Thanks to the huge support of Paul Gauguin Cruise, the te mana o te moana team represented by Cécile Gaspar its president and Mark Eddowes, specialist in archeology in all Polynesia area, was able to reach Cook Islands and developed the BULA HONU project in school and public displays : www.bulahonu.org
Aitutaki first were the Araura College Principal, Tracy Spiers had set up for lectures and educational games with residents and school children. Simon Bragger, science professor was there too and he will be the lead teacher of this college of over 200 students in order to follow the program in the school. Large emphasis on sea turtle in the Pacific lead to the migratory route following with 2 out the 5 five green sea turtles tagged in French Polynesia by te mana o te oana that are sending Argos signal who just went through the Cook Islands ZEE in direction of Fiji. In real time the teachers and children were able to look on Argos website to see the turtle positions!
All te mana educational material will be used in this college during the rest of the school year.
Direct contact was made with Trina Armstrong, from Aitutaki Conservation Trust for follow up on turtle research programs and putting together a direct collaboration with te mana o te moana with lots of interest to share all education component developed by the Tahitian NGO in English on the topic of sea turtles but also marine mammals. See : www.aitutakiconservation.com
Contact with the Aitutaki dive club was also made:
Rarotonga was the second island visited with the help of Jane Taurarii, science advisor for the Cook Island Ministry of Education. A school program at St Joseph school was set up and delivered to 40 children from 8 to 11 years old, under Kimi Narovu’s teacher’ supervision. Lectures and hand on with key educational material had a great success.
Direct exchanges were also made at the Center for cetacean research and conservation with Sheryl and Huw John as well as Dr. Nan Hauser to discuss further collaboration in the south pacific area both through education and research on sea turtles and cetaceans. The Center for Cetacean Research and conservation is a really amazing place with unique displays, very rich and impressive in its content, see : www.whaleresearch.org
Many contacts were made to organize this trip to Cook Island with very renown Dr. Michael White marine zoologist who has done tremendous research work on sea turtles in Cook Island, and who is a member of IUCN Marine Turtle Specialist Group as Cécile Gaspar
See http://www.honucookislands.com. Unfortunately Michael is based on Tongareva who is one of the north islands and could not be met during our visit. However, Omoka School from Tongareva atoll under the supervision of Poti and the collaboration of Michael White has already participated in the Bula Honu Project : see http://www.bulahonu.org/etab/tongareva-en/
In addition, special educational program on sea turtle conservation were proposed on board the Paul Gauguin Cruises for guest’s children in addition to conferences presented by Cécile Gaspar on sea turtles and the link to Jean Michel Cousteau’s conference on Ocean or Marks Eddowes’ ones on archeology.