Protecting our reefs for generations to come

Trawangan Dive is proud to be hosting part of the 2012 Biorock training workshop. It will bring professional coral restoration experts and lecturers into the classroom to engage participants in all aspects of coral reef restoration using the definitive Biorock method.

Coral reefs are the rainforests of the world’s oceans. Just like their earthly counterparts, they occur in tropical and sub tropical environments and support a huge variety of species. They are also diminishing at an alarming rate.

Decline of the Great Barrier Reef

A study published just a few weeks ago revealed that Australia’s Great Barrier Reef has lost more than half its coral cover in the past 27 years. Researchers analysed data on the condition of 217 individual reefs that make up the World Heritage Site. The results show that coral cover declined from 28.0% to 13.8% between 1985 and 2012. They attribute the decline to storms, a coral-feeding starfish and bleaching linked to climate change.

Asia’s Coral Triangle is also under threat

Another report has warned that more than 85 percent of reefs in Asia’s Coral Triangle are directly threatened by human activities such as coastal development, pollution and overfishing. Launched at the International Coral Reef Symposium in Cairns, it said the threat was substantially more than the global average of 60 percent and urged greater efforts to reduce destructive fishing and run-off from land.

“When these threats are combined with recent coral bleaching, prompted by rising ocean temperatures, the percent of reefs rated as threatened increases to more than 90 percent,” the report said.

The Coral Triangle covers Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, The Solomon Islands, and East Timor and contains nearly 30 percent of the world’s reefs and more than 3,000 species of fish.

Marine biologists are trying reverse the trend

Marine biologists across the world are desperately trying to protect our remaining reefs. Some are building repositories of the known coral species so that future generations can at least get to see them in aquariums. Others are constructing artificial reefs in areas of significant damage.

Biorock method yields quick results

The biorock method was developed by architect and marine scientist Wolf Hilbertz and marine biologist Tom Goreau. They found that by running a small electrical current through a structure in seawater, a hard shell of calcium carbonate would form on the cathode. You could then attach small pieces of natural coral to the structure. The corals seemed to love these substrates, achieving growth rates often five times faster than normal.

Gili Trawangan – a paradise under threat

Gili Trawangan is one of three tiny coral atolls off the coast of Lombok, Indonesia. It is increasingly a compulsory side trip to any Bali holiday, thanks to its white beaches, diving and snorkelling sites and absence of motor vehicles.

The Gili Islands are dependent on a healthy marine habitat for their fisheries, tourism, shore protection and marine biodiversity. This habitat has been largely damaged by combinations of coral heatstroke, disease, storms, global sea level rise, over-fishing and direct physical damage from destructive fishing practices, boats, anchors and tourists.

Without large-scale restoration of degraded habitats to make them capable of supporting larger fish and shellfish populations, there will be fewer fish in the future.

And without healthy growing corals, there will be fewer beaches or tourism income, affecting all business owners on the island.

Tourist attraction

“Right now we around 60 biorock structures around this island,” says Delphine Robbe. “By the end of this year, we should have one hundred.” Since coming to Gili Trawangan in 2005 with a plan to get her PADI Divemaster certification, this Frenchwoman has become the driving force behind the island’s many eco programmes.

Besides stimulating biodiversity, the Biorock structures also combat beach erosion, which became a serious problem with the destruction of the natural reefs. Increasingly, they are an attraction for tourists too. Divers and snorkelers can now see underwater sculptures of a manta ray, trident, dolphin, turtle, octopus, snake, moon and even a komodo dragon.

2012 Biorock training workshop

Gili Trawangan is proud to be hosting the 2012 Biorock training workshop. It will bring professional coral restoration experts and lecturers into the classroom to engage participants in all aspects of coral reef restoration using the definitive Biorock method.

Workshop sessions will cover all aspects of theory and practice including design, construction, installation, monitoring, maintenance and repair of Biorock sites. Additional lectures will cover the basic principles of coral reef ecology, threats to coral reefs, and environmental restoration.

Over the course of the seven day workshop, participants will have the opportunity to use their knowledge as they plan and invoke all the steps involved in constructing, deploying and populating Biorock structures with coral fragments.

After accomplishing the Biorock workshop, certified PADI instructors can apply to PADI to be able to teach the PADI Distinctive Specialty: Introduction to Biorock process.

