I am so proud to be able to work with such a dedicated marine biology team to ensure Velaa Private Island continues to respect and preserve the local environment. The Maldives is such a fragile ecosystem, so it’s great that we can be part of something bigger, and contribute to the health and longevity of the natural habitat below water.”
In addition to the outstanding accommodations and lauded environmental program, Velaa Private Island is also home to a Troon Short Game Academy. “Private Golf Moments by Olazábal” has been designed by ex-Ryder Cup captain and two-time Masters champion, José Maria Olazábal, and provides an unrivaled level of intimate tuition to enhance the short game of any visitor.