Tuesday, January 16

Fresh Out of the Sea

Photos (L-R): The sunset view from a warung by the beach (by me), my view when cycling by the beach (by me)

Hurrah! It's late, but welcome 2018! I started 2018 by forcing myself to swim as far as 200 meters (after a while of not swimming!), got my diphtheria vaccine shot, and flew back to Bali to start my internship. I am currently doing an internship at Marine Megafauna Foundation, a non-profit organisation that mainly focuses in conserving, well marine megafaunas, such as whale sharks and manta rays. Here at Nusa Lembongan, the island of the MMF-SEA office, a senior and I are helping a PhD student finishing her research on the impacts of microplastic towards manta rays at Nusa Penida & Komodo Island.

The island life has been... great! So peaceful and relaxed. However, since it's the rainy season, Nusa Lembongan has been covered with clouds and swept off by the ocean wind. It's kind of hard to get around the rainy island with a bike while using a rain coat hahaha. But anyway, it's still fun! During the weekdays, I like to have nasi campur for brunch, get myself a sate ayam for late lunch, and some warm bowl of bakso atau mie kuah for dinner. Like any other islands, of course they have vegan food, smoothie bowls and good old wraps here, which I'm down for. I've only tried the island's gem, Bali Eco Deli, which is a plant-based cafe. I tried their fruit yogurt thing and coconut-lime cake for breakfast, and it was super tasty! Especially the cake. I also tried The Green Garden Warung, which is less crowded than the eco deli, but as tasty (and slightly cheaper!). Can't wait to taste the other goodies this island has to offer. Although everything here is relatively more expensive than on Bali, I never seem to run out of cash, which is surprising... 

Photos (L-R): A view from one of the days we went to the field (by me), a picture of me taking samples of the manta's feeding ground (by Elitza), a view of Pasih Uug beach (by me).

The first week of my internship has been... tiring. We went out to sea about three times this week, during the better weather of course. Although it wasn't raining, the waves were crazier and bigger than I expected. We were being tossed here and there at the boat, but as soon as we jumped into the water, it wasn't as bumpy as it were before. We managed to swim near the mantas a few times. I even had one surprising me by swimming right underneath me. I wasn't scared of them, but I was scared of accidentally bumping their fins or swishing them with my fins hahaha. The mantas were great, though! Big, beautiful, flappy pancakes sea creatures swimming back and forth. We also had the chance to view a pod of dolphins!!!

The water where they swim at, however, isn't so great. It was full of plastic trash, even I was bothered with it as I was snorkeling. I can't imagine how disturbed and annoyed the mantas (or any other sea creatures)  are with all the trash we contributed to sea. In order to reduce the number of (plastic) trash I am responsible for, I received a gift from one of the volunteers at MMF, which is a steel straw! I've been looking for the (steel or bamboo) straw everywhere, and I finally got them! Super happy to have the straw! Definitely going to use it in all of my drinks in front of people, to make them think how cool and environment friendly these reusable straws are.

Photo: my newly bought Fjallraven Kanken in graphite!!! yaazz

I am currently in the middle of analysing and processing the data and samples, so can't tell you anything yet about the abundance of microplastic in the manta's feeding ground. But let me tell you this though... so far, the most abundance type of plastic found at sea is soft plastic. Soft plastics include food wrappers, plastic wrappers, and plastic bags. Know what that means? It's time to decrease your use of plastic bags, as well as start eating your food at place. If you have to takeaway your food, bring your own lunch box! Fuel has many types of containers you can choose from! They're definitely one of my favourites. If you're based in Indonesia, you can easily find them at ACE Hardware.

That's it for now. I hope you had a great start of the year like I did. Remember to get yourself a 2018 planner. Whether you're a traditional busybee (paper > app) like me, or a modern age busybee (app > paper), get them! Having a planner is the first step of getting your shit all together. Have a well-planned (but still open to the huge amount of surprises and spontaneity you're going to have) year, busybee!

Check out my Instagram feed to see the highlights of my Nusa Lembongan trips, as well as my Monday Movie Recommendations I add every week!
Also, if you're eager to find out about the project I am currently participating in, check out the Instagram page for this specific topic here.

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