Newsletter September 2021
Seven Seas Update
You are probably wondering what the status of our operations are over here in Indonesia. I'm happy to report we are all well despite the recent spike in Covid cases. We have managed to target the limited expat and local market and successfully run a handful of heavily discounted trips over the last year.
The Seven Seas has just returned to Flores after an extensive drydock carried out in both Surabaya and Bali with the final touches and detailing completed here in Flores. A new main engine has been installed after 15 years of reliable service from our original machine. All systems are up and running the vessel looks like new. We are all dressed up with no place to go. Very frustrating indeed!
Our office in Bali has been fully renovated and Naomi, our new manager who took over from Candra, has settled in well. The crew have, as always, been incredible, especially during the crisis. Very patient and understanding of the current situation. They are all fully vaccinated and they all can't wait to get back out on charter doing what we do best.
I'm feeling quietly confident for the fully vaccinated and optimistic that Indonesia will open up before the end of the year. I arrived in Jakarta from Australia June 16 fully vaccinated. Jakarta was then a red zone for Covid. Next stop was Surabaya for drydock. Surabaya was a black zone at the time. Even though we were in the thick of it, neither the crew nor myself have tested positive or suffered any ill affects during the last 2 months while Indonesia was experiencing the highest Covid case numbers in the world.
Even though we still have no clear sign from the Indonesian government as to when international tourism will resume, the good news is the Indonesian Covid case numbers are dropping and we hope that trend continues. We have extended our Covid terms until late November this year. Details can be found here.
On behalf of the all Seven Seas crew and staff members we would like to sincerely thank all of you who have supported us through difficult times over the last 18 months.
We are all eagerly looking forward to sailing the Seven Seas once again, delivering on all our rescheduled trips, and with a bit of luck, have you all back on board in the not-too-distant future.
Seven Seas Conservation Efforts in the Banda Sea
By Mark Heighes.
Last year midway through 2020 while sitting around with Seven Seas crippled by Covid, I had an idea! What if I could use the resources available to do something good for the ocean that has given us all so much over the years? So, I found some backing from a repeat client who has been joining trips with myself and the crew long before the introduction of the Seven Seas.
By November 2020 we had put as special group of conservationists and photographers together all with many years of experience working in Indonesia. As we had some backing to help cover a good chunk of our expenses and we launched a one-month expedition out into the Forgotten Islands and Banda Sea. Some of you may have read some short stories and video put together by the group of conservationists and photographers on Facebook or in our recent newsletters.
The idea was to make contact with targeted isolated local communities and work on conservation efforts to help them manage and protect their own surrounding marine environment from destructive fishing practices, such as blast fishing and shark finning just to name a few. The invading fishermen are mostly pirates from other parts of Indonesia who have already destroyed or fished out their own reefs. They venture out to the remote island in the Banda Sea to poach or sometimes pay local communities to fish on or around their reefs.
Serua Conservation Agreement
I knew exactly which islands to target after over 35 years of experience exploring the Banda Sea. During this time, we have established very good relations with many of the remote island communities and have been able to identify the areas under most threat from destructive fishing practices. To cut a long story short the trip was very successful and we signed local agreements with community leaders that covered areas such as the villages of Welora on Dawera Island, Jerili on Serua Island and, the island of Manuk.
» CLICK HERE FOR MARK'S FULL REPORT AND MORE VIDEOS
Strings of Pearls in Eastern Indonesia - a plan to conserve reefs around small, remote islands, together with island communities and eco-tourism operators
The small islands in eastern Indonesia feature unique reefs, which are often excellent dive destinations. They are worthy of conservation, but their remoteness makes it difficult to establish a conservation program. It is difficult to deploy permanent rangers, and also deployment of patrols is too costly. Fortunately, there are two groups who can help out: The islanders themselves, and Indonesia's fleet of liveaboards, who frequently visit these islands. YKAN is developing an initiative to involve island communities in conservation, in collaboration with the live-aboard association (JANGKAR). We are asking your help to support this initiative.
With your help, YKAN will do the following:
- Agree with village community which reefs needs protection
- Establish a conservation agreement with the villagers who frequently visit the reef and with the village administration, where the villagers agree to protect the reefs from fishing and other destructive use. The reefs will remain open for visitation. The village community will receive an annual cash payment for their help.
- Have meetings with local government to ensure that they are aware of this village-based initiative
- Appoint one of the community members as a conservation steward, establish a reporting mechanisms and a means of communication with the steward
- Work with the liveaboard fleet to help with supplies for participating village communities, and with monitoring of the conservation agreement
- Appoint a coordinator, based in Bali, who will keep in contact with the conservation stewards and with the liveaboards
It takes US$ 50,000 to get a first site going for one year. This will cover expenses for community engagement and mobilization of a conservation stewards. YKAN will cover costs for its personnel and for coordination. YKAN will develop a program that raises funds in Indonesia to support this initiative over the coming years.
» INFORMATION FOR MAKING DONATIONS
Yayasan Konservasi Alam Nusantara is an Indonesian non-profit, and it is an affiliate of The Nature Conservancy (nature.org).
By Alex del Olmo.
On April 2021 I was called to film another expedition in Indonesia.
Even though the COVID-19 travel restrictions were still strong in Indonesia, we sailed off to Lucipara with high hopes.
After creating a new MPA in Serua, our Marine Conservation experts wanted to create a new one as well in Lucipara.
We traveled more than 1,300 nautical miles aboard The Seven Seas for a whole month, diving in one of the most remote area in Indonesia.
This short film testifies of the marine life that we encountered there and which we must protect at all costs, creating a new MPA.
The Seven Seas - Pertokoan Simpang Siur (Kuta Poleng) C1 - Jl. Setiabudi
Kuta, Badung 80361 - Bali - Indonesia