3 days diving, 2 dives a day
Our volunteers pay for their transport to and from Denpasar area, accommodation, three meals a day, coffee, tea, water, wifi, guide services (land and marine) and for divers, two tanks a day with weights, reef rehabilitation and survey materials, and your own Adopt a Coral baby which you plant.
What you pay as a volunteer goes direct to the villagers providing you these services. We pride ourselves on thus being able to empower the villagers to improve their livelihooods through eco-tourism without reliance on handouts.
You will be picked up from your nominated point and arrive at Les Village after a picturesque drive 3 hours north through mountainous Kintamani. On arrival at Les, you will be given a welcome briefing and tour by the village elders, followed by dinner.
AM You will have a classroom session on coral transplantation and the coral growth health and monitoring methodology of National University of Singapore’s Tropical Marine Science Institute (NUS-TMSI). We will test you on your knowledge of coral ID so be prepared and revise your training manual beforehand.
In the first dive, you will collect the coral recruits from the underwater coral farm. Back to surface, you will glue the baby coral to a concrete plug. After it sets, you will do a second dive to plant the plug into an underwater coral structure.
PM In your next dive, we will do coral health and growth monitoring data taking for NUS-TMSI. The fishermen will be your mentor buddy. After dives, you will enter data from your survey sheets.
AM You will have a classroom session on to how Les Village’s sustainable netting and self-policing practices work. You will learn about NUS-TMSI’s fish survey methodology, and be tested on the fish species and sizing ID. In your first dive, you will do a fish survey on the underwater Pentagons and Adopt a Coral structures. You will also have an underwater fish ID test.
PM You will do a second fish survey. Alternatively, you can try your hand in helping the fishermen net the ornamental fish, separating fingerlings from catchable sizes. Or you can try this free-diving, as the locals do! After dives, you will enter data from your survey sheets.
AM At your choice, you can have either:
• two dives of coral/fish monitoring; or
• trek to the famous Les waterfall and learn about the village’s traditional Subak irrigation management system.
PM Departure and transfers back to Denpasar.
HOW YOUR VOLUNTEERING HELPS LES
Reef rehabiltation volunteer
First, you will help rebuild a coral reef reduced to rubble by cyanide fishing. You take a bit of coral from an existing coral farm and transplant it to underwater gardens that allow it to grow while being monitored and taken care of by the fishermen. The fishermen also get an enhanced sense of responsibility over coral that they are painstakingly growing from scratch, reinforcing their determination not to allow the present and future generations to destroy the reef again.
Now that the coral reef has started to rejuvenate, fishermen are seeing how slowly fish life takes to regenerate. They now practice self-policing of their fishing catch, making sure they allow baby fingerlings to escape. They regularly monitor fish numbers and size at various fishing sites top avoid overfishing and allow sites to lie fallow for regeneration.
You will help the local fisherman and marine biologist transplant the coral, monitor coral growth rates, be a coral gardener and learn fish surveying to help the fishermen in their self-policing monitoring program.
The Les villagers don’t speak much English. They cannot access better job opportunities in tourism, for which Bali is reknowned, and industries in export and trade. They are practising subsistence farming and fishing because they don’t have better opportunities. Money is scarce because jobs are scarce.
You will teach village children and adults wishing to learn English. For instance, you will teach salt farmers English, so they can better sell their salt to higher end restaurants and spas in Bali. Currently Sea Communities is helping in the marketing but we want to empower the villagers to do this themselves. Our fishermen need English to become dive guides.
By staying and diving at Les Village, you help the villagers undertake dive hospitality and upgrade their livelihoods. US$30 per person goes to Adopt a Coral, which pays for the coral rehabilitation program. US$22 per person goes to upgrading village infrastructure. On top of that, what you paid in the package price goes directly to the local village supplier for diveguiding, porterage, food and lodging. In addition, groups are building playground and other facilities in the village. The success of our volunteer program has actually grown the village physically, through a number of new homestays built by the villagers to acccomodate our volunteers.
Other skills welcome!
Our volunteers have helped Sea Communities grow organically. We always tell our volunteers – whatever skills you have, bring it on! You helped us build underwater maps of our coral sites. You helped us translate manuals. You helped us build a foreign language website. You filmed promo videos and took great pictures for a picture database of our fish and coral. You blogged about us, Facebooked us and uploaded stuff on Youtube. If you can train our villagers in something…hydroponics, massage, anything…bring it on! That is why we want YOU on our Community Buzz section. Join our little community and be a part of our family!
WHAT YOU LEARN AS A VOLUNTEER
Reef rehabilitation volunteers
You will learn coral planting and growing. You will what causes corals to thrive and die. You will learn fish monitoring protocols. You will learn about the worldwide aquarium trade, how much the fisherfolk earn contrasted with how middlemen earn, and debate whether you should victimise the fishermen, if you can stop the trade or how best to regulate it. You will learn about what sustainability REALLY means in a holistic chain, it is not about stopping local communities from making a living, but how to do it in a sustainable way. More on this in the section of our science: Our Living Laboratory.
You will learn a lot of Bahasa Indonesia in the process. People management skills will also develop as you deal with students from school age through to adults.
Do the volunteers need to do preparatory study?
The reef rehabilitation volunteers will receive a coral and fish identification manual which will give more information on the fish monitoring in which they are participating. In addition, the volunteers will get classroom lessons on coral planting, fish survey, and practice runs in surveys where they are buddied by experienced fishermen “mentors”.
Most rewardingly, you will learn what living in a village in Indonesia is like. You will eat, sleep, work and play amongst a village of fisherfolk and farmers. You will share a communal area with the villagers during leisure hours, and our volunteers usually pick up simple Bahasa Indonesia while conversing with the villagers, who in turn pick up some English. You can learn salt making from the sea, Balinese cooking, weaving and dancing. You can learn to freedive with the village boys while they fish for their dinner. You will cultivate friendships and memories that will remain with you for life.