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  • Overview
  • Objectives
  • Skills you gain
  • Costs to Consider
  • Site Conditions

The first two weeks of this six-week expedition are spent in the forests of the Wallacea region, on Buton Island, followed by four weeks with the marine teams on Hoga Island. The first few days are split between jungle skills training and learning about Wallacean wildlife and ecology from lectures and field based practicals. For the remaining time in the forest, the group will help a team of biodiversity specialists complete surveys targeting bird communities using point counts, distance sampling and patch occupancy analysis for large mammals, mist netting for bats, Pollard walks for butterflies, and herpetofauna surveys. The teams will be based in the primary forests in the little studied northern forests of the island. The remaining four weeks will be based on Hoga, at the centre of the Coral Triangle – the most biodiverse reefs in the world. If you are not already dive trained but want to learn then you will start your time on Hoga with a PADI Open Water dive training course and then in your next week you will complete an Indo-Pacific reef survey techniques course with lectures and dive based practicals. If you are already dive trained or wishing to only snorkel on the expedition, you will complete the Indo-Pacific reef survey techniques course during your first week. After completing the Indo-Pacific reef survey techniques course you will then join the large team of specialists including coral intercept video transects and 3D mapping of reefs, fish behaviour surveys, stereo-video surveys of reef fish communities, marine plastics and many other projects. For an additional cost you can also take your diving qualifications to a higher level than PADI Open Water.

Indonesia - Wallacea Marine Research Objectives

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.

Indonesia - Wallacea Terrestrial Research Objectives

The Wallacea region comprises islands of the central part of the Indonesian archipelago that are separated by deep ocean trenches which prevented them from being joined to the main continental land masses during the lowered sea levels of the Ice Ages. As a result of subsequently long periods of isolation, a large number of unique species evolved. The forests of the Wallacea region are one of the least biologically studied areas in the world and one of the most likely places to discover vertebrate species new to science. Since 1995, the Opwall teams have been surveying the biodiversity of Buton Island in SE Sulawesi, so that more information is now available on the wildlife of this well studied area than anywhere else in the Wallacea region. The Opwall gathered data are being submitted to support a REDD+ application to protect the carbon and biodiversity of the forests and ensure that local communities have a financial benefit from this conservation programme.

  • Attend lectures/workshops about the Wallacea region and its ecology from published research
  • Learn survey methods to sample birds, butterflies, large mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and bats
  • Learn how to conduct habitat surveys and calculate the carbon biomass of an area of forest
  • Learn skills to work and live safely in a remote rainforest research site
  • Live and work with local people and learn about Indonesian culture, customs and language
  • Work with a team of Indonesian and International scientists from around the world
  • Gain an internationally recognized SCUBA qualification
  • Option to undertake additional PADI dive qualifications above Open Water (additional cost)
  • Diving and snorkelling within some of the most diverse reefs in the world
  • Diving and snorkelling in the Wakatobi Marine National Park in the Coral Triangle
  • Working alongside specialist marine scientists
  • Attend evening lectures given by the science team on marine ecology
  • Participation in the Reef Survey Techniques course
  • Learn a variety of survey and monitoring techniques for both fisheries and in-water data collection
  • Opportunity to interact with the local Bajau community
  • Opwall fee
  • Cost of international flights into and out of Makassar
  • Cost of internal travel to and from the start and end point of the expedition, plus any hotels you might require. This costs around £270 or $340 on average. Extra nights’ accommodation can be quoted
  • Visa costs of $35 for a VOA (31-60 days, with extension), £50 for a social visa (60+ days, with extension) plus £45(VOA) or £60 (Social Visa) for the extension. Please get in touch with someone from Opwall for more detailed advice.
  • Dive equipment rental – £60 or $90 per week for a full dive kit. If you only wish to snorkel and want to hire snorkel equipment, the cost is £30 or $45 per week. Please note that wetsuits cannot be provided – you should bring your own.
  • Park entrance fees – £20 or $29
  • PADI manual and PIC card (if you are completing your Open Water qualification) – £69 or $87 approx.
  • Vaccinations and prophylactic medicines – cost can vary depending on your healthcare provider.
  • Spending money for snacks/drinks/laundry – Indonesian rupiah only.
  • All prices in GBP or USD unless specified

Most of our volunteers fundraise for their expedition costs. Find out more.

Climate

In the tropical rainforests of Indonesia is is generally warm during the day (around 25 degrees Celsius), and humid, with up to 80% humidity. At night the temperatures drop lower, but not usually lower than around 15 degrees Celsius. It rains very frequently, and very heavily at times, but for short periods.

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

High for the forest sites. You will need to hike for long periods, over steep and muddy terrain, at times with your large rucksack. At the marine sites some fitness is required for in water activities, but conditions are relatively easy.

Creature comforts

The Langkumbe Valley Forest Camp is a basic field camp that enables access to primary rainforest habitats found in a remote corner of the North Buton Nature Reserve. A camp kitchen, communal eating area and change-rooms are set alongside a river where washing is done after a long day of forest surveys. All guests sleep in high-quality Hennessy hammocks that are set in the forest immediately surrounding the camp. The camp has no reliable phone signal.

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.

Locations

  • Hoga Island Marine Station
  • Langkumbe Valley
  • Indonesia

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Preparation

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