Catlin Seaview Survey
The last few weeks we had the pleasure of having a research team from the Catlin Seaview Survey project as our guests, a scientific survey of the reefs of the world, funded by global specialty insurance company Catlin Group Ltd. Their mission is to scientifically record the world’s coral reefs and reveal them to all in high-resolution, 360-degree panoramic vision. In the field they are using a specially designed camera that takes rapid-fire 360 degree images every 3 seconds while traveling at a speed of approximately 4km/h. Images are then stitched together and published online in a fashion that allows anyone with a desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone to self-navigate a ‘virtual dive’ in stunning high-resolution. The Catlin Seaview SVII camera does for the underwater, what Google’s Street View did for dry land. For some stunning examples of these images please follow this link, it shows exactly what they are doing.
With the collected data the Catlin Seaview Survey is creating a baseline record of the world’s coral reefs, in high-resolution 360-degree panoramic vision. It will enable change to the coral reefs to be clearly monitored over time and will help scientists, policy makers and the public at large to see and understand the issues reefs are facing and work out what needs to be done to best protect coral reefs now and into the future.
The team that came to Murex is being led by Dr. Ben Neal and Peter Dalton from the University of Queensland. Dr. Neal visited us last March on a scouting trip around North-Sulawesi to find the resort that suited his needs for this project. In the end they chose Murex Dive Resorts as their home base in North-Sulawesi. Because Murex has 2 central locations, Manado & Bangka available as their temporary home base and our newly built dive boat at their disposal, added to decades of knowledge and dives on North Sulawesi’s famous dive sites. It was a clear choice; Murex Resorts were able to handle all the logistics this team of researchers needed.
After unpacking their 500kg of equipment, putting it all together and adding a small crane to our dive boat they were soon off documenting the reefs along the North Sulawesi coast and around Bunaken National Park. After that they moved to Murex Bangka to do the same around Bangka, Talisei and in Lembeh Strait. You can read about their experiences during that period on their website, an introduction to North Sulawesi, the mangroves of Manado, discovering North Sulawesi, Lembeh Strait and Bunaken. During the same period they also boarded the Ocean Rover live-aboard to explore the coral reefs around the most northern islands of North-Sulawesi, Siau, Tagulandang, Biaro, Sangihe and Talaud. The founder of Murex Resorts and the Serenade liveaboards, Dr. Hanny Batuna, would have loved to know that Murex Resorts returned the Sangihe islands. But unfortunately, our new dive boats are unable to accommodate overnight stays.
During their days of surveying they found a lot of fascinating reefs, amazing fish life and met a lot of interesting people. They were overwhelmed by the knowledge about the area of our team. Diving with a 60kg+, scooter propelled camera is not easy at all and venturing into unknown waters without any leads makes it even harder. Our head dive guide Basrah, boat captain Marlon and crewman Laurens accompanied them for the entire Murex portion of their research, providing them with local insight and invaluable information about where to dive and what kind of situations to expect while on their dives.
Official results from their research around North-Sulawesi will be published in 2015 and as soon as they are online we will give you a full update about it. Even without diving you will be able to experience the beauty of the reefs and the sea life around North-Sulawesi from your desk or laptop.