Michaela Dudasova

Penida Project Manager

Over in the Penida project interns and staff have wished farewell to the wet season and welcomed the dry sunny days.

In between diving, workshops and sunbathing, 7 interns have graduated from the programme and obtained their divemaster certification so we would like to say congratulations to Dharksheneswary Selvakumaran (Dee), Saoirse Macklin, Hannah Brown, Kelsey Altmayer, Huw Fletcher, Clemence Sayer, Zara Hopkins. A big thank you also to Tim Heusser our research program intern for his incredible contribution to our research here in Penida, busy collecting data on nearly every dive. An additional special congratulations to Clemence Sayer for finally becoming an amazing divemaster after having to take a 3-month break during her internship last year.

If you have been keeping up to date with us on our social media accounts you will see the hard work of our media scholarship winner Dee, who graduated in March but is still completing her internship with us keeping everyone up to date across social media for all of our 3 projects. Here in Penida, you will have seen we have been up to lots of great things.

The dry season has brought us with it cooler waters which is not the greatest news but best part is if you’re on the lookout for big things in the water, now is the season. The interns have seen their first Mola of the year and we are sure there will be plenty more to follow. Unfortunately, during this time we saw some unpredictable conditions in Crystal Bay causing poor visibility and current which ended in several last-minute cancelled dives, but soon enough the conditions returned to normal and the interns were back out with Arya with their heads in the reef searching for macro.

During March we began an incredible collaboration with Nuansa Pulau, a local association of 26 coral lovers. In total, they have planted 30,000 corals on the north of Penida and have warmly welcomed the interns of IOP. This allows the interns to help the local community restore the reef by learning the techniques and applying these skills with the staff out on their coral restoration site. The interns have had a great time getting hands-on experience and come back with big smiles every time.

Over at the dive shop, our project manager Michaela has been busy developing the dry training for our dive masters. Introducing the new and improved ‘Fin Kicks with Michaela’, a fun ab workout which gives the interns the opportunity to get used to the leg movements of fin kicks they may never have used before heading out the crystal bay to put them into practice. They may look silly lying on their stomachs with fins on replicating the video on the TV, but practice makes perfect, right?

The interns have also been busy outside of the Reeflex getting inspiration for their future. A big Thankyou to Purple dive Penida and Blue Corner Dive who have hosted our IDC workshops and GoFreediving Nusa Penida for allowing the interns to experience freediving. These guys are doing something right as 2 previous interns from Penida celebrated completing their IDC and becoming instructors, well done to Ed Northeast and Melissa Hadley on your incredible achievement. Staff and interns also enjoyed 2 days off during Nyepi, a day of silence for Bali and the surrounding islands so staff and interns left Penida to celebrate the holiday and see the Parades.

Throughout the month of March, the interns and staff were busy preparing for our mangrove planting day. Interns tended to the mangrove nursery every day to make sure the mangrove babies were big and strong and ready to plant on the 31st of March. A team of 16 made an incredible effort and planted 110 mangroves at our restoration site and maintained the current mangroves, it was great to see the success of our previous planting continue with 74 babies still alive and growing. As usual, the interns are working hard collecting data on all of our surveys and busy taking photos to upload to online databases so a big Thank you to the whole team for your efforts.

Rinaldi Gotama

Data Analyst and Marine Biologist

Data and Science

This quarter was filled with very interesting sightings from Nusa Penida. These included the elusive bumphead mola (Mola alexandrini), whitetip reef shark (Triaenodon obesus), brownbanded bamboo shark (Chiloscyllium punctatum), hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), green turtle (Chelonia mydas), reef manta rays (Mobula alfredi), Tahitian stingray (Pateobatis fai), cowtail stingray (Pastinachus sephen), as well as the bottlenose dolphins (Tursops truncatus). These fascinating creatures were found during our science and conservation dives. These activities included 39 roving fish surveys, 12 BRUV deployments and water quality checks, 34 citizen science dives, 15 benthic survey dives, 5 dives against debris, 5 CoralWatch dives, and 3 coral restoration dives. From our dive against debris dives we collected 35 kg worth of trash from Crystal Bay. 

