Trip to Socotra and Red SEa seeks researchers

Ed Kelly ekelly at
Thu Jun 26 00:15:02 EDT 1997



The Arabian Seas Expedition (ASE) is an environmental awareness project
producing a series of documentary film studies investigating the marine life
and environmental issues within all the seas surrounding the Arabian
Peninsula.  We are looking for people interested in doing research in this
part of the world to join us on our "Voyage of Discovery"  leaving Dubai on
November 15, 1997

ASE was born from the apparent environmental anticlimax that followed the
Gulf war, as a reaction to the shifting of global focus and was originally
aiming to view first hand the short and long term impact from the Gulf war's
oil spill, the largest manmade oil related disaster ever. The full impact on
the marine life and coastal ecology has never been clearly defined and was
soon swept away from public interest as the international media moved
elsewhere onto more current stories.

One of the most broadening consequences derived from the ASE's earlier work,
was the understanding that the seas of Arabia were far from being a desert
reflection of the arid land that they surround, but are actually amongst the
richest marine environments on our planet, rich in diversity of marine life,
and full of exciting new discovery.  Political tensions throughout this
historically volatile area had in fact prevented marine biologists from
moving freely within the area.  Today, marine scientist are discovering
hundreds of species new to science.  The chances of learning exciting new
information along with the possibility to view unique insights into an
amazing wealth of natural history have moved the ASE into a unique position
- to be the first to feature these insights on film.

Part of the process of producing these films also creates an advantageous
logistical platform for scientists and researchers wishing to commence or
further scientific marine life studies in these remote and until now,
inaccessible areas.  With this in mind, ASE is now preparing for the  most
dramatic and important facet of the project - The ASE VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY.

We are offering this unique opportunity to Research Institutions and
Universities enabling you to participate in our ASE VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY
commencing in November 1997.

Recent research is revealing that the proposed route intended by the ASE
will take them to waters that are potentially full of discovery and will
undoubtedly prove to be the most stunningly beautiful and important areas of
Arabia's underwater world.


Departure from Dubai	November 15 1998
				Aboard Breakwind, cetacean studies off Oman coastline
Arrive at Mukalla, Yemen	December 15, 1997
				Transfer to MS Surveyor
Arrive in Socotra		December 23, 1997
				Set up base camp to explore the island and waters
Arrive in Hudaydah		March 30, 1998
				Time to visit Yemen coastline
Depart for Daklak Islands	April 30 till June 1, 1998
				Visit Dibouti, and Southern Red Sea on to Egypt.

The Southern coast of Oman, in the Arabian Sea, is possibly  home to the
world's only resident humpback whale population.  The same area is exposed
to constant up-wellings from the Indian ocean depths, creating unique
ecosystems that support tropical and temperate organisms side by side.  In
only two months of research, Dr. Jack Randall from Honolulu's Bishop Museum,
discovered over 46 new species of fish from the Southern region of Oman.

There are few places left throughout the world that one can truly call
unknown in terms of marine biology.  One such location - Socotra, remains
enshrouded in mystery and legend.  A place that marine charts and
navigational maps still refer to as uncharted and dangerous waters.  A place
so isolated and remote from either the Arabian peninsula or African
mainland, that it's unique bio-diversity has changed little throughout
millennia.  Socotra is today considered as the Galapagos of the Indian
ocean, and promises to be full of interesting discoveries.  Assumption leads
us to believe that the island is home to many endemic marine species, a
large number of which will certainly be new to science.

The Daklak Islands off the coast of Eritrea in the Red Sea, had been off
limits for over 30 years of bitter civil war.  The islands represent one of
the last regions of pristine marine ecology in the Southern Red Sea.
Tourism is expected to grow rapidly here and we wish to film the fragility
of the island's biodiversity before it is lost to the demands of progress.

Our progressive route up the Red Sea will take us to areas that offer
special interests such as schooling sharks, graceful Manta Rays, Giant
Nudibranchs and pristine coral reefs of unsurpassed beauty.  Our final
destination is the most famous diving location throughout the Middle East,
and arguably the world -Egypt's Sinai, or more specifically Sharm-el-Sheikh,
(inorder to look at the latest marine park conservation project).

If you have interests in this region, and would life to initiate a specific
research study, please e-mail me details on the nature of your research with
an outline of what you would like to do.  We will respond immediately with a
plan as to how we could integrate your research into our overall mission.
Submissions should reach us no later than the first of September 1997.

We have the use of two very different boats; Breakwind, has space for 3
researchers and is suited to those who would prefer to conduct their
research in a more private manner.  The boat is basic but comfortable and we
will do our best to make participants feel part of a unique and
unprecedented project.  Then we have the MS Surveyor, a luxury research
vessel with space for 14 researchers for those who may intend to spend more
time at sea and are looking for more facilities and comforts.


- 56 foot boat with a 5 metre beam and 2 metre draft with cutter rigging
(sails), diesel engine.
- 3 double cabins, one single berth in the stateroom.
- Kitchen galley, large lounge area, shower and WC facilities
- 1500 l fresh water tanks
- GPS (Global Positioning System), Radar, proximity alarms, sonar
Echsounders, Auto Pilot
- Auto-helm 7000, High frequency radio, VHS radio, SATCOM with fax 
- Solar and  wind powered generators.

MS Surveyor

-33 m research vessel
- 8 twin cabins with basin-sharing bathrooms and one double ensuite
- main saloon with TV, stereo and separate dining room
- air conditioned throughout
- film processing lab, editing suite, photo centre
- 3 compressors, 40x12  l tanks
- 2x5m inflatable with twin outboards
- water capacity: 60 tonnes plus watermaker of 2.5 tonnes per day
- crew of 8 including cook, mechanic, dive master and 3 deck hands


Each researcher should be fully self funded for airfares and able to
contribute $3000 for every 4 weeks towards the expedition's costs.

End-destination airport pick-up
Transfer to boat
Full board (three meals and drinks)
Shared accommodation
Full or partial scuba equipment, training if required


Micheal Appel   	Senckenberg Institute, Frankfurt
		   	PhD work on Deapod Crustaceans of the Arabian Gulf and Gulf of Oman

Dr.Vic Cockcroft 	Centre for Dolphin STudies, Port Elizabeth Museum, South
		      	Dugong research in the UAE

Robert Baldwin  	Whale and Dolphin Research programme
		     	Comprehensive Cetacean Study - UAE

Anna Hywell- Davies     Crustaceans and Magal Ecosystems of Abu Dhabi's
offshore                         islands

Dr. Bernard Riegl 	University of Vienna, Austria
		        Coral Reef Study in the Southern Arabian Gulf			

Dr. Jack Randall	Bishops Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii
			Fish species identification in Southern Oman

Elaine Kelly
62 Harvard Road
Guelph, Ontario
N1G 2X8

        tel: 1 519 836 7117
fax: 1 519 763 0300
e-mail: ekelly at

Elaine Kelly, ekelly at 

62 Harvard Road
Guelph, Ontario 
N1G 2X8

tel: 1 519 836 7117
fax: 1 519 793 0300

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