Indo Ocean Project

Program Reviews

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Nathalie
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Living in paradise

To keep it short: if you love the ocean, join this program!
From start to end, I've enjoyed the IOP project and can't believe how much I've learned in such a short period of time.
This is of course, thanks to the amazing program itself - but above all because of Qinthan, Jess & Ben who've made the stay truly unique :)

Diving:
Bira is by far the greatest place I've had the opportunity to dive in so far. It's full of marine life and thriving coral reefs. What makes it so special that you never know what appears in the blue 💙 - schools of devil rays, trevallys, barracudas, tuna or grey reef sharks, marbled rays and more!

Housing & social life:
We've had a wonderful time in Bira with lots of like-minded people :) there's a community kitchen and a bunch of amazing restaurants in walking distance.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
Launched a fundraising campaign to support local people in exploring the underwater world and become guardians of their marine miracles
Pros
  • Incredible dive sites with abundance of marine life
  • Wonderful managers & marine biologists
  • Well structured program with lots to learn
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Aditya
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Thank you!

So, to begin with, from day 1 when i reach IOP at reeflex divers, Mette & Anne were there for me. They are both such amazing people and also very talented and professional. They were always there for me whenever i used to face any type of difficulty, whether in terms of housing, diving etc. And now i am a divemaster. I came to Penida with 6 dives OW diver and right now i am with + 100 dives. Diving in Penida was definitely challenging with all the surges and currents but our training was of the level to ensure that we can dive anywhere in the world! Thank you so much IOP.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
Sticky steamed rice! Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack. everything is rice. Was cool though as i started eating that everyday too.
Pros
  • good diver
  • growing personally and professionally
  • amazing networking
Cons
  • very tired everyday
  • no breakfast as no kitchen no fridge
  • dive center wouldnt allow us to use their facilities e.g fridge
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Brooklyn
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

The Experience of a Lifetime

I struggle to put into words just how special this program was. To be succinct: it was the experience of a lifetime, made exceptional because of Ben, Jess, and Qinthan.

From the first night when Jess and Ben greeted me, I knew I was being welcomed into a very special experience filled with "my people." I bonded with everyone right away, not least because of the relaxed and close-knit atmosphere these two fostered every day. On day two, I met Qinthan, whom I knew immediately would become a role model to me within marine conservation, and she did not disappoint. I am so grateful I decided to partake in this program!

The diving in Bira is on some of the most well preserved reefs left in the world today, which is no small feat. From the smallest of macro life sheltered within the colourful reefs to the sharks, rays, and turtles we saw on every single dive, Bira is unique. I could spend 100 lifetimes diving these reefs and never get tired of them.

IOP itself is a commendable initiative which seeks to balance marine conservation and education with local involvement. They don't try to bulldoze over local ways of living, but rather they integrate these into their science in order to build a sustainable program which has the capacity to thrive.

What was your funniest moment?
Wrong Way Shrey (iykyk)
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Margareth
5/5
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
Pros
  • 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.
Cons
  • 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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Andy
5/5
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.
Pros
  • Diving almost everyday
  • Highly skilled and knowledgeable instructors
  • Extensive marine science workshops
Cons
  • Leaving the program :((
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Alyse
4/5
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
Pros
  • Location
  • Making friends
  • Nice Locals
Cons
  • Overwhelming
  • Transportation
  • Flexibility
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Zoe
5/5
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!! ❤️

Pros
  • My favorite dives! Whitetip reef sharks, 'The Great Wall', pooping sea cucumbers ;)
  • The people are wonderful
  • Inspiring ongoing research, really routing for Bira
Cons
  • Mosquitos
  • Leaving :(
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Blanca
5/5
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.
Pros
  • You get lot of leading experience
  • Deep Learning about the underwater marine life
  • More than just a dive master training
Cons
  • Sharing a room (although you know in advance) can be sometimes challenging
  • More dives. Not considering the house reef
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Natasja
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Fantastic experience

From the first greeting till the l last goodbye it was an amazing experience. The staff entertaining, professional, very friendly and helpful. They take you on this fantastic adventure and learn you everything you need to know to do the job.
The housings were new and clean. Cabins with 2 bunkers with your own space on the side. Facilities looks good, clean and big enough.
Through this experience I found out that I want to work in this field and as a part of IOP if that ever would be possible...
Just loved every step on the way, loved the people, loved the program, loved the work... ♡

What was your funniest moment?
I had so many great moments, but the pooping seacucumbre is my favorite. Especially because it was the subject of many more conversations afterwards as well :-D
Pros
  • The knowledge you get
  • Techniques you learn
  • The whole experience
Cons
  • 6 weeks is too short
  • You don't want to leave
  • Feels like family :-D
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Joshua
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Experience

The time I spent at the Indo Ocean Project at Nusa Penida was incredible.
The staff were amazing, so friendly and willing to teach and guide at all times; especially Mette, Anne, Arya and Rinaldi. They will push you to become a better diver and ensure you do more than the bare minimum so you are a competent but also a confident diver.

Nusa Penida is a beautiful place to dive and also a great place to stay and explore. You also get to meet some amazing other interns whilst at the internship so you are learning with like minded people.

Moreover, you get to be involved in some great conservation projects such as mangrove planting.

I highly recommend this internship if you are looking to advance your career in diving or if you are interested in conservation.

Pros
  • World Class Dive Sites
  • Friendly and helpful instructors
  • Hands on learning with like minded interns