Coral reef conservation

Project name:

Operation Wallacea (2)

Project purpose:

Coral reef conservation

Project activities:

  • data collection/analysis

  • habitat restoration/management

  • teaching

  • scuba diving

Marine

Indonesia (Wakatobi National Park)

South-East Asia

Weekly cost (approx USD):

$

850

Direct benefits you gain:

  • data/statistical skills

  • field research skills

  • gain qualification and/or credit

  • remote scenic location

  • undertake your own research

Noteworthy conservation points:

  • development goals (supporting local community)

  • publishes peer-reviewed science

  • publishes work

Accommodation:

Wooden hut (with electricity) shared with another volunteer

Requirements:

Facilities:

electricity, drop toilets, bucket shower, doctor on site, local shops, food included, refillabe drinking water, intermitent phone signal, mosquito net included in huts, basic linen provided

Details of the day-to-day life on the project:

**There are many different programs running with opwall for varying amounts of time. The price listed here may change upon further enquiry**

Hoga is a beautiful tropical island in the Wakatobi National Park. The set-up is like a small community, everyone (staff, volunteers and students) living in huts on stilts down small pebbled walkways through mangrove-like forest just next to the ocean. Everyone eats at set meal times and communally in the dining hut area. There is A LOT going on, school trips coming weekly. PhD, masters and undergrad students all working on their dissertations as well as some resident marine biologists working on their next project. Dive boats go out multiple times a day along the reef wall at Hoga, there is great biodiversity which is rare these days unfortunately. However there isn't a lot of big marine life (sharks etc.) although rare sighting of dolphins, eagle rays, turtles do happen! The whole project is off the beaten tourist trail and it is a real adventure for volunteers and staff a like! Even so because of the amount of students (up to 200 some weeks!) you don't feel isolated and there are so many scientists and professional divers you can talk to and get information from. For staff you have a couple of meetings a week and take shifts doing radio duty for the dive boats going out that day and help in the dive shop (when you aren't diving) as there is a lot of turnover for the dive gear. Phone signal is intermittment and there is no wifi. Each week there is a 'social night' for everyone where staff and students have a few beers and a party as the next day there is no diving and a lot less is going on than during the rest of the week!

How long can I stay?

Minimum 2 weeks. Maximum 8 weeks.

When does the project run?

June to August

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Reviews & ratings

Madyson M

Operation Wallacea is an amazing company that gives the most outstanding expeditions. For people still in University that are just looking to get their hands dirty in marine field work, then I highly recommend Hoga Island, Indonesia. Opwall gives out scholarships for expeditions and make sure all individuals (divers and snorkelers) are accommodated and feel comfortable in/out of the water.

Here is what a month expedition on Hoga was like for me:

Hoga Island is one of the most unique places on the planet and holds a very special place in my heart. This was a place where mistakes turned into the best learning curves, where locals welcome you with big hearts and warm smiles, and where you are constantly learning new things about yourself, your future career options, the ocean and how to best conserve the limited resources we have left.

My first week was spent snorkeling and diving the beautiful coral triangle learning different reef survey techniques (RST) and becoming quite skilled in my fish, coral, and invertebrate species identification. After completing my training, my expedition group was ready to take on life as Research Assistants and Dissertation Researchers. My first project was working on the Seagrass Beds and Mangrove Monitoring program. I fell in love with the Mangrove forests during my RST training and wanted to get to see more of them. This project was special to Hoga because it tracks back to a long database so we can observe the health of the seagrasses and mangroves over the years. This was the project were I saw my first ever live Portuguese Man-O-War. This is hands down my favorite memory from Hoga Island. These have quickly became one of my favorite marine organisms even if they can pack a potent sting.

After I was done helping with the seagrass project, I quickly moved onto different types of projects. I worked with coral bommies using fish and coral species identification, looked at how noise pollution affected different species of anemone fish, helped with a project looking at the thermal tolerance of corals living in harsh environments, did collections of clams to feed the butterfly fish in the lab and helped show off the beautiful nightcrawlers (eels, sea cucumbers, sea kraits, polychaete worms, and starfish) during the schools night walks.

Research Assistant

Awesome Experiences for Beginners in Coral Conservation!

Alice

Hoga is an amazing place to visit and it's hard to not keep going back. I have been there for three seasons now (one as a dissertation student, one as science staff and one as dive staff) and loved it everytime. The island is hard to get to with multiple flights and a boat journey but you are met with idyllic surroundings and lovely people. Hoga benefits not only for having great international staff but also a strong community of staff from the surrounding islands who really help the island run as smoothly as possible alongside great management. The facilities are basic and the days are long but they are more than worth it. The diving is great and I really enjoyed my time teaching part of the Reef Survey Techniques course where I got to have a larger role in the students time on the island and really got a chance to see they grow and adjust to island life.

Divemaster/Reef Survey Techniques Lecturer

Great experience every time with lovely people and beautiful location