Humans have a strange relationship with the sea. It provides oxygen, water, and food, moderates the weather, and sustains our lives, yet we act in ways that are detrimental to the ocean and its millions of inhabitants. We leave no stone unturned in polluting and overfishing the seas. In addition, we view marine wildlife as dangerous and ruthless when in reality, we are the real danger to them. Carla Virgos, an ocean guide and founder of Kandu, is determined to debunk the myths and stereotypes associated with marine animals and present them in a new light.
Around a year ago, passionate and driven Carla founded her Maldives-based travel company, Kandu, which organizes unique diving expeditions where people can explore the ocean and interact with underwater nature.
Ever since Carla was a young girl, she has been mesmerized by the ocean. For her, it is a place that reflects tranquility. Whenever she dives into the water, she is reminded of how individually profound her existence is and the meaning her life holds.
“The deeper and longer I dive, the more I never actually come back up. The ocean humbles me and reminds me I’m part of something bigger. I sink into the blue, enjoying the underwater world of silence and serenity, and come out the other side enlightened,” says Carla.
Maldives is incredibly popular among tourists; however, the luxury hotels and resorts overshadow the true essence of the Islands. When Carla visited the Maldives, she was in awe of the oceans, the people’s hospitality, and the variety of marine life. She particularly fell in love with the sharks there. When she first swam with the sharks, she wasn’t scared and instead felt at peace, forming a connection with them.
“I used to be apprehensive of the ‘dangers’ lurking in the ocean until I realized that knowledge and respect of sea life were all I needed to combat this dread,” shares Carla.
To this day, she enjoys her relationship with the sharks. In fact, sharks can be considered Kandu’s north star that propelled Carla to start this venture and change people’s inaccurate perception of marine wildlife.
Carla believes that education is a powerful tool. It changed her life, and it can change the world too. Her goal is to replace ignorance and fear with knowledge and help individuals see the ocean, sharks, whales, wild dolphins, ray fish, etc., as safe and not as the mainstream media represents these creatures. She wants everyone to realize their own significance in balancing the ecosystem and practice eco-friendly choices and behavior that does not negatively impact the welfare of our marine friends.
As we alter faulty perceptions regarding aquatic life, we will see that humans can peacefully coexist with them just like they are supposed to. Carla Virgos and her team of incredible Maldivian locals prioritize educating people as much as possible, encouraging magical, natural, and safe encounters with sharks and other marine animals.
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