Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Amazing Celebes Sea

from Indonesia Oceanic Cetacean Program

The warm, clear waters off northern Sulawesi, previously known as Celebes, are an exceptionally rich marine life hot spot. Strong oceanic currents, deep sea trenches and sea mounts, combined with active volcanic islands result in complex oceanographic features and an impressive array of rare marine life.

The Celebes Sea is located in the centre of a special oceanic realm of maximum marine diversity. It is home to a great abundance of whales and dolphins, sea-turtles, manta rays, marlin and other pelagics. In addition, some of the most bio-diverse coral reefs in the world can be found here, with over 2500 fish species and close to 500 coral varieties identified to date.

The Oceanic Cetacean Film & Photographic Expeditions have access to this pristine and remote region of Indonesia. It enables adventurous naturalists and multi-media professionals to experience an exceptional marine wilderness, with all creature comforts and equipment maintenance and charging facilities on board.

The Indonesia Oceanic Cetacean Program (IOCP) research expertise and findings have been crucial to numerous international film makers and photographers interested in producing cetacean natural history and environmental documentaries.

"The expedition will focus on numerous rare whales and dolphin species and explores some of the most beautifully remote islands Indonesia has to offer"
Our on-going studies on northern Sulawesi's sperm whales and oceanic dolphins has resulted in an intimate knowledge of the whereabouts and ecology of these rare cetaceans.

It is not unusual to have encounters with oceanic cetaceans such as sperm whales in the morning, and have a snorkel or dive on a brilliant coral reef drop-off in the afternoon! We certainly don't know of any other location world-wide where this can be done.... In fact, during our previous research season we encountered over 15 different whale and dolphin species in Northern Sulawesi alone, totalling an estimated 1500 individual animals...

One of the main goals of our research is to find out why such a great diversity of whales and dolphins exists here. The IOCP also contributes to biological oceanography research on apex marine predators conducted in other parts of the world.

During the expedition, you are likely to come eye to eye with sperm whales - the most formidable of deep sea predators - as well as other oceanic cetaceans, such as pilot and melon-headed whales.

These in-water encounters often result in spectacular imagery, and are truly inspiring and not easily forgotten. However, such encounters are not to be taken lightly and are carefully controlled by the expedition team to ensure both safety and maximum success.

All Expeditions include professional cetacean and coral reef ecology experts as part of the team. APEX Environmental has coordinated numerous successful oceanic cetacean field productions. Our participation with multi-media projects aims to:

  1. increase the environmental awareness of this exceptional Indonesian marine region
  2. harness support for effective cetacean conservation measures.
  3. focus attention on the increasing environmental impacts as a result from destructive fishing practices and activities of the region's rapidly expanding nature-based and extractive resource industries.

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