CROSSING THE WALLACE’S LINE: FROM BALI TO LOMBOK, BETWEEN ASIA AND AUSTRALIA.

After few days in Ubud, even though i had the chance to play few gigs in south Bali, the call of the little island of Gili Meno was too strong to be ignored.
So i jumped on a ferry again, this time bound to the island of Lombok, just few kilometres away from Bali: only 25 minutes on a plane, but the 4 hours ferry journey were way more interesting to me, especially because this is a special area to be crossed.
IMG_6855I was lucky enough to get a big bench all for myself, just in front of the little stall serving hot drinks, and i enjoyed few cups of Lombok coffee.

IMG_6856While waiting for the ferry to leave, i could notice how clean the water was, even though we were in one of the main harbours of the island.

IMG_6857It helps to have a grandfather who was a sailor: chatting with a local about the sea, i found out he was the chief engineer of the ferry and he invited me to meet the crew, so i could take few shots from the cabin.

IMG_6864I love all these old school devices: a big ferry is such a vintage way to travel, and a lot of the commands still completely analog!

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IMG_6867The crew was very relaxed: they spend the 4 hours journey chatting, laughing and smoking lots of cigarettes !

IMG_6872Many passengers love to sit on the back of the boat to enjoy the trail left on the blue sea and the gentle breeze of the ocean. I could’nt help thinking of how many of these beautiful sights my grandfather would enjoyed in his years of service for the Lloyd naval company.

IMG_6883A trip long enough to consider the idea of taking a nap: i found a nice spot away from the crowds, in a nice breezy corner. While falling asleep, i could meditate on the fact that we were crossing the Wallace’s line, a faunal boundary line drawn in 1859 by the British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace that separates the ecozones of Asia and Wallacea, a transitional zone between Asia and Australia.

IMG_6889West of the line are found organisms related to Asiatic species; to the east, a mixture of species of Asian and Australian origin is present. The line is named after Alfred Russel Wallace, who noticed this clear division during his travels through the East Indies in the 19th century.

IMG_6911The line runs through Indonesia, between Borneo and Sulawesi (Celebes), and through the Lombok Strait between Bali and LombokAntonio Pigafetta had also recorded the biological contrasts between the Philippines and the Maluku Islands (Spice Islands) (on opposite sides of the line) in 1521 during the continuation of the voyage of Ferdinand Magellan, after Magellan had been killed on Mactan.

IMG_6915The distance between Bali and Lombok is small, about 35 kilometres (22 mi). The distributions of many bird species observe the line, since many birds do not cross even the smallest stretches of open ocean water. Some bats have distributions that cross the line, but other mammals are generally limited to one side or the other; an exception is theCrab-eating Macaque. Other groups of plants and animals show differing patterns, but the overall pattern is striking and reasonably consistent. (from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wallace_Line)

IMG_6919Understanding of the biogeography of the region centers on the relationship of ancient sea levels to the continental shelves. Wallace’s Line is visible geographically when the continental shelf contours are examined; it can be seen as a deep-water channel that marks the southeastern edge of the Sunda Shelf linking Borneo, Bali, Java, and Sumatra underwater to the mainland of southeastern Asia. Australia is likewise connected via the shallow ocean over the Sahul Shelf to New Guinea; and the related biogeographic boundary known as Lydekker’s Line, which separates the eastern edge of Wallacea and the Australian region, has a similar origin.

IMG_6920During ice age glacial advances, when the ocean levels were up to 120 metres (390 ft) lower, both Asia and Australia were united with what are now islands on their respective continental shelves as continuous land masses, but the deep water between those two large continental shelf areas was, for over 50 million years, a barrier that kept the flora and fauna of Australia separated from those of Asia. Wallacea consists of islands that were never recently connected by dry land to either of the continental land masses, and thus were populated by organisms capable of crossing the straits between islands. “Weber’s Line” runs through this transitional area (to the east of centre), at the tipping point between dominance by species of Asian against those of Australian origin. (from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wallace_Line)

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