• Report: #1087099

Complaint Review: operation wallacea

  • Submitted: Tue, September 24, 2013
  • Updated: Mon, November 04, 2013

  • Reported By: anonymous — kansas Alabama
operation wallacea
Nationwide United Kingdom

Operation Wallacea OP WALL Indonesia Hoga Island Marine research volunteer expedition total FAIL!!!!!! essex Nationwide

*REBUTTAL Owner of company: Falsified grievance

*UPDATE Employee: Opwall Hoga

What's this?
What's this?
What's this?
Is this
Ripoff Report
About you?
Ripoff Report
A business' first
line of defense
on the Internet.
If your business is
willing to make a
commitment to
customer satisfaction
Click here now..

Does your business have a bad reputation?
Fix it the right way.
Corporate Advocacy Program™

SEO Reputation Management at its best!

 Attention all dissertation students and research assistants,


Before booking an expedition to Hoga Island with Operation Wallacea please read the following.

3500 pounds will buy you a family home and three scooters in Indonesia.

3500 pounds through opwall will buy you  3months shared accomodation in a condemable shack with a mosquito net that has holes you can put your fist through supposedly of (WHO) quality, of which about $300 which will actually go to the owner of the house who may or may not steal anything not bolted down. 3 months of sometimes tuna which is the regions most unsustainable fish caught in the most unsustainable fashion, Some rice and stale bread rolls. Some diving that is so regimented that the n**i's would of thought it over zealous.

I will start with the research station review.

Having been to an actual marine research station before I had high hopes for this trip. What I found was a series of shacks that were being passed of as the most productive research station in Indonesia. There must be no other research stations in Indonesia! Labs were non existent actual marine bioligists were also non existent. Dissertation students were forced to be mentored by Phd students who treated you as more of an annoyance. Some of the project supervisors were geoligists!

The diving was the most painful experience of the trip.

The dive manager liked to treat everyone like fools even though some of the assistants had spent hundreds more hours in the water and thousands of pounds to be there. He often threatened people with comments like" do that again and you will be out of the water.

Dive profiles are strictly 18m for 50minutes with a five metre five minute safety stop maximum two dives a day!!. No night diving, Go out side this profile and you will be disciplined. Dive boats are unstable and dangerous with barely the proper safety devices. Dive masters will become furious if your safety stop is at 5.2m instead of 5.0. They will swim over your transects and be oblivious. If you leave your tank standing at any time you will be fined and the fine will be used in a non transparent manner. The sites are almost destroyed from the diving that is being conducted there. Coral cover is minimal compared to othe sites with less diving occuring on them. The waters are highly polluted with plastics with the majority coming from the research station as they have no waste management system.

You will not be allowed in the water at anytime with out a wetsuit on. You will be told quite often that you are not allowed to snorkel. The dive staff are arrogant and immensely rude.

Everything they offer to sell on the island is at a hyper inflated price which is poor from a not for profit organisation. Dive courses are more expensive than if being done at your local dive store.

Your accomodation is rarely cleaned and you will go the entire three months with out your sheets being changed. Mosquito nets are in poor condition the huts may have holes in the floors and massive spiders within. Your shower bucket will be filled with stagnate water and everyone will develop major ear infections from bathing. The meal preparation area smells like a latrine and you will lose weight because your appetite will be absent from week 3 onwards.

All this from a company that spruiks itself as a conservation based outfit. All I saw was ripping us, the Indonesians and the enviroment OFF. Please boycott this company as it does more harm than good for this impoverished region. Please comment with your own experiences to help others make a balanced decision about their education!!

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 09/24/2013 08:01 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/operation-wallacea/nationwide/Operation-Wallacea-OP-WALL-Indonesia-Hoga-Island-Marine-research-volunteer-expedition-1087099. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report.

Click Here to read other Ripoff Reports on operation wallacea

Search for additional reports

If you would like to see more Rip-off Reports on this company/individual, search here:

Search Tips
Report & Rebuttal
Respond to this report!
What's this?
Also a victim?
What's this?
Repair Your Reputation!
What's this?
0Author 1Consumer 1Employee/Owner
Updates & Rebuttals

#1 REBUTTAL Owner of company

Falsified grievance

AUTHOR: Dr Tim Coles - ()

The person posting this anonymous report was a PADI Dive Instructor with Opwall on Hoga who had to be dismissed for inappropriate behaviour and is being reported to PADI. 

When looking at the costs claimed to be outrageous here - can anyone identify another location in Indonesia let alone the world famous Wakatobi where you can have accommodation, food and at least two dives a day for £62-50 a day?  In addition this sum includes access to a large number of leading marine biologists and the chance to work alongside them.  Note 90% of all publications in peer reviewed journals about the Coral Triangle reefs have come from this research station. Data from these publications were used in the recent application to upgrade the Wakatobi to World Biosphere status.  All of that research was funded through tuition fees paid by the students who have joined this programme.

Respond to this report!
What's this?

#2 UPDATE Employee

Opwall Hoga

AUTHOR: OpwallCharlotte - ()

My name is Charlotte and I am the Indonesian country manager for Operation Wallacea. I have worked with Operation Wallacea since I was a student and I had my first expedition with them in 2006, where I was a dissertation student. Since then I have worked on the Honduras project for four years and the Indonesia site for 3 years. I also have an extensive background in conservation working with many other organisations, mainly charity based, both abroad and in the UK. For the majority of the year I work in our Lincolnshire head office and then I spend the summer out on the projects in Indonesia, overseeing the expedition. Anyone who comes to Indonesia will have plenty of contact with me you're more then welcome to contact me through Operation Wallacea if you have any questions or comments at all.

