It is with great pleasure to post the first bimonthly report in over a year! A challenging year for the world, but one where Indo Ocean Project survived and grew thanks to the dedication of our community near and far. After several attempts of reopening I am humbled by the commitment of our interns waiting patiently for an avenue to join our project and bring Indo Ocean Project back to life.
Together with the “IOP Pioneers” we have successfully relaunched the Penida Project and welcomed 9 interns onto the island and 4 staff back to work. The challenges of reopening this year were staggering, and we got through it together taking it day by day. A lot was learned over 2020 with some great improvements for our interns to enjoy. Our partnership with Reeflex Divers and connecting with stakeholders in the community has allowed us to level up our programme and scientific value of our project.
None of this would have been possible without a massive force, and I will take a moment to mention them here….
Harry and Roman at Reeflex Divers welcomed us with open arms and took on the challenge of hosting our dynamic program in the midst of a pandemic. IOP relies on a strong partnership with the team of the dive centers we work with, their commitment to conservation and love for Nusa Penida has given us the foundation to be part of real change in the future.
Michaela, our program coordinator and one of our FIRST dive master candidates over 3 years ago. Her friendship and fierce loyalty throughout this past year made reopening this project possible. She is the heart and mother of this programme.
Pascal, the brains behind this entire operation. He completely embodies the #cantstopwontstop movement and in the last year has accomplished so much. CorAlliance was a light in a dark time for many people, and our interns are incredibly lucky to be able to learn from him.
Arya, the newest member of our Indo Ocean Project team but a dedicated member of the family for over 2 years. We have watched him grow from bartender to dive guide to marine scientist and has become a critical part of our team in such a short time.
And Serena, without whom none of this would be possible. She keeps all of us in line (staff and interns alike) and has an unparalleled knowledge of the dive industry and a passion for teaching professional divers the likes of which I’ve never seen. There aren’t enough words…
So now…. read on to discover what we have been up to the last 2 months!
It feels like a lifetime since the last update. It’s so good to finally be back, training dive professionals and collecting vital data. After the year’s hiatus and a stint in England under lockdown conditions visiting family, I have twice experienced “new normal” travelling, the additional hurdles required to keep people safe have been completely worth it to make my way back to paradise and my conservation family!
The seemingly endless lockdown time was not wasted. I worked hard developing our Species Identification course for our Survey Dives…. with new manuals, resources and an online testing system we have certainly levelled up our identification skills and are now confident our survey methodology will pass peer review for upcoming papers we hope to publish from our data collection. All new Indo Ocean Project interns gain access to these resources around six weeks prior to arrival so they can “hit the ground running” and quickly join in on all the science. We will be rolling out Level 1 – Shark, Ray and Turtle Identification to all dive shops around the Nusa Islands who would like to collaborate so we can work together to record what is seen for our Unite Penida data… stay tuned for updates on this!
Reeflex Divers Nusa Penida
Our new mangrove nursery is taking shape, we have relaunched Nusa Penida Turtles and our first interns have been enjoying improved workshops, courses and certifications. We are so proud of what we have accomplished during these challenging times, this has been our chance to take Indo Ocean Project to the next level and boy have we done so.
It’s time to get back to work… and we are LOVING IT!
During Covid -19 we were keeping our spirits high and gathering strength to develop the best mangrove action plan. Our dream was to protect the shores of our little paradise in Nusa Penida. We are so excited it is finally happening.
Our lead marine biologist Pascal and community coordinator Arya met with the head of the village and head of the banjar in Suana village. We were encouraged to discover that these important people were very aware of importance of the mangroves and happy to support our project. They have given us permission to plant in a bay where there is one large existing mangrove tree and one small mangrove. Years ago an effort was made by the community to establish a new mangrove area and now our aim is to carry on the work previously completed in an area 500m long and 30m wide to create a brand new mangrove green belt.