Our main site is located about 15 nautical miles off the southeast coast of the main island of Bali, Nusa Penida District, which composes of three islands: Nusa Penida (the big Penida), Nusa Lembongan, and Nusa Ceningan.
What makes this place ideal to conduct environmental education?
Nusa Penida is relatively small, but it has sufficient coastal and marine learning resources. The three islands are surrounded by 1400 hectares fringing reefs with 296 coral species. The area has a complete coastal ecosystem: mangrove forest, seagrass bed, and coral reef. The area is also home to several charismatic marine animals, like sunfish, manta rays, turtles, with sharks and dugongs spotted sometimes.
In addition, life of the coastal communities may brings other lessons to learn from. Their main socio-economic activities consist of seaweed farming, fishery, livestock, and marine tourism. Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan are center of seaweed production, the biggest in Bali. Its high marine biodiversity has brought economic benefits and environmental services to people in Nusa Penida and Bali. It is only in Nusa Penida that we can find over 20 dive spots in one place and that.include Manta Point and Sunfish (Mola-mola)’s cleaning station, which the latter cannot be found elsewhere in Bali.
Nusa Penida, especially the big Penida, houses several Hindu's sacred temples. During the big festival, mainland Balinese would come flock to pray to these holy sites. Nusa Penida certainly holds a special place in the hearts of Balinese Hindus. As they make a living from the sea, they practice silent day for the sea (Nyepi Segara) to pay respect to the God of the sea and the ocean, and to give the sea a chance to rest. On this day, people are refrain from conducting any sea-related activities for a day.
To manage the area more effectively to improve fisheries and marine tourism, to safeguard livelihood of the people, the 20,057 hectares of Nusa Penida was declared as a marine protected area (MPA) in 2010. It is also an effort to answer challenges coming from mass tourism and industrialist's tourism development for a "go green" Bali. Nusa Penida MPA is awarded as one of the most efficiently-managed MPAs in Indonesia.
Lastly, Nusa Penida is not far from mainland Bali and going to and fro, it's just a 30 minute-boat ride. An adventure, wouldn’t it be?
The northern part of Nusa Lembongan is fringed by an extensive, approximately 230 hectares mangrove forest with 13 mangrove species, and where no logging is permitted by law. As the result, the local community benefit from its clean air produced, which is soothing for the body and soul, as well as economically, from conducting mangrove ecotourism.
Mangrove forests play a vital role to the community, coastal ecosystems; they protect the coast from erosion and heavy waves. Thus, they support different aspects of life. Learning its species, benefits, values, and take part in replantation will contribute to its sustainability.
Seagrass bed is an ecosystem located between mangroves and coral reefs. You can find seagrass bed on shallow waters with depth between 0 to 5 meters and it is in fact habitat for dugongs (nearly extinct sea mammals). For the fishes it is their place for reproduction, their shelter, and smaller fishes use them as feeding grounds. Seagrass bed traps sediments and limits erosion from waves.
Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan, and Nusa Ceningan waters are decorated by patchworks of seaweed farms. Seaweed farming becomes the main livelihood of the people in these islands. Their seaweeds are exported to the US, Europe, and China for i.e. pharmacy, cosmetics, and food. Seaweed species being cultured in Nusa Penida are Eucheuma Spinosum - a rare species - and Eucheuma Cottonii.
Through our field visit, we will examine closer life of the seaweed farmers and relations between the industry which supports hundreds of households with tourism boom, to see whether seaweed farming in Nusa Penida may sustain in the future.
Coral reefs are like an underwater park filled with colorful reefs and numerous beautiful and unique sea biota. And do you know .... that as Nusa Penida can maintain its coral reefs' condition at its best people from all over the world come to see them? They have become the source of income, from the tourism and fishery, for the community. Physically, coral reefs can break up waves and prevent coastal erosion.
In a safe open water we will snorkel for schools of fish, corals, and other sea biotas. This activity is suitable for all ages, without any skills needed. Well, it's good if you can swim, but if not it's also fine, as long as you are comfortable to be in the water. Small children will be accompanied by their parent(s) and our guide. We will provide you with snorkel equipments as well as life jackets. Don't worry, you are in good hands. It's a good way to begin your underwater adventure and discover beauty of the world under.