Check out all the exciting things that have been happening at the Penida Project the last few months!

 Serena Stean – Penida Project Manager/Program Director

Since the last update an additional 6 PADI Divemasters have been certified in Nusa Penida and we are proud to have sent even more amazing professionals into the diving world. So a huge congratulations to; Carolin, Putri, Leander, Petr, Alysha and our zero to hero Richard! That’s a total of 51 Divemasters certified at the Nusa Penida Headquarters and a total of 76 Divemasters certified from Indo Ocean Project.

With warmer waters and the rain starting to fall we are heading in to the official rainy season, thankfully Penida doesn’t get as much rain as many other places in Indonesia and it hasn’t been too bad so far but we do know that the marine debris associated with it will start to appear shortly. With that in mind we are super proud to announce that we are launching our Dive Against Debris dives again for the wet season in both Bira and Penida, coupled with our Trash Hero partnerships we will be tackling the issue of trash in our oceans from both above and below. 

The plus side is our interns are now starting to shed their 5mm wetsuits in favour of 3mm, leggings or rash guards and shorts for the very brave, and our firm favourite Manta Point has now had the green washed out in favour of blue again. Sightings still are out in force on both survey dives and BRUVs with an AMAZING sighting of a Snaggletooth Shark (Hemipristis elongata) at Mangrove dive site and then on a RUV on our very own Dan’s Reef. Not only this but plenty of mantas, marble rays, white tip reef sharks, brown-banded bamboo sharks, tahitian stingrays and the odd whale shark kicking around in Penida waters currently. 

Since the last update 30 environmental specialty courses have been completed in Marine Ecology, Shark Ecology, Manta Ray Conservation, Sea Turtle Ecology and Coral Reef Identification, as well as additional specialties such as the fantastically fun Deep Diving Specialty, completed by many of our graduates. Penida reefs really are one of the best places to explore below 30m. 

The mapping project continues to grow and we are edging ever closer to completion and a book for everyone to enjoy, the latest addition was the full CoralWatch guide which has now established itself as a favourite activity for many of our interns… it’s like an orienteering, Easter egg hunt and conservation all rolled into one and we are loving reporting our results fortnightly to the University of Queensland. With this handy guide and map it will be easier for new arrivals to quickly understand the what and why, as well as the where and how and we are glad to add it to our map. To view the completed guide CLICK HERE.


Nusa Penida Turtles continues to receive great press and support from many of the Penida and Lembongan dive operations and our posters are now spread far and wide in order to promote regular divers getting involved in our monitoring project. We continue to have good numbers of submissions to the database and the new turtles sighted are becoming fewer, meaning we might be getting close to identifying the majority of the resident population, we should know more in the coming months! Become and citizen scientist and submit your photos to our facebook group HERE!


With more mangrove plantings and fortnightly nursery maintenance we now have over 1500 mangrove propagule babies edging closer to be ready for planting, stay tuned for updates on this as in January we hope to get all our of mangrove partners out there and muddy and we know they will all love it! So get those muddy legs ready for treatment Nomads Diving, Ceningan Divers, Scuba Junkie Penida, Freedive Nusa and Reeflex Divers as we are counting on your help!

I finally made it over to the Bira project in December and wow, what a bit of paradise it is, with AMAZING views from the dive shop and some incredible dives with the team I am pleased to say I am headed back there next week to explore it all a bit more for another few weeks… this time armed with my camera and ready to take shots of the ridiculous reefs and baby white tip reef sharks that are seen regularly, I cannot wait!


Pascal Sebastian – Lead Marine Biologist 

The arrival of a new year and here at Indo Ocean Project we successfully recorded the 2019 data of our ongoing projects such as Unite Penida, Roving Survey Dive, BRUV and the Water Quality Survey (thanks to the hard work of our team and the interns). We look forward to analyse the data to investigate the current status of our reef around Nusa Penida. This 2019 data is important as a base of comparison for the next years condition. Statistic analysis will be used to draw the conclusions, so our interns will be busy both underwater and on their computers!

In December 2019, We have a chance to grow our partnership in science with Universitas Dhyana Pura (UNDHIRA) and The Nusa Dua Reef Foundation (NDRF). With Dr. Rahmadi Prasetyo, the Dean of Faculty of Health, Science and Technology, UNDHIRA, we are building our collaboration to achieve one of our goal: to conserve Nusa Penida reef through science. Together we look forward to finishing our scientific publications within 2020.

On the other side of Bali, Pariama Hutasoit of NDRF invited me to look around her “Coral Garden” in Nusa Dua. Pariama has been successful to establish her coral restoration project within this area which is known to face an impactable coastal development pressure. She shared me the knowledge and management that we would like to implement in our Nusa Penida coral nursery. I am so thankful for these opportunities, Indo Ocean Project levels up again!

I would like to acknowledge the tireless work of our former intern and masters student, Greta Santori, who has helped us achieving our recent scientific publication. Greta came back to us in 2019 to work with her thesis project titled “Environmental variables influencing predatory teleosts presence in Nusa Penida Marine Protected Area, Indonesia”. Even though she is 11,653 Km away from us, we appreciate her contribution with her futuristic statistic analysis approach. We are excited to work with Greta and hopefully 2020 will be our time to submit this valuable paper for peer review and publication!

We have produced 72 BRUV to date within Nusa Pendia marine park. Our team has successfully deployed a BRUV in the front of the Bat Cave at Crystal Bay which is rarely accessible due to strong current. The footage gives us an insight of the fish community of the other side of this popular dive site and the Mola Mola cleaning station. For the first time, we have captured a footage with two different species of shark (White Tip Reef and Black Tip Reef) in one time recording in The Mangrove area in northern Nusa Lembongan. This footage affirms that this reef is capable to host various kinds of sharks which is known from the previous footages (Brown Banded Bamboo, Grey Reef, White Tip Reef). Another interesting result from the Blue Corner dive, a Marble Ray enjoying the mackerel bait which happen to be the first time ever to be recorded to our database.

Pascal Sebastian – Lead Marine Biologist 

It’s been a busy few months for me at the IOP Penida branch. The interactive map for interns visiting the island has been made active, giving the interns a new way to plan their time on the island. Its success has led to the creation of a new map for Bali, giving useful places to visit during and before Internships.

Elsewhere we have been doing many things mangrove. Starting with monthly check-ins with the other mangrove nurseries on the island. Currently we have 5 active ones, with the capacity to hold 1500 propagules at any one time. We have been approached by several other dive centres to build nurseries with our next scheduled nursery to be brought to another local school. 

We have also planted over 100 mangroves at our planting site in Nusa Ceningan with our friends Ceningan Dive Resort. Another mangrove planting session is scheduled for January. 

Finally, it was my great pleasure to give a talk about mangroves at Scuba Junkie Penida during their annual Marine Week 2019 alongside a group of researchers prexenting on various subjects. The talk was well received by both travellers and local Penidians. 

It wouldn’t be a Bimonthly report without mentioning our work on Dan’s Reef. During the last two months we’ve had what can only be called a “triggerfish related snafu” on our 15m BRUV post (Fils de Pute lives up to its name). The time that would have been spent on this has instead been spent trying to find new locations to study on the Reef, so we have been dropping RUVs, be it at potential Turtle Cleaning Station, 30m, or even more recently 40m. As always on a Dan’s its always nice to see our resident Red Snapper (Boubule) and resident Blue Yellow Grouper (Vagabond).

Its been a wonderful experience to be able to help this project throughout the last few months, my time in this role has now come to an end and I hope my successor has as much fun as I have had!