Our group just arrived in Ubud, but the past few days in Pemuteran were unforgettable!

Upon arriving in Pemuteran, we met our Nat Geo expert, Tierney Thys!  On our first full day, we went out into the bay to snorkel and dive near BioRock structures that local conservationists have installed to help support new coral growth.  After our excursion we learned how to weld our own BioRock structure and crafted our names out of metal wire to attach onto the structure. That evening we learned about  biological phyla during our first presentation from Tierney. Boy did we learn a lot!

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Photo by trip leader Lisa Hornak.

We spent our second day at Menjangan Island, one of the most biodiverse marine habitats in the world. In between diving and snorkeling we enjoyed jumping off the boat into the clear blue water. As if the day couldn’t improve, we were invited to a Balinese wedding that evening and were able to see traditional Kris dancing.

The next morning we went for a snorkel and dive at Close Encounters where we saw sea turtles swimming in the wild. Fittingly, our next stop was a visit to a turtle hatchery, where we were able to meet and chat with the founder and learn about how he was able to introduce a sustainable program to save the area’s turtles from egg poaching. That afternoon we held a beach clean-up, worked on our On Assignment projects, and learned about the Mola fish, which Tierney has been researching for the past ten years.  The evening capped off a perfect day with a night snorkel where we were able to see bioluminescence and gaze at the stars while floating in the calm ocean.

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Photo by student Jade W.

Our last full day, we began our morning by releasing one of the rescued turtles back into the ocean! We named her Virginia. We then met up with Reef Check, an international organization dedicated to collecting data and monitoring coral reefs worldwide. Sadly we learned that Bali and the world’s other major reef systems are suffering terribly from coral bleaching and human impact.

Photo by trip leader Lisa Hornak.

Photo by trip leader Lisa Hornak.

Our last night in Pemuteran, we experienced the most memorable event: a traditional dance performance and concert put on by local dancers and musicians from the local orphanage!

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Photo by trip leader Lisa Hornak.

By students Ben and Dylan.