If you’d like more information about the Biorock workshop and ways in which you can combine the course with PADI professional courses, please contact us at Trawangan Dive.

This article originally appeared on http://www.idc-gili.com

Gap year diver rocks the world

Trawangan Dive’s BioRock Distinctive Specialty Course attracts divers from around the world who want to work on a long-term project with a beneficial environmental impact. It is also a very popular choice for many gap year students. One of our latest arrivals is Pippa, from the UK. She joined us a few weeks ago and has captivated us all with her stories, her diving skills and her professional attitude.

Tell us about yourself Pippa…

I’m an 18 year old originally from Hampshire, United Kingdom but I now live in Wensleydale, North Yorkshire. Yes, where the cheese comes from! I’m currently on my gap year before starting a BSc in Marine Biology with Oceanography at Newcastle University next year.

What made you come to the Gili islands?

I wanted to do something conservation and science-oriented in preparation for my studies next year. At a gap year event at my school, I met Ben from Gap Year Divers and he gave me some information about the Gili islands, Trawangan Dive and the BioRock specialty course. It all sounded so perfect.

I’ve been a diver since completing my PADI Junior Open Water Diver at the age of 10. Since then, diving has been a big part of my life and I’ve had my sights set on becoming a PADI Divemaster for a long time.

In addition, some friends had been to the islands before and had amazed me with stories about the culture, the diving and the parties!

What are your first impressions of the Gili islands?

I’d never been to this part of the world before – this is by far the furthest east I’ve been. Everything is so different – the culture, language and cuisine – but you get used to it very quickly.

The Gili islands themselves are beautiful. In one word – paradise! They really are paradise islands, with white sand beaches, swaying palm trees and crystal clear seas. It’s great that there is no form of motorized transport allowed – it’s makes for a very peaceful environment.

Everyone is super friendly and I’ve felt very welcomed since day one. The locals are always smiling and greet you whenever you meet them, even if you’re just walking down the road. It feels a very safe place.

How are you finding it at Trawangan Dive?

It’s very much a home from home and I felt part of the team straight away. When we arrived, we were met by Adam, one of the managers, down at the harbour. He greeted us with a smile and a hug and then bundled us into a horse cart.

It only took a few minutes to arrive at Trawangan Dive and I have to admit I was impressed. It sits right on the beach, overlooking the crystal waters with Gili Meno on the other side of the channel. It looks professional, clean and welcoming. Which was a relief because you can never really tell from looking at pictures on the internet!

I’ve got everything I need here. The food at the restaurant is delicious and there’s lots of variety, from English breakfasts to Mexican fajitas and Indonesia rice dishes. The backpacker rooms are simple but clean. I’ve got a bunk bed room to myself so I have some privacy.

The diving side of things is very well organized and everyone works together as a team. There are so many nationalities working here – English, Scottish, Kiwi, Australian, Swiss, German, French, etc.

Tell us about your previous diving experience

My father is a scuba diver and as a family we go to Mauritius every year for our family holiday. I always really enjoyed snorkelling on the reefs and when I was 10 years old my father enrolled me in the PADI Junior Open Water Diver course. I thoroughly enjoyed it and even got to dive with a pod of wild dolphins on my last dive!

I also completed my PADI Junior Advanced Open Water Diver in Mauritius when I was 15 and then my PADI Rescue Diver course back in the United Kingdom. It was certainly a different experience! I did it at Vobster Quay, a quarry in the south of England. The water was cold and murky and there wasn’t an awful lot to see. I had to wear an 11m wetsuit which is neither comfortable nor flattering!

In addition to those places, I’ve also dived in the Red Sea and the British Virgin Islands.

You’re also a PADI Master Scuba Diver! Congratulations!

I’m pretty proud of myself because I worked quite hard for it. I did most of my PADI specialties including Night Diver, Digital Underwater Photography, Research Diver and Underwater Naturalist, at a company called Action Quest in the British Virgin Islands. In addition, I became an Enriched Air Diver.

How is the PADI Divemaster course going?

I love it! It’s really broadening my knowledge and giving me a whole new take on diving. I’m learning to look at dives and divers from a different perspective.

I’ve already been assisting on a variety of courses, from Discover Scuba Diving to Open Water and Advanced Open Water courses. Over the last few days I’ve also been given the opportunity to play the victim on a Rescue course. I’ve been getting a lot of the theory done and have already completed my first theory exam.

