Meet Anantara Kihavah’s Resident Marine Biologist Joseph Lassus

With its prime location in the Maldives’ Baa Atoll island archipelago, Anantara Kihavah Villas is the perfect place from which to enjoy the underwater world of the Indian Ocean itself. Snorkel some of the world’s most treasured reefs, explore uninhabited deserted islands or cruise in solitude into a tapestry of unimaginable colours.

Recovering from the 1998 El Nino event that destroyed most of the country’s shallow reef coral, in June 2011 UNESCO declared the Baa Atoll a Biosphere Reserve and Anantara Kihavah Villas has been dedicated to supporting its recovery since opening in 2012. Here dolphins, turtles and mantas can be seen today thriving in their natural habitats.

With the recent arrival of marine biologist Joseph Lassus to Anantara Kihavah, guests can draw on his expert knowledge as they descend into the ocean’s dazzling depths and discover the magical underwater world that lies below. On dry land, the exploration into the ocean’s treasures continues at the resort’s signature underwater restaurant, Sea. Hosting presentations for guests in the mesmerising surrounds of ‘Sea’, Joseph describes the natural aquarium through the glass walls as it envelopes the restaurant to provide a breath-taking 180 degree view of fish, turtles, sea eels with all their friends at play. Deepening the understanding, Joseph’s firsthand knowledge is accompanied with presentations given to each participant on iPad as the marine world unfolds before your eyes.

“Before arriving in the Maldives I was undertaking research at the Banco Chinchorro Biosphere Reserve, Mexico, with a WWF project. In assisting to document the recovery from the 2007 hurricane we could see that signs of renewal were evident, but the full effect will only be understood upon completion of the WWF project next year.

“This opportunity to be the marine biologist at Anantara Kihavah Villas provides me with a perfect combination of teaching people to dive and snorkel, which I love to share with guests, as well as continuing my research in exciting new fields of exploration and behaviour associations of aquatic life.

“Here I encounter completely different species to those I am familiar with from my native home in the French Caribbean, for example the Napoleon Wrasse, Clown Fish and different coral. This is really stimulating for me and they all exist in a fragile association; one cannot survive without the other. 

Guests can also join Joseph on diving, snorkelling, dolphin discovery, turtle quest and manta excursions, or partake in coral transplanting and essential research snorkelling adventures to take identification photos of large sea creatures. 

“I can’t think of a better classroom where you can you learn all about the natural allures of this fascinating island nation more perfectly than in the greatest paradise on earth – Anantara Kihavah,” he concluded.