Bira

Project

Divemaster & Research Diver Internships

About the Bira Project

Join the Bira Project for your divemaster and research diver training program and explore the beautiful and remote South Sulawesi.

Bira is quickly gaining notoriety as one of Indonesia’s ‘sharkiest’ destinations, and our data can back that up. With regular sightings of reef sharks like grey, whitetip and blacktips and occasional sightings of bigger pelagics like tiger, hammerhead and whale sharks it is the site for a potential marine park and shark sanctuary. On top of our regular ecological monitoring and direct conservation projects, interns at the Bira Project take part in our weekly education program at the local elementary school and our shark identification project to help track our resident reef shark population.

Bira is an exciting place to be apart of marine park development and get off the beaten track. It may be a trek to get there but once you arrive in paradise it quickly becomes a second home. With local development in the area continuing there are lots of exciting places to explore it is our most economical project to take part in. 

Bira offers a wide scope for diver development opportunities with an incredible house reef on your doorstep and challenging but rewarding conditions around Kambing island. 

Mission & Goals

  • To establish a data-driven marine protected area and shark sanctuary to develop a sustainable shark dive tourism hub in Indonesia.
  • Monitor and evaluate coral reef and mangrove forest health. Implement restoration where necessary to support local marine ecosystems.
  • Educate the local community and inspire motivation for marine conservation.

HIGHLIGHTS

√ Dive with reef sharks in South Sulawesi’s unotouched reefs

√ Contribute to the establishment of a new marine protected area

√ Join the eduction program at the local elementary school

√ Continue to expand the coral restoration project

√ Get dirty in the local mangrove forrest with our mangrove restoration project

Divemaster & Research Diver Training Program

Our award winning curriculum is run across all projects, but lifestyle at each locations can be very different. First step is to familiarize yourself with our training program to make sure we are a good fit. After that you can decide which project location is best for you.

Click the link below to learn all about our internship program.

Program Fees & Packages

Projects like ours rely on the generosity of our partners and volunteers to develop and grow. In order for us to create an awesome adventure for you we do require a tuition to cover your expenses while on program. We have various packages depending on your current diving experience.

Below you will see the package options available. All prices are in Indonesian Rupiah (IDR).

ALL CONSERVATION DIVEMASTER AND RESEARCH INTERNSHIP PACKAGES INCLUDE: SHARED ACCOMMODATION, ONE-WAY AIRPORT PICK UP AND TRANSFER, TWO PROGRAM SHIRTS, VISA ASSISTANCE, PRE-ARRIVAL TRAINING MATERIALS, PRE-ARRIVAL SUPPORT, AND EIGHT CONSERVATION AND RESEARCH SPECIALTY COURSES

*Minimum age requirement for all programs is 20 years old*

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Diving activities

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Courses

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Room & board

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Staff wages

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Training materials

01

DIVEMASTER

Description: For experienced divers who have completed all  of their recreational diver courses before the program start date.

Minimum Time Commitment: 8 weeks

PREREQUISITES

For candidates who have completed their Open Water Diver, Advanced Open Water Diver, Rescue Diver, CPR/First Air & O2 Provider courses prior to their program start date. Have a minimum of 40 logged dives and have been cleared for diving by a doctor.

COURSES INCLUDED
  • PADI/SSI Divemaster
  • Species Identification Specialty
  • Shark Conservation Specialty
  • Manta Conservation Specialty
  • Turtle Conservation Specialty
  • Mola Conservation Specialty
  • Nudibranch & Macro Specialty
  • Ocean Gardener Coral Diver Specialty

PROGRAM FEES: 46,000,000 IDR

02

RESCUER

Description: For advanced divers who need to complete their rescue skills during their program.

Minimum Time Commitment: 10 weeks

PREREQUISITES

For candidates who have completed their Open Water Diver and Advanced Open Water Diver courses prior to their program start date. You are confident underwater and have been cleared for diving by a doctor.

COURSES INCLUDED
  • Rescue Diver
  • EFR CPR/First Air & Oxygen Provider
  • PADI/SSI Divemaster
  • Species Identification Specialty
  • Shark Conservation Specialty
  • Manta Conservation Specialty
  • Turtle Conservation Specialty
  • Mola Conservation Specialty
  • Nudibranch & Macro Specialty
  • Ocean Gardener Coral Diver Specialty

PROGRAM FEES: 54,750,000 IDR

03

ADVANCED

Description: For divers with beginner knowledge and experience who have completed their first diving course with a few extra dives.

Minimum Time Commitment: 12 weeks

PREREQUISITES

For candidates who have completed their Open Water Diver training prior to their program start date and have been cleared for diving by a doctor.