I really appreciate the mentor relationship and am learning a lot from Instructor Jo, but I also like that I get to work with all of the instructors. It’s interesting seeing how each instructor has a different style.

What about some of the cool things you’ve seen underwater here?

I saw my first ever shark at Shark Point the other day! We saw a total of three white tip reef sharks swimming in hundreds of circling jack fish and it was so cool.

There are loads of turtles on the dive sites which is brilliant because they are my favourite marine animal. You can’t go on a dive without seeing at least a couple of them.

I’ve also got to see lots of nudibranch that I’ve never seen before and I spent a good 10 minutes watching a cuttlefish lay some eggs the other day. Amazing!

Your BioRock specialty course is starting soon! Are you looking forward to it?

Absolutely. It’s a new concept that I’d never heard of before. Like most people, I’d heard about the decline of coral reefs around the world, and about coral bleaching and the warming of the ocean. I’d even witnessed this decline first hand having dived in Mauritius for so many years. So I became quite excited when I realized I could work on a project that is designed to combat these problems and help the reefs regrow. I can’t wait until we start building our own structure and then get to sink it and attach the coral. So exciting!

It goes without saying that the course will also massively benefit my university course and give me a lot of material and experience to share with others.

Where else are you going on your gap year?

I’m planning on heading back to Mauritius and I’m going to do my PADI Instructor Development Course with the dive centre where I learnt to dive. It’s like going full circle!

Once that’s completed and I’ve got some teaching experience, I’m going to go back to the British Virgin Islands as I’ve been offered a position as part of the dive staff at Action Quest.

Where do you see yourself in five years time?

My dream has always been to work with the BBC on a series similar to the Blue Planet. I would love to be a research assistant on a program like that, making brilliant television while getting the chance to see nature’s wonders up close and for real. It would also be quite cool to make David Attenborough a cup of tea…

Best of luck with realizing your dream Pippa!

If you’re interested in improving your diving skills and learning to become a PADI Divemaster or Instructor on a beautiful tropical island, get in touch with us at Trawangan Dive.

This article was originally published on the Trawangan Dive website for PADI professional courses: www.idc-gili.com

Dive against debris

During the month of April, Trawangan Dive campaigned for sharks in order to raise awareness for their plight. Some of the activities we organized were screenings of Shark Water and various other conservations documentaries, a trivia night dedicated to Project Aware and lots of signatures were collected for this worthy cause.

This month, Trawangan Dive hopes to generate a similar level of interest in Project AWARE’s Dive against Debris campaign.

Since the beginnings of Trawangan Dive, we have organized cleanups to protect underwater habitats and marine species around the Gili islands. Historically, these have been a great success and help to address debris issues on a local scale.

But we realize that cleanups alone are not the answer. Now, in cooperation with Project AWARE, we’re introducing Dive Against Debris to our divers, a year-round data and debris collection effort to reduce the devastating impacts of debris each time we dive.

For the month of September, as well as a making a further donation to Project AWARE so that all of our students receive a special Project AWARE version of their certification card, we’ve also organized lots of exciting events:

  • Once again our popular trivia night included an different observation rounds to increase awareness in a fun way
  • We’ve been encouraging all divers to collect a least one piece of rubbish on each dive.
  • Our PADI Course Director Ayala is offering free AWARE Shark Conservation Distinctive Specialty to all interested instructors
  • The debris we collect will be recycled and transformed into a land-based sculpture which will raise awareness of the volume of debris in our local waters.

Of course, at the end of the month, we’re going to use the Dive against Debris data card to submit information about all of the debris we’ve collected.

Join the movement, come down to Trawangan Dive and help stop the ocean’s silent killer.

Originally published on the Trawangan Dive website for PADI professional courses: www.idc-gili.com/dive-against-debris/

AWARE month Trawangan Dive | Project AWARE

 

100% AWARE

AWARE month is now up and running at Trawangan Dive. For every diver we certify we will be donating money to Project AWARE, and each of our divers will recieve a free Project AWARE card! We are also running events through out the month of April making our customers 100% AWARE.
Keep up to date with all the latest right here:

 

James teaching

 

Event Guide for April

 

Events during April

 

 

Supporting the cause

 

Instructor James!

 

Trawangan Dive Team!!