With all the sightings that occurred, we were of course busy with our citizen science efforts. We took pictures of 52 turtle cheeks this quarter and uploaded them to the Internet of Turtles. From these pictures, 20 of them are newly discovered to science. We have also uploaded 9 pictures of manta belly patterns to MantaMatcher and IDTheManta, as well as 5 elasmobranch pictures to Elasmobranch Project Indonesia. Our effort in documenting these megafauna in Penida is progressing very well, and I’m excited with what we could find next!

Aside from citizen science photographs, our trifecta of scientific dive techniques are also running smoothly! These include the  BRUV, roving fish survey, and roving benthic survey. We conduct these techniques in conjunction with one another not only to survey what lives in Penida — but also to understand the bigger picture of why they’re there (why some creatures aren’t there). With long term monitoring in place, we are hoping that we could also predict what’s coming in this ever changing marine ecosystem. 

Last but not least, I am still teaching workshops to interns. Teaching workshops was one of the biggest steps out of my comfort zone, but I have grown to really enjoy it! If you ask me last year, I would not have guessed that teaching (or public speaking) would bring me so much joy and excitement, so I have the interns to thank for that! 

All in all, I think that we are progressing very well in Penida, and I am very excited to continue discovering new things and making positive changes in our beloved community and marine ecosystem. 

Caitlin Orzel

Program Coordinator and Dive Instructor

This is the first quarterly report I am writing as the program coordinator in the Penida Project. I have been lucky enough to spend the previous 3 months here training for my position in the Raja Ampat project and have had the pleasure of meeting all the new interns whilst they grow into amazing divemasters. Since we last updated you we have welcomed a bunch of new interns all ready to call Penida home for the next few months. A big warm welcome to Hannah Brown, Clemence Sayer, Zara Hopkins, Anthony Wilkinson, Emma Wilkinson, Eddie Loy, Samantha Armstrong, Klara Disbo, Poppy Macdonald, Anthony Foti, Manuela Poretti, Saskia Bursova, Prajit Timbadia and Rachel Lester.

Making the first steps to becoming a divemaster can be overwhelming for everyone and our interns they are braving it in a new country. From day one we welcome them with open arms and they have an incredible support system of senior interns ready to help them at every turn. It has been a wonderful experience for me to see the interns grow in confidence alongside their ability as divemasters and every morning their cheerful greetings are heard all over the dive shop. Our interns bring their own personalities and stories to the group and it’s great to see them mingle and support each other during their time with us.

Want to join the team?

We are always seeking enthusiastic ocean warriors interested in our dive master and research diver internship in Indonesia. Apply online today!

The last few months have been full of science, fun and diving and plenty of training courses for our interns to get ready to begin their divemaster training. Our current group of interns have taken a love to macro diving, obviously with Arya (our macro hunting god) and can’t wait to see their name on the schedule next to the macro dive at crystal bay with their cameras at the ready. Some challenging conditions on our house reef put a stop to some of our training dives but there were plenty of other things to be getting on with. The interns put in some incredible work preparing the mangroves for our planting day and we even saw them giving the mangrove babies some words of affirmation before planting. Reports of the success of this planting will follow in the coming months. Meanwhile, back at the dive shop our mangrove nursery needed to be restocked, 110 propagules were collected and the interns got straight to work planting them into their new home.

Dive Against Debris

‘I need the sea because it teaches me’ Pablo Neruda

The interns have been soaking up the sun with the passing of the rainy season, however, the heat can make for some sweaty work here in Penida, of course, that didn’t stop the interns from collecting 22kg of trash on our community clean up or organising their own beach clean in their spare time, they really are true advocates for the ocean. Since the last update, we have done 5 dives against debris totalling 91kg of trash removed from Crystal Bay, a great effort from all the team involved. 

In the coming months I am looking forward to seeing the senior divemasters graduate and the new interns develop the skills to be in the incredible divers I know they are. I wish them all the best of luck as I leave them in the safe hand of our returning coordinator Sigrid.

Image Gallery 

Want to join the team?

We are always seeking enthusiastic ocean warriors interested in our dive master and research diver internship in Indonesia. Apply online today!