by Annika Keil, Volunteer from Germany, 17th October 2023
Kapitu is a small village located two hours southwest from Manado. It is situated directly on the beach of a small bay where coral reefs and mangroves occur naturally. Unfortunately, parts of the reef were destroyed due to blast fishing (fish bombing) in the past. For the restoration of the coral reef, Manengkel Solidaritas started transplanting corals in 2018. Post-pandemic, renewed efforts have begun since 2022 which continue today. For the transplantation, small coral parts are fixed on small modules underwater. There are multiple modules next to each other, on which twelve corals can be attached each. The aim is to recover and protect marine species and sites for the protection of rare habitats and endangered species in Indonesia. Moreover, Manengkel Solidaritas initiated a project last year with the aim of developing Kapitu as an ecotourism destination. A healthy underwater ecosystem will help attract eco-conscious tourists, visiting Kapitu for snorkeling and diving.
After the transplantation of the corals, a constant monitoring and brushing of the modules is crucial for the success of the project. For this purpose, Lin and I were able to join the diving crew as volunteers on the 6th of October. We helped with the monitoring by measuring the height of the corals. Also, we brushed the modules for keeping them clean from algae growth. This is important so that the corals can also grow directly on the module and receive sufficient sunlight. We did two dives and were accompanied by staff members of Manengkel Solidaritas. On this occasion, photos of the underwater world were taken for the promotion of the ecotourism side. The modules are located at a depth of about 12 meters and around 500 meters away from the beach of Kapitu. To reach the reef, a fisherman took us in his fishing boat. For the work in close proximity to the corals, a good buoyancy is very important to avoid contact with the corals. Consequently, to avoid injuries to us and damage to the corals, the divers should bring some experience.
It was a great experience, and we are very happy that we got the opportunity to help with the restoration of the corals in Kapitu.