This expedition is based on Hoga Island in the Wakatobi Marine National Park and is aimed at training you to become a PADI Divemaster (DM). You need to be qualified to PADI Rescue Diver and have 40 logged dives before starting on this course. The course involves a combination of dive theory, in water practical sessions, and shadowing instructors teaching PADI Open Water and Advanced Open Water courses. The training costs of the course are included in the expedition, though you will have to purchase the necessary PADI training materials ahead of joining the expedition and pay PADI registration fees after completion. One of the benefits of Divemaster training with Opwall is that, assuming you perform well on site, we can offer Divemaster positions on our various expeditions around the world in subsequent summers.
Hoga Island marine training
The Hoga Island Marine Centre is based on a car and bike free island which is in the heart of the Wakatobi Marine National Park and is one of our most heavily published research sites. The Centre hosts up to 90 students and marine biology specialists a week each summer, so you have the opportunity of learning a range of marine survey techniques. You will begin with some training, starting with the opportunity to complete a PADI Open Water dive training course if you would like to learn and aren’t already dive qualified, followed by a compulsory Indo-Pacific reef ecology course with practicals by diving or snorkelling. Once the Indo-Pacific reef ecology course has been completed you will then join the research teams and help them to collect data from the coral reefs around the island. This will include the opportunity to learn survey techniques including stereo-video surveys of reef fish, video surveys of benthic transects, 3D mapping of coral reefs, coral regeneration, behaviour studies on cleaner fish, community structure of butterflyfish, seagrass and mangrove ecology, and marine plastics.
There is a triangle of reefs that spans across Indonesia and some of its neighbouring countries known as the Coral Triangle. It is recognized for having the highest diversity of hard coral genera, the proxy commonly used to assess overall diversity of coral reefs, anywhere in the world. The Hoga Island Marine Station is located in the heart of the Wakatobi Marine National Park, which is right at the centre of the Coral Triangle. For over two decades, 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, with more than 200 papers having been published using data collected by the teams here. 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 2024 season will continue this reef monitoring programme, and also be focusing on coral regeneration studies, plus some additional projects.
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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, class room spaces, data analysis labs, 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.
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