Meanwhile at the Penida Project we welcomed our most number of interns at once! 15 incredible research divers joined us in December/January and our family grew. We are also happy to welcome Romy as program coordinator. Romy completed his instructor course in October before joining the team in a part time capacity, we quickly realized our project wouldn’t be the same without him and invited him to join us in a full time capacity.
In our first year of operation we ran a liveaboard expedition in Komodo. Before the pandemic we were in the process of developing some exciting trips that ultimately had to be paused. Now feels like the perfect time to launch this exciting new dynamic of Indo Ocean Project. Taking our research projects on the road to contribute to baseline data collection in remote regions of Indonesia.
During our manta workshop we continue to show all of our interns the How To Swim With Manta Rays video from the Manta Trust as we are an official Responsible Operator, we are of course delighted to continue to spread the word for responsible manta tourism with all of our interns and their future customers.
The ocean is still been relatively quiet, allowing for some awesome dives. However we did experience a flash flood on Nusa Penida on the evening of the 15th December, 2021, thankfully the dive shop and interns were not effected but the rains caused damage mainly in the PED and Karangsari areas, and caused a lot of debris to flood into Crystal Bay. The Indo Ocean Project Intern Team mobilised to help out recovery efforts both on the surface and underwater, which Michaela will go into in more detail. We will not stop with our dive against debris dives until our beloved Crystal Bay is clear and beautiful once again. Thank you to all interns, staff and other dive shops around Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida that have donated time, tanks and boat space to help with this massive community effort.
We continue to upload data to the following citizen science databases regularly; Manta Trust, Marine Megafauna, Elasmosbranch Project Indonesia, Thresher Shark Indonesia, CoralWatch, Project AWARE Dive Against Debris, Internet of Turtles, eOceans and Match My Mola! With our interns in the ocean around Penida on most days this is our opportunity to collect valuable data for ourselves, but also for other organsiations doing great work to study and protect our oceans. A special thanks to intern Eliane Weber who has tirelessly entered our Dive Against Debris and CoralWatch data during her stay.
Our first mangrove planting on Nusa Penida in Semaya was such a success, but Michaela will tell you more – we now have the nurseries restocked and cannot wait to get back over there once they are big enough to continue restoring around “Genesis” – a 100 year old mangrove that is beautifully established already.
Our Bira Staff members Marco Bastaroli (Bira Project Manager) and Jeffri Hoeng (Bira Program Co-ordinator) were here with us in Penida for a few short weeks, preparing for the relaunch of our sister Bira Project on the 10th February, 2022. We cannot wait to be able to start comparing the data and receiving news from both projects in months to come.
We proudly managed to grow our data for a full year since Indo Ocean Project reopened on February 2021. In 2021 we have recorded sightings of sharks, rays, turtles, cetaceans and bumphead mola total 1911 sightings, conducted 119 roving surveys, 39 BRUV deployments and 37 water quality tests around Nusa Penida and 16 CoralWatch surveys in Crystal Bay.
December 2021 was a challenging time for Nusa Penida community as the flash flood hit parts of the islands northern coast and Crystal Bay, leaving damage to housings, infrastructures and key coral reef habitats of coral reef ecosystems. As a part of our commitment to involve in direct conservation to mitigate the damage of our reefs, we have successfully propagated 213 coral nubbins of Acropora sp. in our Crystal Bay nursery. These nubbins will be transferred onto the damaged reef patches to aid in the recovering of the local reef ecosystem. We aim to help the process of the reef recovering period to maintain the availability of food and shelter of many reef fishes which eventually contributing to Mola alexandrini (Bumphead Mola) conservation through its cleaning station services.
We are also monitoring the resilience of remaining Crystal Bay’s reef through CoralWatch. Our observations since January 2022 show that there is no significant difference in reef health score after the flash flood event with average value of 5 (scale is 1 to 6). This result indicates that the Crystal Bay’s reef is capable to cope with the stress from high sediment input. We will continue to monitor this reef to see any recovery and thriving pattern as the water parameters show a positive trend to date.
‘Welcome to Indonesia now you can relax, and we are happy to welcome you very soon into our diving family’.
It’s a massive relief for them to touch down in Indonesia and start the quarantine. Most of them are utilizing their time to catch up on Fish ID test that should be completed before arriving to the program. Good news is that quarantine now has decreased from 5 to 3 days and looking to be cancelled all together for vaccinated travellers.
Violette Edwards from Fance, Eliane Weber and Itay Benyamini from Switzerland, Giulia Pelonzi from Italy, Constantin Groenert and Alexander Groenert from Germany and Nicolas Dubigny from Canada.
Wishing them good luck and happy bubbles!
Our iconic Crystal Bay and famous tourist spot, was also affected by the incident. The flood destroyed 15 local stalls along the beach and washed the debris into Crystal Bay.
Massive clean up efforts were deployed not only on land, but also in the ocean. As a part of a massive community outreach, our team did not hesitate and started gradually removing small and medium size debris from the ocean the day after the flood.
You must be curious what were the most common and weirdest things we found. The strangest debris items of note are; kitchen stove, building material, big cooking pots, wires, box full of snorkelling gear and common items such as; fishing nets, plastic ropes, packaging and clothing.
We are proud to announce that on the 17th of December we have successfully planted 161 mangroves in Semaya beach.
This is a huge success for Indo Ocean Project as it is the start of our green belt restoration program on Nusa Penida.
Our aim is to create a 100-meter-long & 15 meters width green belt in collaboration with the local government in northeast Penida.
Pascal (our marine biologist) with Arya (community coordinator) tried and tested various planting techniques. The tool kit that has proven most effective was a hand drill placed in a wide tube. The ground is hard and rocky, however, the 3 hand drills did the trick.
Big terimakahsih (Thank you!) to 27 participants from Indo Ocean Project, Reeflex divers, Nusa Penida Marine Park Authority, Banjar Semaya and our local community to make this magic to happen.
We have checked on our babies recently. All of them our still there and thriving. Their progress will be closely monitored. Wishing them good luck.