The first thing to know about Hoga and Operation Wallacea in general is our strong emphasis on evidence based conservation and a strong science program. The Wakatobi Marine National Park, where Hoga is located has one of the best studied coral reef systems in the world. The marine park has recently been designated a Marine Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO and recognised as a site of special interest which promotes excellence in research and education.

Much of the research undertaken by both volunteers and staff are related to conservation, by increasing our knowledge of the biodiversity, productivity and functional ecology of these systems. Examples of direct research that has led to better informed management includes research on local fisheries, research on the rates of change in key system characteristics over time driven by different management regimes, detailed monitoring of the health and biodiversity of reefs in the region, research in to the environmental impact of agar farms, research in to the extent to which reefs of the region are impacted by biological agents, in particularly Crown of Thorns Starfish and coral disease, investigations in to the recruitment of reef building corals on to different reef systems to determine if degraded systems have the potential to recover and hence what drives reef resilience, and finally social and anthropological and research investigating the connection between local stakeholders and coral reefs including management authorities, islanders and Bajo .

Most of the activities in one way or another are related to conservation and increasing global knowledge of coral reef systems. Having said that there are some projects (the vast minority) that purely address a specific ecological question and as long as it adds to our knowledge base then we are happy for such projects to be included in the programme. The most difficult task is to bring all these projects together and use it to produce reports and presentations that are delivered to management authorities and policy makers and in doing so ensure that the park remains a site which has value and that that higher value is related to a higher quality environment.

The Hoga site is a fantastic research program and has produced over 90% of the publications that have come from the whole of the coral triangle region (an area that includes the waters of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste and Solomon Islands). The research and conservation of the area is the driving force behind the whole project and that is what we want our volunteers to experience.

The second aspect of the projects that all Opwall staff are very proud of is our interaction and contribution to local communities on all of our projects. Our aim is to involve as many people from the local community in the project as possible, through employment, training and capacity building and finally education. We are able to provide income to local people in a number of ways. You meet numbers of Indonesian staff on site, running the boats, the dive shed, the ladies that work in the kitchen and many many more. A secondary way we are able to provide income is through the housing that all of our volunteers stay in. We asked, and then helped many people from the island of Kaledupa (neighbouring Hoga) to build small traditional style Indonesian houses on the island that house two people. Operation Wallacea then rents these houses giving income to the landlord of the house. As an organization this is obviously not the most cost effective way to house people on the island, the cheapest way would have been to build the houses ourselves and then no rent needs to be paid, but the decision was made to do it the way we do currently to support the communities on Kaledupa. There are many other examples where Operation Wallacea does very similar things to make sure the local communities are always involved and supported by our projects.

The final thing that all Operation Wallacea volunteers should know is where their money goes and this is something we are open and honest about. Something that needs to be clear is that Operation Wallacea is not a charity, nor do we ever promote ourselves as one. We have a counterpart charity that we work with, The Operation Wallacea Trust. It is important to note that none of the directors are the same and so they run as independent entities but we can work together to apply for large scale funding and when this is achieved the money goes straight to the trust and then can be spent supporting our conservation outcomes on our projects worldwide.

When you sign up as a research assistant or dissertation student you pay a fee to Operation Wallacea for the support and advice we give you in planning your trip, the project out on site and also to make sure we look after you in the interests of safety at all times. Of the fee you pay to Operation Wallacea over 60% goes out to the field projects. As a company we are very proud of this figure and if you do a little research you will soon see that this much higher than most other organisations and charities as well. The money that goes out to the field project goes into a huge number of areas, which really until you have planned a project like this it is hard to see what it takes to set up a field station. There are things that are obvious, your accommodation, food etc and then many hidden cost such as research permit, land rental, purchasing and delivering of food, the list goes on. Just to mention that our food is all cooked by local ladies and is all traditional Indonesian food. We try to source food as locally as we can, but because of the remoteness of the island most food has to be shipped in from Bau Bau (a twelve hour boat ride away) and buying the food from a different location and shipping it to the island comes at a price. One product we always source locally is our fish. We mainly serve tuna, which is not the yellow fin species, which is locally caught on short lines from small dug out canoes or single engine boats, we never serve unsustainably caught fish and would never purchase fish that has been caught on a long line or through blast fishing.

The money that stays in the UK is used to run our office (in a rural location in Lincolnshire, not an expensive city location), the wages of the full time members of staff such as myself, the costs of putting on presentations in Universities to recruit our volunteers and the medical insurance that covers you while you are on site.

It is important to note that safety is something that we as a company take extremely seriously, which is why we have a specialized insurance policy that will cover you for an evacuation from our site if the need arose. We have full evacuation plans published on our website, along with risk assessments and we also publish our medical statistics every year. There are procedures on Hoga that are set up for your safety, and at times I can understand students being frustrated by them, for instance having to wear a full length wetsuit whenever you are in the water but this is simply to avoid you coming into contact with and being stung by venomous animals in the water. We appreciate that our volunteers understand any rules we make are for your safety and for no other reason.

On a last note I would like to say that the reality of conservation work is very difficult and no, our projects are not perfect, no conservation project is. Something that Operation Wallacea and myself as the manager of the Indonesia project will always want to do is constantly improve everything we are doing. For all Operation Wallacea staff we work for the company because we have a background in biology, conservation or education and because we believe in what we are trying to achieve which is locally driven, conservation management of some of the most biologically important places in the world, which students are able to experience and support through joining us on an expedition. For anyone who would like to know about the conservation projects we are currently working on or anything else about the expeditions then please feel free to contact me.

Respond to this report!
What's this?
Report & Rebuttal
Respond to this report!
What's this?
Also a victim?
What's this?
Repair Your Reputation!
What's this?