The world as we know it today is thoroughly divided. The prevalent mentality is us vs. them, and the by-product is hatred and intolerance that have trickled down to the deepest pockets of society. But just when this divide seems to affect only sentient human beings, individuals like Carla Virgos, founder of Kandu, bring to light the far-reaching repercussions of this marginal thinking on non-human and equally sentient beings.
Carla Virgos believes that if we respect the ocean, it will in turn respect and reward us. She says, “Swimming with these marine mammals is both a spiritual moment and an adrenaline rush, made all the more magical by the knowledge that with wild animals, encounters are on their terms.”
Born in the landlocked city of Madrid, Carla Virgos was raised by a Mexican-Spanish family. Virgos’s wish to be near the coast had been dashed, and she had to wait to go to the University of Bristol for her undergraduate degree to finally live in a coastal town. As soon as she graduated, she joined one of London’s top firms and doubled up in corporate life’s 9-5 routine. One day, she decided to leave everything and fly to the Maldives to do what she truly thought was her calling: ocean diving.
Since then, Virgos has gone on to achieve quite a lot. After getting there and hopping from island to island, she founded her ocean expedition company, Kandu. The name is symbolic of the Maldivian culture as it is borrowed from Dhivehi, an indigenous dialect of the Maldives. Alongside her talented team, including Nazykko, an ocean expert, and Ageel, a photographer and videographer, Virgos is revamping how tourists look at the islands and engage with them.
Among the most important agendas of the company is its educational purpose. Carla Virgos realizes that the ocean is not a resource but a living entity. It must be treated as such with respect and love. This includes the water body and the life that thrives in it, like sharks, whales, and other marine mammals. The company arranges special tours and expeditions for tourists to become familiar with the complex culture of the ocean and its dwellers. Swimming around marine wildlife and being with them on their own terms allows humans to understand the true meaning of peaceful coexistence. It also helps to dispel myths and misconceptions about marine mammals like sharks and whales as monsters, which they definitely are not.
Using this awareness, Virgos prompts tourists to use healthy and waste-proof products, especially near the ocean. Her company provides its clients with alternatives to single-use plastic, like wood-stick utensils and steel flasks. Virgos believes that when people are shown the spiritual side of marine life and are educated on the far-reaching effects of their habits, a positive change is evoked, which in itself is far-reaching and permanent.
She is currently juggling her days between her full-time job in London and her company in the Maldives. She wishes to inspire young girls to take a leap of faith and pursue their dreams. In her own words, passion paves the way for just about anything in life.