Coral reef restoration
Tropical Research and Conservation Centre
Coral reef restoration
Weekly cost (approx USD):
Direct benefits you gain:
field research skills
gain a qualification or credit
remote scenic location
Noteworthy conservation points:
When does the project run?
accommodation included, cooking facilities, electricity, food included, refillable drinking water, shower (bucket), shower (cold), (toilet western)
How long can I stay?
Details of the day-to-day life on the project:
TRACC is located on Pom Pom Island off the coast of Borneo; around a 50 minute boat ride from the town of Semporna and is a truly beautiful location to live, work, dive and laugh. It’s a tiny island taking around 20/25 minutes to walk around and the project is surrounded by a growing number of resorts making restoration work ever more important.
This area of Borneo has been largely effected by bomb fishing which has devastated large parts of the reef at Pom Pom Island as well as turtle and other marine populations. However, there are many great dive sites around the island such as Mandarin Playground and Lobster Wall, but most of your time will be working on the fragmented and bleached areas (obviously).
Work consists of reef stabilisation, turtle and fish ID surveys, coral biscuit making, work on the coral nursery, removing invasive species and much more. Further work is done in on surrounding islands with beach cleans and work with locals to reduce plastic contamination of which was there in shocking amounts. Much of the restoration efforts are now related to the development and deployment of Artificial Reef Crests (ARC) to stabilise the reef crest and provide a new environment for reef to grow from. These are made from sand, stones, crushed (dead) coral and a cement mix. The deployment dive to fix these in place was one of the best dives I’ve ever had… it was so tough but so interesting and extremely rewarding.
A typical week consists of 2/3 work dives per day with Sunday fun-day dives at neighbouring islands and Mondays off. You don't have to have any training prior to arrival, with PADI courses taught there for around £160 per course.
I couldn't give a higher recommendation for TRACC, it was a truly amazing project to be a part of. It's extremely basic living but at the same time everything you could ever ask for. The chefs cook amazing food lunch and dinner and when you're not diving, island life is pretty blissful. Everyone helps out around the camp, building or refurb, but there's also the jungle gym or just some hammocks to chill in.
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