Rascal Voyages is partnering Conservation International Indonesia (CI Indonesia) to launch The Exploration Series of scientific expeditions across the Indonesian Archipelago, South-east Asia, the Indian Ocean and beyond.
The new series will be in line with Rascal Voyages’ fleet expansion.
On what inspired The Exploration Series, Erik Barreto, co-owner of Rascal Voyages, said: “The new partnership between Rascal Voyages and Conservation International follows a successful collaboration earlier this year, where we saw major scientific breakthroughs during a Rascal and CI Indonesia voyage to Raja Ampat.
“As well as the discovery of two new species of fish and two manta cleaning stations, the initiative led to the identification of at least 25 new manta individuals, and proof of new drone surveying technology. These accomplishments inspired us to develop the programme further, in line with our Rascal Voyages expansion across South-east Asia.’’
The first of eight itineraries in The Exploration Series will take place in December 2018 to Mapia Atoll; a five-day expedition led by turtle expert Ricardo Tapilatu from the State University of Papua, along with Mark Erdmann and a team of Indonesian conservation experts celebrated for their commitment to marine conservation.
During the trip, guests will learn about the Atoll’s reef fish diversity and coral health, use drone technology to survey turtles and mantas, and meet with local communities to learn about their approach to marine resource management and current threats.
Part of the Bird’s Head Seascape – the global epicentre of marine biodiversity – Mapia Atoll is comprised of four main islands and lagoon with sheer outer reef walls that drop off thousands of meters into the western Pacific abyss. Here, guests will enjoy a variety of water sports offered by Rascal, as well as getting involved with tagging turtles and mantas.
The series also includes a journey to Cenderawasih Bay, the playground of the whale shark. CI Indonesia scientists will satellite tag whale sharks to help build a better picture of the movements and behaviours.
Other trips will include surveying Walking Sharks along North Papua coast, Hammerhead Shark tagging by the CI Indonesia experts in Banda Sea and tagging of Thresher Sharks in Alor. The tags for hammerheads and thresher sharks are attached for an average of six months, following which time, the tags harmlessly detach.
Rascal is available for private charter only. Guests will be able to book a voyage on The Exploration Series by visiting www.rascalvoyages.com. Prices for The Exploration Series start at US$12,000 per night for a group of eight guests.