Conservation through research and education

Indo Ocean Project

Why choose Indo Ocean Project?

Dive Master and Research Diver internship with multiple locations in Indonesia, the heart of the coral triangle. Complete your PADI dive master course along with 5 ecology specialties written and designed by our team of marine biologists and dive professionals and approved by PADI and SSI. Marine megafauna, coral and mangrove restoration, marine park management and much more. You don't need to be a scientist to get involved!


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Yes, I recommend this program

Divemaster and Research diver internship in Nusa Penida.🦖

Growing up in Philippines, I would say I’m lucky to be surrounded by nature and different bodies of water. I have witnessed how our seas flourished and how it eventually declined. Given the situation, I know there are a lot of factors that play behind all this things that contributes to this sad changes. So when I started diving, I made it sure that I also dive for a purpose.

Just like Philippines, Indonesia is part of the coral triangle. Going to Nusa Penida feels like going home as well but in a different pair of eyes and choosing Indo Ocean Project to do my DMT is a no brainer because along with the rigid yet fun DM training, you’ll also be equipped with enough knowledge to help them conduct their marine conservation programs. I was a rescue diver when I started so it took me 8 weeks to finish the whole program and I can say that every single day is packed with activities that fuels the fire of my own motivation for conservation. Although it can be physically tiring at times but I never felt overwhelmed at all.

I have met great instructors such as Mette and Anne that are well knowledgeable with their passion to marine conservation and Science of diving. There is also Rinaldi, the “science guy”, a marine biologist and a nerd that I look up to! He’s not only book smart but he is also witty and fun. He will never turn you away if you have questions about species and random things you find underwater! I also love our dear Arya whose sweetness and kindness goes a long way! He’s also a very good mentor, he will explain things for you and will motivate you to become a better diver. I’m also honoured to have met Michaela and Lauren along the way. The reeflex dive shop staffs are also helpful and accommodating!

Personally, I felt like I finished the program with just a blink of an eye. Time flew so quick and it felt like I’ve woken up from a very nice dream. I always find myself mentally travelling back to those memories even if I’m back here in the UK.That’s how great this internship is! I’m proud to have been part of this team. These memories and training will be a huge factor to help me apply the skills when I come back to Philippines. Thank you for the opportunity. Sampai jumpa lagi!

What was your funniest moment?
Funniest moment? I would say, it was during when I was assisting an advance open water course with Guilleme at Toyapakeh dive site. We were doing a drift dive. At one point the current became really strong that we have to cling unto a rock during the safety stop.

We were all clinging unto this one big rock and 4 of them were positioned behind me. I was in front of them and the next thing I knew, I wiped them out because my finger slipped completely. the memory was very vivid and I can’t help but to laugh every time I recall the horror in their faces after we all went flying with the current. lol sorry hahaha
  • The Proximity of Bali if you want a city life on your day off (by fast boat)
  • The serenity of the accommodation (in front of Penida jungle)
  • You’ll be properly trained under challenging conditions like currents and surges.
  • Due to recent ordinance, we can only do low visibility dive and not night dive in Crystal bay.
  • If you don’t know how to ride a scooter (like me) you’ll be easily bored because there are no other public transport in Nusa penida except for private scooter/taxi hire.
  • Tourist sites not too regulated and can become a problem especially at Manta point.
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Yes, I recommend this program

DMT & Research Diver Internship in Penida

I have been looking for a career pivot from a daily office job to something more exciting. It just so happens that I'm already an advanced open-water diver, so becoming a divemaster seems like a logical next step for me. Indo Ocean Project offers more than a high-quality divemaster training program headed by competent instructors; they also provide extensive hands-on experience in marine science. I have learned to dive in any condition, from perfectly clear water to turbid strong currents. I also gained extensive knowledge and hands-on experience in fish ID, non-invasive underwater research techniques, and marine life conservation.