COURSES INCLUDED
  • Advanced Open Water Diver
  • Rescue Diver
  • EFR CPR/First Air & Oxygen Provider
  • PADI/SSI Divemaster
  • Species Identification Specialty
  • Shark Conservation Specialty
  • Manta Conservation Specialty
  • Turtle Conservation Specialty
  • Mola Conservation Specialty
  • Nudibranch & Macro Specialty
  • Ocean Gardener Coral Diver Specialty

PROGRAM FEES: 63,750,000 IDR

04

BEGINNER (ZERO TO HERO)

Description: For applicants who have no previous diving experience and need to complete all the required prerequisites to complete your Dive Master certification.

Minimum Time Commitment: 14 weeks

PREREQUISITES

Comfortable in open water, can complete a timed 400m free swim and tread water for 15 minutes, have been cleared for diving by a doctor.

COURSES INCLUDED
  • Open Water Diver
  • Advanced Open Water Diver
  • Rescue Diver
  • EFR CPR/First Air & Oxygen Provider
  • PADI/SSI Divemaster
  • Species Identification Specialty
  • Shark Conservation Specialty
  • Manta Conservation Specialty
  • Turtle Conservation Specialty
  • Mola Conservation Specialty
  • Nudibranch & Macro Specialty
  • Ocean Gardener Coral Diver Specialty

PROGRAM FEES: 74,500,000 IDR

05

RESEARCH DIVER

Description: For divers who do not want to complete the divemaster course and just focus on conservation and research activities and courses.

Minimum Time Commitment: 6 weeks

PREREQUISITES

Candidates must be minimum Rescue diver with 100+ dives or dive profesional rating.

Have been cleared for diving by a doctor.

You must be a competent diver before entering this program.

COURSES INCLUDED
  • Species Identification Specialty
  • Shark Conservation Specialty
  • Manta Conservation Specialty
  • Turtle Conservation Specialty
  • Mola Conservation Specialty
  • Nudibranch & Macro Specialty
  • Ocean Gardener Coral Diver Specialty

PROGRAM FEES: 32,150,000 IDR

Additional weeks: 4,450,000 IDR/week

 

NOT INCLUDED IN PROGRAM FEES

  • Flights, Travel & Visa Costs 
  • Travel & Dive Insurance
  • In Country Spending Money
  • Meals (can eat for 20,000 IDR+ per meal)
  • Divemaster Crewpack, Training Manuals & Processing (3,950,000 SSI / approx. 7,350,000 IDR PADI**)
  • Equipment Rental (1,500,000 IDR / 4 weeks**)

**Prices are subject to change depending on project changes and requirements**

Diving in Bira

 Part of the diving area is in the spillover zone of the Taka Bonerate marine park surrounding the outlying islands of Selayar to the southeast. The furthest dive site visited is less than 1 hour by boat. Bira is known as being one of Indonesia’s top shark diving destinations with a healthy population of whitetip and blacktip reef sharks spotted on almost every dive. Occasional tiger, hammerhead and whale sharks are spotted along the dramatic walls.

The temperature averages 27 degrees Celsius with a low of 25 and high of 30. Visibility rarely drops below 15m and can be well over 50m. Currents can vary from mild to strong but all dives are drift diving where you jump in where you want, let the current take you, and surface when you’re done with the boat picking you up. Easy and beautiful diving.

What to expect…

It is important for all potential interns to know exactly what you are getting yourself into by joining Indo Ocean Project. Please read the following information carefully to help you compare the different lifestyles at each project to find the right fit for you. 

The Bira Project is our semi-remote destination and ideal for those interested in exploring more of what Indonesia has to offer outside of the Bali crowds, but not quite ready to go full jungle. 

ABOUT BIRA

Bira is located on a peninsula in Southern Sulawesi around 200km away from Makasar. It is one of Indonesia’s most stunning beaches and untouched reefs. Far away from the hustle and bustle of cities, this sleepy ship building village has only just started to attract the travellers eye.

A perfect tropical paradise, this peninsula is only 1km wide and stretches 2 km long with a local population of around 2,000. Like most of Indonesia, there are deep ties to Islamic culture and the predominant religion in the region is Muslim.

Bira is famous among the world’s boat building community as one of the last places that uses a traditional wooden method. As an intern at Bira you will meet a lot of these salty pirates who have come to Bira to learn from master craftsman in the region.

During the week days the area is quiet with little to now tourists, but the weekends attract Indonesian city dwellers from Makasar or Jakarta to enjoy the idyllic beaches and pristine oceans.

