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Cultures & Natural History/Regions of the World

The Odyssey researchs in some very remote regions around the world. Go behind the scenes and experience some of the cultures and natural history of those areas.


September 12, 2003
'Kandy Esala Perahera'
"While waiting for the south-west monsoon season to subside, the Odyssey has undergone an extensive maintenance period in recent weeks. The time in port gave the crew an opportunity to experience some of the extraordinary cultural heritage throughout Sri Lanka. For us on the Odyssey, witnessing the Esala Perahera was an experience we will always remember."
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April 14, 2003
'Pinnewala Elephant Orphanage'
"The elephant is the largest living animal found on land, its size is only exceeded by some large whale species. Before heading back out to sea in search of sperm whales, the crew travelled up into the mountains in the hope of seeing Sri Lankan elephants."
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May 20, 2003
'Vesak - A Buddhist Festival'
"Despite the weather conditions, the crew returned to port to find the festivities of 'Vesak' well underway. Vesak is a two-day, island-wide holiday falling on the full moon in May commemorating the birth, enlightenment and death of Lord Buddha. It is one of the most colourful and elaborate holidays in a country that is famous for its festivals."
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February 13, 2003
'Tuna Pole Fishery'
"The tuna fishery is the pillar of Maldivian society. The Maldivian tuna fishery is known to date as far back as the sixteenth century utilizing live bait, pole and line techniques that target the smaller species of surface swimming tunas."
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January 19, 2003
'Addu Atoll'
"Due to high winds, the crew sailed into and dropped anchor at Addu atoll this afternoon, a tiny circular string of 27 islands, most of which are uninhabited. Addu is the southern most atoll in the Maldives and is a long way outside of the tourist zone, allowing those fortunate enough to visit, unparalleled access to some of the most interesting, unspoiled and traditional Maldivian villages in the country."
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January 13, 2003
'Arrival in the Maldives'
"Our 1,200 nautical mile journey from the Seychelles was calm and untroubled. A peaceful Holidays at sea included encounters with sea birds, humpback whales and several oceanic dolphin species, among them the effervescent pan-tropical spotted dolphins. These small whales made almost daily appearances. Since entering the Indian Ocean over a year ago now, representatives from this dolphin species have accompanied us more often than any other."
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December 7, 2002
'Aldabra - A Living Eden'
"Aldabra is over 1100 kilometers from Mahe. It is actually closer to Madagascar (at 400 kilometers) and Africa (at 640 kilometers) than it is to it's own capitol - a pristine land, where plants and animals of every persuasion exist in a natural but fragile equilibrium in the almost complete absence of man."
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January 7, 2003
'Seychelles Video Report'
"The crew reflect on the highlights of the Seychelles research leg."
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December 11, 2002
'Land of the Lumbering Giants - The Giant Tortoise of Aldabra'
"With legs like an elephant, a long retractable neck and an enormous scaled shell, the lumbering giant tortoise is the undisputed 'King' of Aldabra. But how did they reach such a remote place?"
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December 7, 2002
'Aldabra - A Living Eden'
"Aldabra is over 1100 kilometers from Mahe. It is actually closer to Madagascar (at 400 kilometers) and Africa (at 640 kilometers) than it is to it's own capitol - a pristine land, where plants and animals of every persuasion exist in a natural but fragile equilibrium in the almost complete absence of man."
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October 8, 2002
'Protecting the Indian Ocean Whale Sanctuary'
"The Seychellois are rightfully proud of their past environmental achievements and are probably most highly respected for their strong anti-whaling stance and commitment to the Indian Ocean Whale Sanctuary. The sanctuary was initially declared in 1979 after meetings hosted and led by the Seychelles."
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August 7, 2002
'Seychelles Arrival'
"After sailing west over 1110 miles in the last forteen days, the Research Vessel Odyssey has arrived in the Seychelles, a spectacular cluster of islands east of the African continent situated between the northernmost tip of Madagascar and the equator."
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June 21, 2002
'The Chagos Archipelago'
"Having already found whales off the western and southern coastlines of Western Australia and the deep ocean trenches south of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, we have just arrived inside the territorial waters of the Chagos Archipelago-a British owned territory in the center of the Indian Ocean, midway between the African continent and the great mass of islands that is Indonesia."
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May 23, 2002
'Cocos (Keeling) Arrival'
"After an extremely successful, yet somewhat storm-tossed two and a half week research leg, we have arrived at our next port. Early this morning, we could see from the crow's nest (88 feet above the deck) the green hue of palm trees in the distance. We had reached the Cocos (Keeling) Islands!"
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May 13, 2002
'Australian Leg Report'
"Today, we look back and reflect upon the past 8 months in Australia as we head off to cross the Indian Ocean."