Meeting all the other interns from all over the world with various backgrounds has also been the highlight of the program for me. I've made lifelong friends from the UK, Spain, the US, Hong Kong, and, of course, Penida.

I would recommend this program to anyone looking to be more than just a professional diver. IOP adds so much value to their DMT program with the marine science side of things, preparing you to be a great diver and a knowledgeable environmentalist,

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Stay in Bali for a day or two, especially if you are from a faraway country. Penida is a charming little island with many beautiful spots to visit, but there are many things to adapt to, even for me as an Indonesian who has been living in Bali for two years. Island living is very charming but can also be cabin fever-inducing at times. The program can get intense at times as well, so being well-rested and taking good care of yourself is very important.

Dive a bit more and brush up your diving skills before you arrive. Finding your perfect buoyancy is the key to the underwater science and conservation work we're doing with IOP.
  • Diving almost everyday
  • Highly skilled and knowledgeable instructors
  • Extensive marine science workshops
  • Leaving the program :((
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Yes, I recommend this program

IOP Penida

The twelve week internship at IOP penida was amazing! Instructors will truly help you become a better diver and are passionate about their teaching and conservation work. Program organization could be improved with the use of electronic calendars and the use of microsoft teams or related software. Program can be overwhelming at first, but there is alot to learn and lots to take in! Overall great experience. Growth of diver performance and conservation knowledge is the main takeaway from my experience.

What would you improve about this program?
Intern support. Lots of people are coming solo, it can be overwhelming and extra kindness and assistance in settling in would go a long way
  • Location
  • Making friends
  • Nice Locals
  • Overwhelming
  • Transportation
  • Flexibility
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Yes, I recommend this program

ILY Bira!

Jess, Ben and Qinthan made us feel so at home in Bira. Everyone was so welcomed, the IOP, Blue Planet team and interns have good relationships and I settled in very quickly.

I enjoyed IOP’s process whereby the older interns help to assist the newer ones. This perspective helped me to learn and build communication skills. I also liked how responsibilities for interns increased gradually as experience levels grew. I was given lots of helpful feedback and advice.

I came to Bira as an aspiring marine ecologist/researcher, but now I have fallen in love with diving too. I’ve made bigger leaps in my confidence here in 2 months, than I have over several years in my life. I’m so grateful for the support I’ve been given which has helped me to grow as a person. Bira has taught me so much. I am inspired to continue this journey, and to improve my skills further!! ❤️

  • My favorite dives! Whitetip reef sharks, 'The Great Wall', pooping sea cucumbers ;)
  • The people are wonderful
  • Inspiring ongoing research, really routing for Bira
  • Mosquitos
  • Leaving :(
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Yes, I recommend this program

Raja Ampat’s Dive Master training

I had the best time during the 2 months I spent in Raja Ampat. This is a great location if you want to start your Diving career and get lots of experience in challenging situations. Raja Ampat has it all. The highlight of this program is the combination with the research and conservation program. You get to see and understand the importance of conversation thanks to the amazing instructors that are at the same time marine biologists. Lots of learning in a very interactive way with a very organized program. Special thanks to my instructors Sel & Mario. I would absolutely redo this over and over again. Thank you!!

What would you improve about this program?
Raja is so beautiful that you just want to spend more time underwater.
  • You get lot of leading experience
  • Deep Learning about the underwater marine life
  • More than just a dive master training
  • Sharing a room (although you know in advance) can be sometimes challenging
  • More dives. Not considering the house reef


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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Helen Wu

A city girl from Hong Kong who loves nature and adventures, just do it slowly, cautiously and preferably in small group, because introvert.
Helen Wu diving with a diving buddy

Why did you choose this program?

When I was researching ideas for my career break, I only had two wishes: something to do with diving and something I can give back to the environment.

After stumbling upon Indo Ocean Project (IOP) online and read so many good reviews about them, I knew this is where I want to be. Living on an island, diving everyday, learn about the environment and meet like-minded people are more than what I wish for.

