Week 3 of Indo Ocean Project: Review of Reeflex divemaster course

Aug 06, 2021 BY Cara Rees

I have now been with the Indo Ocean Project (IOP) for three amazing weeks. IOP is partnered with Reeflex dive centre who provide eco friendly diving experiences. If you are passionate about the environment and looking for somewhere to continue your dive education, Reeflex Divers in Indonesia could be just the place. For more information read my review of Reeflex divemaster course below along with week 3 of my IOP mini diary.

Week 3 of Indo Ocean Project_ Review of Reeflex divemaster course Photo copyright Serena Stean

About Reeflex Divers

Reeflex Divers is the brain child and dive dream of it’s founders Roman, Harry and Dodi. They met as dive instructors and quickly discovered they shared the same ethics and concerns when it came to diving. The business was developed around providing personalised dive experiences while protecting the environment.

Their enjoyment of diving and sharing it with others is evident every day. To me this makes Reeflex a great place to complete my divemaster course.

The location of the dive centre in Nusa Penida Sakti is key to Reeflex. It means that they can offer shore dives in world renowned Crystal Bay. Diving there when ocean conditions are too rough for boat access.

They are also closer to the three main Manta dive sites off Penida than other dive centres, resulting in shorter journeys. This means less impact on the environment as well being able to dive at less busy times. I love Crystal Bay with it’s coral reef, bommies, sand, deep walls and in season the chance of seeing the regular Mola (sunfish) visitors.

Week 3 of Indo Ocean Project Review of Reeflex divemaster course

Scuba dive courses Reeflex divers offer

Reeflex Divers are on a mission to give everyone the best dive experience possible. This extends to providing training that surpasses the required standards. Training with them you can choose qualifications from SSI, CMAS or PADI dive organisations.

I chose SSI because I like their online materials. Reeflex offer all levels of scuba training from Discover Scuba Diving (DSD – try dives) to the divemaster professional qualification. They also have a variety of specialities including; deep, nitrox and night dives.

In 2020 Reeflex partnered with IOP Nusa Penida to offer marine conservation courses. Together they offer training packages to suit divers with experience ranging from zero to professionals.

I joined the IOP marine conservation internship as an open water diver and will end as a divemaster with speciality marine conservation experience and qualifications. Reeflex is also partnered with Ocean Gardner offering coral focused dive packages including certification.

Coral nursery during week 3 of Indo Ocean Project Review of Reeflex divemaster course

Review of Reeflex divemaster course

As soon as I walked into Reeflex my divemaster course started. While I was being kitted out with my rental scuba gear they were explaining the equipment, set-up and its care. It is clear the pride they take in imparting knowledge and training divers to the highest of standards.

I arrived in Indonesia as an open water diver with only six dives. Three weeks in I’m now an advanced adventure diver, I’ve passed the react right first aid course, started my stress & rescue diver training and have 31 dives. In my opinion Reeflex Divers and IOP work together seamlessly to ensure the marine conservation interns get the knowledge and experience to become exceptional divers.

In this review of the Reeflex divemaster course I have shared my experience after three weeks of my twelve week marine conservation program. Scuba diving is an extreme sport and I am so pleased to continue my diving education here. They really put you through your paces, practicing key skills and knowledge until they are embedded.

I know I am being trained to dive safely so I can truly enjoy the underwater world and become and exceptional diver. The training has been intense at times but the rewards are absolutely amazing. Everyday as I improve my enjoyment of scuba just keeps growing.

Reeflex Divers Scuba Diving pool Nusa Penida Indonesia photo by Cara Rees

Week 3 of Indo Ocean Project marine conservation internship

This is a mini diary of what I have been up to on the third week of my marine conservation internship with Indo Ocean Project. My 12 week program is based in Nusa Penida where the training is provided in collaboration with Reeflex Divers.

Want to read about the first 14 days of my training? Check out week 1 of Indo Ocean Project marine conservation and Divemaster course  and week 2 of Indonesia Divemaster Course.

Day 15: Buoyancy, fin kicks, lift bag and SMB workshop and dive

Today we worked on some underwater skills starting in the classroom with the theory. Buoyancy is practiced during every dive but Peak Performance Buoyancy (PPB) includes specific activities and challenges to really help hone your skill.

Even with perfect buoyancy you’re not going to get where you want without fin kicks. There are many different types of fin kick which are used in different scenarios including kicks that enable you to swim backwards. Which is unbelievable even when you see someone do it with your own eyes.

Lift bags and SMB (Surface Marker Buoys) both require inflation with air from your tank. SMB are used to show boats where divers are and lift bags lift objects. The bag is filled with air from your tank until the object is lifted off the bottom.

As you ascend with the bag the underwater pressure reduces, the volume of air in the bag increases so the bag becomes more buoyant. This means air has to be released during ascent and added during descent. It requires a fine balance to control the lift safely.

Beach sunset at Crystal Bay, Sakti Nusa Penida, Indonesia Photo by Cara Rees

It was good fun practicing, especially completing the underwater obstacle course. Then this evening we had a sunset party with a bonfire on the beach. Another great day in paradise!

