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MasterChef Australia Star George Calombaris Impressed by Abu Dhabi’s Sustainability Efforts

February 20, 2014 Destination Global No Comments Email Email

Kayaking in Abu Dhabi's Eastern Mangroves - Ghassan Al Hashemi, Ian WalkThe amiable judge of MasterChef Australia, George Calombaris took to the waters around Abu Dhabi’s Eastern Mangroves last weekend to discover more of the UAE capital’s eco-system and sustainability efforts.

Calombaris, who was in the UAE capital for a starring role in the annual Gourmet Abu Dhabi culinary festival, took to the channels running through the mangroves with Ian Walker, the skipper of Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (ADOR) – the emirate’s entry for the 2014/2015 Volvo Ocean Race – and local guide Ghassan Al Hashemi of Sea Hawk Tours Watersports who runs daily Eastern Mangroves kayaking trips. kipper Ian Walker and Chef George Calombaris

“Ghassan’s running commentary, pointing out the rich bio-diversity of marine and bird life, brought the natural habitat to life,” said Calombaris.

“I was here two years ago visiting Abu Dhabi fish market and was amazed at the variety of species, having found out more about the importance of the mangroves as an eco-water filter, and seeing the effort to preserve them, I now understand how those species can thrive. They are doing a really good job here.”

Calombaris was also impressed with moves taken to transform the Eastern Mangroves into a sensitive tourism destination in the heart of the city.

“It’s an urban retreat – honestly it’s amazing to see it here. With people out on the water, others dining in the open air restaurants Ghassan's running commentary, pointing out the rich bio-diversity, brouand cafes, you’d never think you were on the edge of a major city.”

Ian Walker was equally impressed with the growing number of people getting out onto the water at the Eastern Mangroves – sailing, stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking.

“It’s a great trip for an entire family and I’m thrilled to see so many people actively enjoying the water. That’s what our campaign is all about – getting people interested in watersports and getting them to enjoy the outdoor lifestyle and everything the waters can offer.”

Ghassan Al Hashemi says his daily trips through the mangroves are proving more popular with kayakers regularly spotting birds, Egyptian geese, the odd dolphin and sometimes a rare spotting of a fox.

“It’s important for people to understand the vital role the mangroves play in our eco-system -this way they can find all this out while enjoying the sun and the setting,” he said.

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