|Silolona Sojourns spurs conservation efforts|
Silolona Sojourns celebrate 12 years of private charters throughout South East Asia, using our own hand -crafted traditional fleet of wooden sailing ships built to German Lloyds specifications.
Their flagship, Silolona , 50m/164 ft , length overall melds all the safety and amenities of the 21st century with the style and grace of the Golden Age of Sailing. Her crew of 17 professional seamen are acclaimed as being the "Best Crew" by guests, world-wide agents, and charter brokers alike. Launched in 2012, Si Datu Bua, 40 m/ 130ft, was built to the same exacting standards. Both ships are imbued with spirit and tradition from the laying of the keel to the completion of the boats that now sail the waters of the vast Indonesian Archipelago and beyond.
Raja Ampat , world class diving, onboard PADI Dive Center +PADI Instructor, snorkeling in pristine seas; Asmat, ancient tribal customs and powerful art; Banda, jewellike islands & history, the native home of nutmeg and stately old Dutch mansions; Komodo Islands, natural habitat of the Komodo dragon, a World Heritage Site, world class diving, deserted pink sand beaches, plus the Flores Archipelago, ancient cultures, textiles, world class diving, scenic volcanoes, as well as Myanmar, Thailand, and the Andaman Islands of India.
Each voyage is meticulously designed and hand- crafted by Patti Seery , the originator of the Silolona concept based upon her extensive knowledge accumulated over the past 30 years in the vast Indonesian Archipelago, her long-standing friendships with communities and her passion for the art, history, and cultures of Southeast Asia to suit each guest's interests.
For 12 years, Silolona Sojourns has also been leading cultural & scientific expeditions. Marine biologists, Dr. Gerald R. Allen and Dr. Mark V. Erdmann (Conservation International) have named a new fish after the ship: <Ambyglyphidodon silolona>. (Reef fishes of the East Indies, Appendix 1, 2012.)Silolona's also supporting the conservation films of Shawn Heinrichs:
(Blue Sphere Media) and his work on the preservation of the Mantas in Indonesia. February-March 2016, Si Datu Bua hosted marine biologists and Emmy-Award photographer on a marine survey in Cenderawasih Bay and Raja Ampat.
The aim of this program was to create a best of Raja Ampat/Birds Head film to support the raising of the endowment to fund conservation in the region for many years to come. As such, focus on capturing the most stunning imagery underwater and on land. We will also be capturing imagery to support a new "Indonesia Ocean Pride" campaign, focused on Connecting Indonesian hearts to their oceans. – Si Datu Bua from Cenderawasih to Sorong in Feb -Mar makes most sense. That way we can document the whale sharks, leatherback sea turtles and all the other life in between.
Mark Erdmann is Conservation International's Vice President of Asia Pacific Marine Programs. Though now based in New Zealand after 23 years in Indonesia, he is still intimately involved with the Bird's Head Seascape and frequently disappears into its remote corners for weeks on end.
Shawn Heinrichs is an Emmy Award-winning cinematographer, photographer and marine conservationist. An independent filmmaker, he is the founder of Blue Sphere Media, a production company specializing in underwater, adventure and conservation media. His work was recently featured in the film Racing Extinction.Notes from Mark Erdmann from the Bird's Head Seascape's website:
For the past five years, Cendrawasih Bay's friendly whale shark population has been attracting a lot of attention, primarily because of the near-certainty of having outstanding (and lengthy!) whale shark encounters during a visit to the region...
…whale sharks feeding under the bagans frequently end up as part of the catch of "ikan puri" baitfish, which affords a rare opportunity to quickly deploy a fin-mount satellite tag before releasing them.
Since June 2015, we've been able to tag 15 male whale sharks (ranging in size from 3 to 7 m in length) from Cendrawasih, using custommade fin-mounted satellite tags by Wildlife Computers. These fin-mount tags have extended battery life which we hope will provide data for up to two years, and we've been delighted with their performance to date. All but one of the tags has been transmitting data very regularly (on average every 2-5 days) – basically each time one of the tagged sharks spends enough time on the surface for the tag to uplink to the ARGOS satellite network.
Mounting a fin-mount satellite tag takes only 10-15 minutes, but will provide near realtime data on the shark's movements and diving behaviour for up to 2 years!
As previously reported back in November, the initial data received from June through October 2015 seemed to confirm what many suspected – that Cendrawasih whale sharks are largely "homebodies", preferring to stay close to shore and feed upon the abundant ikan puri baitfish schools that abound in the coastal bays and estuarine areas of the southern and eastern coastlines of Cendrawasih. Which of course is a great thing for BHS marine tourism, as it means visitors can pretty much plan a trip any time of the year and have a very good chance of excellent whale shark interactions.
One of the more "typical" movement datasets. From June 2015 through March 2016, this 4.5m shark ("Goris") has remained continuously within the south-eastern section of Cendrawasih Bay, venturing at one point north towards Yapen but soon returning to the Kwatisore region.
"Jude", a 7m male named in memory of BHS diving enthusiast Judithe Bizot, took a "Christmas road-trip" down the coast to Jayapura, but then apparently became homesick and returned to Cendrawasih Bay. …
…"Wally", a 6m male tagged in late October 2015, has proven to be the most adventurous of the Cendrawasih whale sharks tagged so far. He left the bay just before Christmas (almost simultaneously with Jude!), and headed down the coast to Jayapura but then crossed the border into PNG – where he remains to this day on extended holiday near the Sepik River…
Similarly, one of our most recently tagged whale sharks, Ke'Opulupulu, headed almost immediately north into the center of the Bay (near the Auri Islands and atolls), then navigated to the south coast of Biak and Supiori Islands, where he's remained for the past few weeks.
"Ke'Opulupulu" – a 5.8m male only recently tagged in mid-February, immediately moved north through the center of the Bay and is now hanging out along the south coast of Biak and Supiori Islands!...
…A special thanks to Patti Seery and her amazing staff and crew of the Si Datu Bua for hosting our most recent deployment expedition.Bird's Head Seascape extract: Quote from Shawn Heinrichs:
"Silolona Sojourns has been a trusted and invaluable partner supporting our conservation work in Indonesia. On our last expedition, we undertook an epic marine survey aboard Silolona's luxury traditional Gaff Rig Phinisi, Si Datu Bua. Our journey took us from Cenderawasih Bay in Northwest Papua, around the Birds, head and down to Misool in Southeast Raja Ampat. Along the way, we documented whale sharks feeding beneath the fishing bagans in Cenderwasih Bay, rare and massive leatherback turtles nesting on one of the last great nesting beaches in all the Pacific, and giant oceanic manta rays aggregating on seamounts off Misool Eco Resort. Without the unwavering support of Patti Seery and the incredible service of the Silolona team, this expedition would not have been possible."
- Shawn Heinrichs , Emmy Award Winning Conservation Filmmaker and Photographer
Silolona & Si Datu Bua are fully-certified Padi Diver Centers but also offer many other options for non-divers including fishing, kayaking, waterskiing, and of course, relaxing on a perfect sandy beach, secluded, with just a group of friends. Tandem charters are available, with a full capacity of 16-20 guests.
1. Conservation International / Bird's Head Seascape:
2. Blue Sphere Media: www.bluespheremedia.com
3. Reef Fishes of the East Indies by Dr Mark Erdmann and Dr Gerry Allen ( Conservation International).