It isn’t uncommon for people to go to the beach for some sun or a day out with their family. All across the world, it is considered to be one of the best ways to be around nature in all its glory. But to move back and forth across the globe only to start a business that makes it possible for people to enjoy the ocean to the fullest, look at it in an entirely new light, and create lasting change is an entirely different story. Yet it is what ocean safari expedition leader and female entrepreneur Carla Virgos has managed to do, and quite successfully as well.
Born to a Mexican-Spanish family, Carla grew up in the historically dense landscapes of Madrid. While the architecture and culture make the city par excellence, it is a land-locked region. To Carla, an ardent admirer of the ocean, this was always a sore point. Naturally, she moved out the first chance she got. She attended the University of Bristol for her undergraduate degree with a major in International Business Management, after which she got a job as a broker at a leading financial services firm in London. It was at this time that she realized what her true passion was – diving.
After taking a solo trip to the Maldives to let off some steam by the coast and hop off from island to island, Carla realized that the exploitative attitude towards marine life and the ocean was endangering the longevity and survival of its species. Excessive plastic wastage, recreational activities that disrupted the marine ecosystem, and a complete lack of education leading to apathy toward life in the ocean alarmed Carla, and she decided to take charge.
Carla Virgos is today the founder of the ocean safari expedition company; Kandu, which in Divehi, the local language spoken in the Maldives, means “Ocean”. The organization offers educational snorkeling excursions with all kinds of marine life, diving lessons, exposure to authentic traditional food made with ingredients that ensure the sustainability and longevity of the region’s original presence, community-based activities, and a plethora of underwater footage. At Kandu, Carla’s team also offers eco-friendly alternatives to conventional utensils and spreads awareness about the effect of single-use plastic on the ocean and its life.
Carla is a shark girl through and through: “When I’m down there with the sharks, the rays, and the underwater characters, I’m removed from the rest of the world, and I feel totally at one with all of nature,” says Carla. At the same time, she believes that we need to collectively do better and be careful lest we lose the marine life that we so admire and love. To her, it is the misrepresentation of the ocean, especially wild marine dwellers like sharks and their other vilified siblings, that has partly bred indifference in the masses. It is not only her passion but an earnest wish that she can do her part in changing that perspective and curating a healthy and compassionate connection between humans and non-human marine beings.
You can check out Carla’s Instagram page for more.