Let me first preface this by saying that the information below is based solely on my somewhat inaccurate memory of conversations I’ve had over the last several months, so if I get part of the story wrong, forgive me. The accurate information was garnered from websites, including Diving4Images.com, panagadivers.com and mcss.com.
About a year ago, some environmentally-minded folks got together with the help of local marine biologist Helen Newman and installed nearly 50 moorings and buoys at dive sites around Bali.
As nearly 200 dive operators work in Bali, this effort was aimed at protecting coral reefs from anchor damage by day boats and visiting yachts by installing environmentally friendly Halas and Manta Ray moorings. These moorings were drilled into sand patches or rocks and cause minimal damage to the environment, providing a secure anchorage for many years.
The installations were carried out in two seven day trips by paying volunteers who had seen the project advertised and were prepared to give of their time and energy and by representatives of local diving organizations, mainly local divemasters.
The first two weeks were an outstanding success with some 47 moorings installed in 14 days around 9 dive areas and islands. A total of 15 volunteers participated and some 12 divemasters were trained in installation techniques. Helen has funding for 15 further moorings to be installed by the local divemasters and it is hoped that the dive operations will continue to generate funds for additional installations.
A great success story! Alas, a year has passed and many of the buoys on the moorings have disappeared, perhaps due to frequent collisions with boats and the vagaries of weather, tides and current.
Two problems have arisen. First, many boats are now dropping anchors again, damaging the reefs, and second, the lines from the moorings are still intact and are brushing against the reefs, causing additional damage.
With the moorings still intact, it is only a matter of attaching new buoys to solve these problems.
David Ruland from Waterworx dive center in Padang Bai has teamed up with other dive centers and dive clubs to fix this problem by raising funds to buy materials for new buoys.
Kapal Selam Dive Club supports both the initial efforts made by Helen and her team, and the new efforts being made to right the situation. We have donated one million rupiah to the project.
If anyone wants to donate more money or has other questions or concerns, please contact Kapal Selam Dive Club