 

LIFE AT THE BIRA PROJECT

Bira is and up and coming tourist destination among international divers. In recent years we have seen some development in the area which has brought more tourists. The dive shop at Blue Planet is small but complete, with everything you could need to explore beneath the waves. They come equipped with stand up paddle boards, rock climbing equipment, and a slack line on the beach. Interns at the Bira Project get a chance to fully embrace the beach lifestyle.
Days can begin between 7am – 9am depending on tides and scheduling, unless you need to stop in at the local market which is open every other morning from 6am. Diving, workshops, and land based activities are scheduled on rotations. Friday mornings the team heads to the local elementary school to spend 2 hours with the kindergarten class learning English and making ocean crafts.
The confined training sessions are done at our doorstep on Blue Planet House Reef, along with nights dives, coral restoration, and surveys.
The evenings are spent sitting around the massive table or bringing the paddle boards down for a floating sunset bar. Sunset’s in Bira are some of the best in the world, and we are treated to them daily.
On days off interns explore the surrounding areas with sight-seeing, hikes, cliff jumping, visiting fresh water caves, and the never ending white powder sand beaches.

PROJECT FACILITIES

Everything at the Bira Project is found on site at Blue Planet Dive Resort.

Accommodation

Shared 4-bed mixed bed dorms are included in all program fees. These are located steps away from the head office and classroom with incredible sweeping ocean views. These are fan rooms with detached shared showers and toilets. There is no hot water, but you won’t miss them with the regions hot arid climate.

Private rooms is available starting from around 5,000,000 IDR/month for basic accommodation. But we recommend bunking up with your fellow interns. There are also several resorts in the area that offer nightly rates if you are looking for some privacy.

Blue Planet Dive Resort

Our dive partners at the Bira Project are the team at Blue Planet Dive Resort, an eco-dive school and resort located in the village of Sakti on Nusa Penida. They first started building in 2018 and opened their doors alongside Indo Ocean Project’s Bira Project.

The owners are a French couple who have been living in Indonesia for several years. Their team of dive instructors and guides provide courses and fun dive experiences to tourists. Interns at the Bira Project will assist the Blue Planet dive team in their daily tasks to get a taste of what it takes to work in the industry. The team at BP also live on site and make up a big part of our Bira Project family.

GETTING THERE

Getting to Bira is a bit of rite of passage, in order to enjoy it… you need to face the long journey.

The nearest airport is in the provincial capitol Makasar called Sultan Hasanuddin Airport (UPG). There are occasional international flights from Singapore or Kuala Lumpur but they are expensive and irregular. When travelling to Bira the best option is to book a flight into Jakarta or Bali and book a separate domestic flight to Makasar.
Both Jakarta and Bali are busy international airports with regular flights. They both offer direct flights to Makasar several times per day.

Once you land in Makasar our driver Rahim will greet you in an Indo Ocean Project shirt. You will be taken in a private car (maybe shared with a fellow arriving intern) to the project headquarters 200km away.

Depending on traffic this trip can take 4-6 hours.
Bira is on a peninsula, so no need to take any boats. The driver will bring you directly the project headquarters where one of our staff will be waiting to greet you.

It’s recommended to arrive before 2pm to get to the project before night fall.

What grads are saying…

Even with a background in Biology and Conservation, I have learnt a lot. I started the internship as a rescue diver and quickly realised that there was a lot to learn and practice to become a divemaster!

The instructors made us work hard, and that was awesome. Thanks to them, I jumped straight into a divemaster job with confidence. I am really glad to have learnt from such talented people.

Alice

France, Graduated 2022

As someone who was changing career direction, I had been looking for a way to gain marine conservation experience and was struggling to find something to cover everything I needed. Then I came across Indo Ocean Project. For me it ticked every box I was after conservation wise and all for a very respectable price, plus I got my Divemaster out of it too. I felt that it was the ideal package for someone looking to start up in marine conservation, and I am so glad I was able to spend those 10 weeks with IOP in Bira.

William

United Kingdom, Graduated 2022

I completed my SSI Divemaster in Bira over 3.5 months and it was one of the best decisions I ever made! I hadn’t dived for 2 years, so I was nervous getting back into it but the instructors were so supportive and helpful. The shark diversity is incredible (Tiger shark & Whale shark…. WOOOH!). Great meeting like-minded people who are interested in marine science & sustainability. One of the activities is teaching at a local kindergarten, they’re the sweetest kids ever! Definitely go to Bira!!

Imogen

Guernsey, Graduated 2022

Ready to Apply?

Join the team and applying online today to start your marine research application.

You can apply online or contact us for more information.

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