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Expedition with two weeks diving at two of the Opwall marine research centres in the heart of the Coral Triangle.

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

Marine only expedition

A combination of both our marine research sites can be used for a marine only expedition. Students can spend some of their time working towards a more in depth research project in addition to dive training, partaking in a reef ecology course and assisting with a range of research projects.

Week 1: South Buton marine research centre

During their first marine week students will be completing one of the following options, if they are not yet dive trained:

  • PADI Open Water dive training course: This course involves a combination of theory lessons, confined water dives and open water dives to gain an official scuba diving qualification.
  • PADI Open Water referral course: For this option students need to arrive having already completed their theory and pool training components. This course takes three days to complete, after which students will join the Indo-Pacific reef ecology and survey techniques course practicals.

If the students are qualified divers they will take part in the course below:

  • Indo-Pacific reef ecology and survey techniques course: This consists of lectures and in-water practicals either by diving (if a qualified diver) or snorkelling. The lectures cover an introduction to coral reef ecosystems, coral and algal species, mangrove and seagrass ecology, economically important invertebrates, identification of coral reef fish, reef survey techniques, threats to reefs and marine conservation. Following each lecture the students will then complete an in-water practical by diving (if already qualified) or by snorkelling.

Week 2: Wakatobi marine research centre

If the students have learnt to dive in their first week they will take part in the course below:

  • Indo-Pacific reef ecology and survey techniques course: This consists of lectures and in-water practicals either by diving (if a qualified diver) or snorkelling. The lectures cover an introduction to coral reef ecosystems, coral and algal species, mangrove and seagrass ecology, economically important invertebrates, identification of coral reef fish, reef survey techniques, threats to reefs and marine conservation. Following each lecture the students will then complete an in-water practical by diving (if already qualified) or by snorkelling.

If they have completed the Indo-pacific reeef ecology whilst on Bau-Bau the students will be able to complete mini research investigations and will also have sessions with the reef monitoring teams as follows:

  • Stereo video surveys: Students will have the opportunity to collect stereo video data and will then work with the fish specialist back at the lab identifying and measuring fish from the video data.
  • Line intercept video surveys: Students will have the opportunity to collect line intercept video data and then back in the lab, with the coral specialist, will be helping to measure coral cover and coral community structure data from the video data.
  • Macro-invertebrate surveys: Students will be helping with an underwater belt transect to complete surveys of the macroinvertebrates.
  • Fisheries surveys: Students will be helping with catch surveys from landings of fish fences, gill nets and bubu traps.

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. 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 2021 season will complete this monitoring plus some additional projects.

  • Live and work with local people and learn about Indonesian culture, customs and language
  • Gain an internationally recognised SCUBA qualification
  • Diving and snorkelling within some of the most diverse reefs in the world, at the centre of the Coral Triangle
  • Attend evening lectures given by the science team on marine ecology
  • Participation in the Coral Reef Ecology course
  • Learn how to survey a reef

The costs of a school group expedition can be highly variable. There is a standard fee paid to Opwall for all expeditions but the location you are flying from, the size of your group, and how you wish to pay all impact the overall cost.

You can choose to book the expedition as a package (which includes your international flights) or you can organise your travel yourself and just pay us for the expedition related elements.

If you are booking your expedition as a package, you also have the option of being invoiced as a group, or on an individual basis.

Climate

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.

Bau Bau – Creature comforts

Facilities at Pantai Nirwana are very comfortable; shared dorm rooms have beds with a mattress, stand-up showers, and Western style toilets. There is very limited cell phone signal which can usually only be used with an Indonesian SIM card and no Wifi access.

Hoga – Creature comforts

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

  • Indonesia
  • Pantai Nirwana (Bau Bau)
  • Hoga Island Marine Station

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Preparation

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