Snorkelling or diving at Bali’s Pemuteran Bio-rock reef project

snorkelling and diving bali

The regenerated reef is now home to many fish types

Snorkelling or diving at Bali’s Pemuteran Bio-rock reef project

There are some great eco projects in Bali initiated by expats who want to give back. Snorkelling or diving at Bali’s Pemuteran Bio-rock reef project is a great way to get a feel for the passion of such people for nature and their environment.

Several times since I have lived in Bali I have visited a friend up in Pemuturan, on the north western corner, about half a day’s drive from my home in Kerobokan.

An old friend of mine, Rani, has been involved in a reef regeneration project there for twelve years or so, and the project is about regenerating the coral reef destroyed by a combination of rising temperatures and cyanide fishing.

Over these years Rani and her crew, along with support from many others, built many steel lattice structures and submerged them around where the previous reef was. Rani then sourced, from all over Indonesia, some hundreds of species of coral and attached them to these structures.

They connected the steel frames to power and ran a low electrical current through the steel, thus creating a perfect environment for coral to grow. The reefs are thus electrically charged to grow.

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Laying out the steel frames to attach the baby coral to

The theory is that the low voltage direct current promotes the growth of the coral, and as my snorkelling experiences there over time have showed me, it works. Now they have a small wind turbine to generate the power, as well as some solar panels.

The project covers approximately a hectare of seabed, and it is amazing to see so much healthy coral and the brightly coloured fish that it attracts.

Rani feels that with global warming there will be increasing bleaching and subsequent death of coral and is creating what she refers to as a Noah’s Ark of coral.

What I experience each time I returned was a radical change in the size and density of the coral.

I also noticed that there were a lot more varieties of fish, which made me wonder, ‘How did the fish learn about it?

How did the fish know that the type of coral that they like (and certain coral attracts certain fish; for example blue fish like blue coral cause they can hide easily.) was there? How did they learn that from where they had been before? mmmm

The reef project is just in front of the Taman Sari Resort and Spa which is one of those old time idyllic Balinese resorts that exude charm, peacefulness, beauty and comfort without what has become the standard 5 star price tag.

At around $100/night for a bungalow it is a wonderful place for that romantic weekend or to just chill out, a long way from the hussle and bussle of the southern tourist strip. Be warned, there is nothing to do at night, so come prepared!!

The reef project, called The Pemuteran Karang Lestari Coral Conservation Project, is in the February 2004 issue of Scuba Diver MagazineClick here to download this article.

Like most worthwhile projects it is privately sponsored and needs support. You can give your support by making a donation to buy coral or constructing some more steel scaffolds to act as a lattice.

Rani has plans to submerge volcanic rock sculptures to make it even more a Bali underwater fantasy land.

So for a holiday with a difference, with some easy and great snorkelling with the added bonus of getting involved in a really good reef regen project with ramifications, visit Pemuturan, and enjoy!

By Mark O’Brien, 2013

Rani E. Morrow-Wuigk April 13, 2014 at 10:05 am

There are a few factual errors in this article which are not true and I'd like to address. 1. The reason for the destruction of the reef, was due to cyanide fishing, bombing and worldwide coral bleaching due to high temperature. Only a small percentage was and is due to mud slides in the rainy season. 2. I never installed underwater lights, nor is there any plan of that. We may in the future and when we get funding for it install a underwater Webcam, which only will show on the net during daylight hours. 3. I would never install a concrete statue, since it emits poisonous leeks into the ocean, not benefiting the corals. Instead we now have 2 statues made out of volcanic rock, which the corals like to attach themselves to. 4. If you would like to understand a little more about our project, look at the video I made last year: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rx8TV9Kd0ns

admin April 13, 2014 at 1:31 pm

Have amended the copy, thanks for that.

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