The Macro Paradise Which is Northern Sulawesi (Long Version), Part 2

To: Short Version

To Parts: N.Sul 1, N.Sul 3, N.Sul 4, N.Sul 5, N.Sul 6, N.Sul 7, N.Sul 8, N.Sul 9, N.Sul 10, N.Sul 11, N.Sul 12, N.Sul 13, N.Sul 14, N.Sul 15, N.Sul 16, N.Sul 17, N.Sul 18, N.Sul 19

Related FAQs: Indonesian Biotopes


Bob Fenner,


Wherefore art thou Wallace?
Parts of Northern Sulawesi lie in, on, are the path of the Wallace Line, the so-called ?crucible of life?, site of the most species of most all groups of living things on this planet. A bit of necessary history: Alfred Russell Wallace was a contemporary of none other than Charles Darwin of ?Origin of Species? fame? and in all fairness should be equally credited with this landmark work, having ?goosed? Darwin into compiling his notes, publishing his ideas on the matter. Russell wrote (paraphrasing here) Darwin while residing in Indonesia, doing a tour as a natural historian, ?Charles, I think I?m seeing relationships twixt form and function, usefulness of variants through time and space in living things. What say you?? Darwin to himself: ?Yikes, better get a move on, else this upstart will pre-empt my similar observations?! Well, at least Wallace gets a ?line? in his name, sort of like longitude, latitude, extending irregularly north-south in Malay-Australia. Check any organismal group for numbers of species in this region against? Hawaii, the west coast of the United States, the Mediterranean? more species abundance here by far in almost all cases. 

            Examples: Sixty or so species of hard corals in the entire tropical West Atlantic. Six hundred plus can be found in Northern Sulawesi. Two Damselfish species occur off of California, seventeen in Hawaii, one hundred thirty eight in Indonesia. Suffice it to say there is more types of life as one nears Wallace?s Line, less as you move away.

            ?We?ve traveled halfway around the planet to dive in mud? No way! Yes way. A good deal of the fantastic diving here occurs in sandy, silty settings. Yes, there are areas of intact, beautiful stony and soft corals, walls of rock with nary a bit of muck in sight that plunge below where divers fear to fin? but the muck, ahhh. The life there, within, above? is spectacular in its number, diversity, oddness?

For close-ups, I use 60, 105 and telemacro 70-200 mm lens, with a removable diopter (magnifier) port cover that enlarges all about 80%... Fuji's Velvia (ISO 50) slide film... two Ikelite 100 strobes...