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October 12, 2001
'Doctor's Gully'
"At Doctor's Gully, thousands of fish come to shore at high tide to feed. This unique aquatic phenomenon is an excellent opportunity to educate people about the fish species that inhabit the local marine environment. Staff discuss the natural history of various species, answer questions, as well as highlight potential and existing threats to the animals."
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October 1, 2001
'The Aboriginal Rock Art of Kakadu'
"The park is extremely important to Aboriginal people, and many still occupy the region. Significant sites associated with the 'Dreaming' or creation of the land and animals, are particularly important to the Aboriginal communities."
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February 20, 2002
'Sheltering High Seas in the Abrolhos'
"We are currently heading toward the old sperm whaling grounds about 200 - 300 nautical miles northwest of the coastal town of Geraldton. Last night while travelling south of the Houtman Abrolhos islands, we decided to take shelter from the adverse weather conditions."
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January 27, 2002
'The Whalers of Albany'
"Paddy Hart and Chase Van Der Gaag worked as skippers and master gunners aboard the Cheynes Beach Whaling Stations catcher boats. Between them they spent almost 30 years chasing and dispatching sperm whales that were processed and sold to overseas markets. Today they share some of their past experiences with us."
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January 21, 2002
'The History of Whaling in Albany, Australia'
"For almost two centuries, whalers from around the globe came to the waters of King George Sound and the surrounding areas for the same reason to hunt right whales, humpback whales and sperm whales. The last working whaling station [in Australia] only closed in Albany in 1978. This vast natural harbor on the remote southern coast of Western Australia has a rich and sometimes violent maritime history."
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November 30, 2001
'Intertidal Forests'
"Very little is actually known about mangroves and their forest ecosystem. We know that they are an integral component of the marine environment. However, the mangrove ecosystem is different from adjacent systems, such as coral reefs and the open ocean, but is critically linked to and totally dependant upon them."
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September 28, 2001
'The Wonders of Kakadu'
"Kakadu is one of a handful of World Heritage Areas that have been listed for both outstanding cultural and natural universal values. It's an exceptional example of ongoing geological and biological processes, and of human interaction with the natural environment."
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August 24, 2001
'The Land 'Down Under''
"This morning the Odyssey sailed through the Dundas Strait and into the Port of Darwin, Australia, named after the great naturalist and explorer, Charles Darwin.'
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August 16, 2001
'Saying Goodbye to PNG and the Pacific'
"Now it is time for the Odyssey and her crew to move on to the next phase of our five-year global voyage. One thousand miles of ocean and eight days of sailing the Coral Sea and Torres Strait lie ahead, beyond it, our next destination, Darwin, Australia. So after 17 months of research in the Pacific Ocean we say goodbye to both it and Papua New Guinea, while looking forward to new challenges and more whales in the Indian Ocean."
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May 20, 2001
'Far Away Places'
"When I awoke this morning we were out at sea again, making our way West through mirror calm seas, searching for whales within an area in which we found them last week."
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April 2, 2001
'PNG Video Report'
"We have been in the territorial waters of Papua New Guinea now for six weeks, during that time we have spent a total of thirty-five days looking for whales with great success. Following is a video compilation of some of our experiences so far."
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March 28, 2001
'Anchored in the Flooded Caldera of Garove'
"Captain Iain Kerr and Genevieve Johnson spent time with staff and students of Garove Primary School. They discussed whales and the marine environment and although most students were vaguely familiar with whales, they were surprised to hear about the number and variety that are present in Papua New Guinea waters. Charlie, one of the teachers told us stories of large whales entering the caldera at night, the sound of their blows echoing and bouncing off the steep cliffs."
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March 21, 2001
'Rabaul'
"We have just completed a valuable two and a half-week survey of the Bismarck and Solomon Seas. This unique environment evidently supports an abundance of marine mammals. This proved to be an incredible trip with a daily bonanza of whale and dolphin sightings."
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March 2, 2001
Kavieng Arrival
"We have arrived in port after a long and challenging ocean passage from Tarawa. Interestingly, the monsoon we encountered that caused us to delay our arrival, has subsequently headed south, eventually forming a class two cyclone over Northern Australia."
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January 31, 2001
Global Warming
"The islands making up the nation of Kiribati, are low lying coral atolls, which, in the not-too-distant future, may well attain the much unwanted notoriety of being among one of the first countries to be affected disastrously, or destroyed entirely by the unavoidable rise in sea-level which scientists believe global warming will bring."
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November 29, 2000
Roger Payne visits Hull Island
The Sooty Tern uses its body to cast a shadow in order to protect its young chick from the blazing equatorial sun.
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November 17, 2000
A Tour of Christmas Island
The crew of the Odyssey all agree that Christmas Island would be a great place to be marooned for awhile.
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