Day 16: Freedive introduction and turtle workshop

Freediving also known as skin diving is diving with only the breath you are holding in your lungs. Humans have been freediving for thousands of years. With practice people achieve amazing feats with the longest breath hold at 24min and deepest freedive being 214m.

We were taught some theory and simple freediving relaxation and breathing techniques. I managed to hold my breath for 2 minutes and 10 seconds which is a huge success for me! We don’t hold our breath when scuba diving but the relaxed slow breathing exercises freedivers use reduce air consumption. So they are useful to practice so you can enjoy longer dives. Plus it is incredibly calming.

The turtle workshop was absolutely fascinating. They are incredible creatures and champion freedivers sleeping underwater for up to seven hours on a single breath. Turtles migrate thousands of miles across the globe. There are lots of natural predators for young sea turtles and they have a very low survival rate. It is thought that only 1% of turtle eggs make it to adulthood, that makes the turtle in the photo below and every other adult turtle a miracle.

Hawksbill Turtle scuba diving in Nusa Penida

Sadly humans have a massive impact on turtle mortality from pollution, fishing bycatch, consumption and habitat loss. This Hawksbill Turtle  swam alongside us for 15min in Toya Pakeh. It is a critically endangered species meaning it is at an extremely high risk of extinction. This really reminds me why I am here studying marine conservation.

​​Day 17: Fish ID dives and manta workshop

Today we practiced fish ID while diving at Toya Pakeh and SD point. These were both drift dives from a boat. It is a key part of my marine conservation training to be able to ID fish and marine species so I can contribute to data collection.

They were beautiful dives with so many fish and six turtles. After yesterday’s turtle workshop I feel even more lucky to be here working towards protecting them and this wonderfully vibrant ecosystem.

Meet Made and Putu our captain and first mate for todays boat dives.

Week 3 of Indo Ocean Project_ Review of Reeflex divemaster course photo by cara Rees

The Manta workshop this afternoon equaled yesterday’s. I didn’t know that manta ray gill rakers are an ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine. It is estimated around 5000 Manta are killed each year. This is extremely concerning for a species that takes up to 15 years to become reproductively mature then only births 1 or 2 pups a year.

Some positive news is that countries around the world are now recognising that Manta tourism is worth more than 2000 times that of a dead Manta.

Day 18: Mangrove workshop and nursery work

There was no diving today due to large swell. Coincidentally one of the benefits of mangrove forests is the protection from swell and stormy sea’s they provide to coastal regions. They’re amazingly unique and important ecosystems.

Many young fish use mangroves as a nursery. They act to preserve coral reefs too by stopping silt and detrimental land nutrients from reaching them. Plus they store huge quantities of carbon dioxide helping to combat climate change.

Hindu full moon celebration at Pura Dalem Saki, Nusa Penida, Indonesia Photo by Cara Rees

This evening a number of us were honored to be welcomed to a local Hindu full moon celebration at Pura Dalem Saki. It was a very special day because there was also a luna eclipse which was mesmerising to watch.

Day 19: React right first aid course

Today was spent studying ‘react right’ first aid. It was interesting and useful with lots of practicals.

We practiced few useful practice scenarios, such as; a person trapped under their scooter in the middle of the road, someone who had dived into an empty swimming pool and an unconscious victim in a burning compression room after an explosion. We took it in turns to lead the first aid activities. I found this a great learning exercise.

React right first aid course with Reeflex Divers Photo by Cara Rees

Day 20: Start of rescue course and poker

Today we started the diver stress and rescue. Again it was extremely practical with lots of observing and repeating of skills (overlearning) which is exactly what is need.

We learnt techniques to get unconscious divers out of the water and onto the beach. Also how to approach a panicked diver at the surface and stay safe. As well as all the underwater skills practiced like clearing your mask, recovering your regulatory and providing emergency air.

This evening we played a little poker. I was very lucky with a couple of good hands so end up winning almost 50,000 Indonesian Rupiah… that’s roughly £2.50, hehe.

Game of Poker photo by Cara Rees

Day 21 Stress and Rescue course second day

As part of the stress and rescue course you are challenged to cope under actual stress. Today we had to complete the skills we have been practicing under more pressure.

Having your mask removed while giving someone emergency air sounds terrible. But I already knew after yesterday’s exercises that I can see without my mask. So when this happened I was able to continue calmly providing buddy breathing without any complications. It was challenging, physically hard but gratifying to realise how much I had already learnt.

Tomorrow is our day off so a group of us have rented a beautiful villa on a nearby island of Nusa Ceningan for a relaxing mini break.

Sunset in Nusa Ceningan Indonesia

Review of Reeflex divemaster course: Conclusion

I have not yet completed my divemaster training but so far the training by Reeflex Divers in combination with the Indo Ocean Project has been incredible. They are super professional and it is hard work but also a lot of fun. I thoroughly recommend the course if you’d like to get into marine conservation or to take the first steps to become a dive instructor.

I hope  you found this review of Reeflex Divemaster course and my third week diary interesting and useful. Check out these scuba diving holidays if you would like to book a dive trip.

Asia, Crystal Bay, Indian Ocean, Indonesia, Nusa Penida, South East Asia
Scuba Diving
Conservation, Divemaster
Travel Articles

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