What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

IOP have all the contacts to help you with the basics. From visa application, transportation from Bali to Nusa Penida to on site accommodation, they have it all sorted for you.

They also have Facebook group for up-coming interns and alumni, as well as WhatsApp group for stand-by interns, the answer to your concerns is just one question away!

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Be mentally prepared to live on an island. Put your city-life standard and western-norm expectation aside. Embrace the purity of simple living and enjoy the presence of animals and nature.

Be open-minded. The things you deemed as “challenge” would be your accomplishments when you look back to it. No dives are the same and you only train once as divemaster, so make the most of every moment with a smile.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

The program is well organised with good structure. A typical day involves two dives, either from the boat or shore. Followed by afternoon activities like knowledge workshops or skill practices or independent study. Once the work is done comes the hardest part of the day that requires the most brain power - to decide what’s for dinner.

Every five to six days we get a day off, which we usually spend exploring the island, go on fun dives or get a well deserved massage.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

Coming in I had plenty of concerns. Do I have the body strength to take on the intense physicality of daily diving? Am I be able to keep up in learning all the scientific knowledge and training? And my biggest concern of all - will I make friends as a mid-thirty Asian woman amongst the many young gap year-goers?

As it turns out, all of my fears and concerns are just overthinking, as IOP is an accommodating place where you can take your time and do it in your own comfortable pace.

And as cliche as it sounds, age really is just a number, be your true self and you will attract your kind of people wherever you are.

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Mario Casati

Job Title
Co-manager and marine biologist
Mario studied natural science and mastered in marine biology in the university of Milano Bicocca in Italy. after gradauting he took the instructor course in thailand and worked there for an year before moving to raja where he uses his knowledge and passion to form new dive mster and researchers as the co-manager of the program.


What is your favorite travel memory?

I think that one of my favorite travel memory regards a holiday i spent with my girlfriend, we packed our bags and hit the road on the car, without a specific end point, stopping where we wanted, sleeping in the car, in the tend or in a hotel, deciding day by day. one night we ended up high in the mountains, in a tent, enjoying a gorgeous night sky and roasting marsh mellow on a bon fire made whit wood we found early that day on the sea side. The freedom and happiness felt in those days are a core memory for me.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

Massively, working in this environment changed the way i approach certain aspects of teaching, it also helped me understand exactly what i love about the diving life, how fulfilling it feels to pass the passion for the ocean to others .

How to manage other people, balancing positive attitude, a friendly environment but also a firm hand to be able to instruct correctly was a challenging part of the job but helped me grow.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

Our students leave our program ready to face the diving and conservation world, and we take pride in having them become dive professionals that are able to sustain any difficulty. The best story of a return student would be from a student that had to face a dangerous situation in strong current, for which she had been trained, and while others had trouble and couldn't handle it she instead was able to react correctly and blessed her training, making the best out of an otherwise bad experience.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

Our program offers a dive master preparation and conservation learning, the locations where this happens are 3: Nusa Penida, Bira and Raja Ampat. the first one is where i my self partook in the program as an intern and the last one is the one i am currently co-managing, I would therefore choose Bira.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

I would describe the strongest point of our company in it's well organized Dive master schedule. Our interns are well prepared following a perfectly organized schedule that ensures that they complete not only the minimum requirements but a training of higher standards then the main diving associations. Not only that but they are lead too take increasing responsibilities making sure that the professionals we form are not such only on paper but especially on the practical side. What makes me proud of my team is how we can trust each other to fill in every possible mistake that one might make, creating many layers of control and safety, making the working environment feel safe and supported.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

Organization and communication play a vital role in any company, a proper scheduling system, and organization in handling things ensures that even the smallest detail is not overlooked and has a place in which it can be handled correctly. this avoids piling up of small issues that result in the end in big problems. A correct organization would, although, be useless without proper communication. a healthy not one-sided communication with colleagues of any level helps everyone to understand and avoid mistakes.