I may look confused, but that's only because I was so excited to arrive at the Coral Triangle Center's office in Sanur, Bali. CTC has a team of 12 working to protect the marine and coastal habitats of the coral triangle region, which stretches across six countries: Malaysia, Indonesia, Timor Leste, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and the Philippines.
CTC works with the local community here on Nusa Lembongan to sustain marine biodiversity, fisheries, tourism and the welfare of the local communities. Here, a local captain of a boat who took me to a fantastic snorkeling site.
Snorkel time! The coral triangle is home to 76% of all known coral species and over half the world’s coral reefs. It also boasts the greatest extent of mangrove forests in the world, and spawning and juvenile growth areas for the world’s largest tuna fishery. Let's just say it was pretty good snorkeling.
The motorbike is the main mode of transport in Bali, especially on beautiful Nusa Penida island, the site of CTC's Marine Protected Area (MPA) learning site. I will admit I was not the most coordinated or brave of passengers.
On the island of Nusa Lemgonan, tourists can visit the local community to see the 13 species of mangroves this community works to protect. Here are my CTC colleagues Lydia Madhi and Wira Sanjaya, who took me on a tranquil boat ride, coasting through narrow mangrove paths in still, clear waters.
Tourists, and cool people like me, can pay a small fee to plant a mangrove seed, creating a new generation of strong mangrove trees. This is what a mangrove seed looks like! I had no idea they looked like a green bean. I wanted to eat it.
Here I am planting my mangrove seed! You can write your name on a tag to show just how cool you are. CTC will soon be offering a membership program for those interested in supporting corals, mangroves and spectacular creatures like the gigantic sunfish, manta rays and sea turtles.
The local community at Nusa Lembongan traditionally relies on the sale of seaweed. Here community members are drying seaweed and attaching new pieces to string, which is placed in shallow coastal waters to grow. This is seaweed farming at work.
Here is beautiful seaweed drying on Nusa Lembongan. You might think it would smell like funky seaweed but no! It smells good. Seaweed is used in food, medicines and even cosmetics! Do you enjoy your silky hair and smooth skin? Perhaps you have this seaweed to thank.
This is a fabulous community center started by TNC and carried on now by CTC. It is a place for locals to learn about Marine Protected Areas and receive training. Covering the walls are paintings by seriously talented school children who have depicted healthy versus sick coral reefs. I believe their paintings should be hung in the Guggenheim.
The Coral Triangle Center monitors reef health in 12 locations around the MPA Nusa Penida island each year to count fish species and numbers, coral species and changes over time. Here is some underwater research in action!
Science is a big part of the success of CTC. Community members and marine professionals gather for an MPA Design Training in Savu Sea National Marine Park.
The Nature Conservancy in Washington
Exploring coral reef conservation in Bali with the Coral Triangle Center