Expedition 12 is based at the Opwall Hoga Island Marine Centre run by the University of Hasannudin, which is the most published centre in the Coral Triangle (the triangle of reefs stretching from the Philippines to Borneo in the west and New Guinea in the east, which together possess the highest species richness of hard coral species globally). Hoga Island has no roads or vehicles and is surrounded by long white sand beaches. Every summer the island has a big influx of marine specialists and students helping complete both an annual monitoring programme for reef changes and innovative projects. If you are not dive trained then your expedition will begin with completing a PADI Open Water dive training course and then an Indo-Pacific reef survey techniques course in your following week. This course consists of daily lectures and dive based practicals. If you arrive already dive qualified or would prefer to snorkel you would spend your first week completing the Indo-Pacific reef survey techniques course. After this, for the remaining weeks, you will join a wide range of projects such as: video transect surveys of the reefs, 3D mapping of the reefs, stereo-video surveys of fish populations, seagrass health and coral nursery and reef rehabilitation projects amongst others. On this expedition you should complete around 40 dives, and for an additional cost you can also take your diving qualifications to a higher level than PADI Open Water.
There is a triangle of reefs in Eastern Indonesia that have the highest diversity of hard coral genera, the proxy commonly used to assess overall diversity of coral reefs, anywhere in the world. Both the marine stations being used by the Opwall teams are in the centre of this triangle. The South Buton Marine Centre has established a series of standard monitoring sites on reefs south of Bau Bau and around the surrounding small islands, with the objective being to use the data to develop plans for conserving these reefs. The Hoga Island Marine Station is located in the heart of the Wakatobi Marine National Park. Over the last 20 years, a series of scientists have been based at this site during the Opwall survey seasons and as a result, this is now the most published site in the Coral Triangle. For the last 15 years a series of constant monitoring sites around Hoga and eastern Kaledupa have been monitored for macroinvertebrates, fish communities, coral cover and community structure. The 2020 season will complete this monitoring plus some additional projects.
Most of our volunteers fundraise for their expedition costs. Find out more.
At the marine sites during the day, the weather is normally sunny and warm (around 30 degrees Celsius), and the night temperatures drop to around 20-25 degrees Celsius. Being on the coast means there is often a pleasant breeze so it does not always feel this hot. It rains rarely, but when it does it tends to be very heavy for short periods of time.
Fitness level required
Low-Moderate. Some fitness is required for in water activities, but conditions are relatively easy.
The Hoga Island Marine Station is an established facility that lies within the Wakatobi Marine Park of eastern Indonesia. The station was rebuilt in 2016 and supports a dive centre, lecture theatre, wet-lab as well as a large dining room and kitchen facility. Simple huts owned by members of the local fishing community surround the station and serve as guest accommodation. The island supports reliable phone signal that allows limited internet access.