We have now more than 120 Biorock structures around the 3 Gilis plus Tugu Hotel in North Lombok and in Senggigi Bay.
It is a lot of work to supervise and maintain but we accept volunteers to help us out and do some research and studies on these amazing reefs. Volunteers need to follow a 2 week course first to learn about reef ecosystems, identification, reef gardening, designing and building their own Biorock, and learning about all the maintenance aspects of the Biorock technology.
After the course, the Gili Eco Trust provides the diving gear for the maintenance. Best is to already have your snorkeling gear as many thing can be done from the surface of the sea!
Here are some facts about the 3 Gilis:
The Gili Islands:
Gili Air, Gili Meno and Gili Trawangan, also called 'The Gilis', are three lovely islands located between Bali and the North West coast of Lombok in Indonesia.
The largest of the three islands, Gili Trawangan attracts the majority of visitors, it is around thirty minutes boat ride from the northwest mainland of Lombok and regular daily boats depart Bali directly to Trawangan.
The beaches of the Gili’s are powdery white, the water a beautiful clear blue and they are positioned perfectly for sunsets over Bali’s Mt Agung and sunrise over Lombok’s Mt Rinjani.
Forty years ago, the Gili islands were uninhabited and only discovered by the seafaring Bugis people from Sulawesi. It was only a matter of time before the more adventurous backpacker types discovered the islands and developed Trawangan into a hippy party paradise destination.
Gili Trawangan now identifies itself as a great holiday destination suitable for families of all ages. Various new hotels, luxury villas, and boutique bungalows now cater to children and offer good value. Some have baby-sitting services, and with lots of activities on the islands families are sure to enjoy their beach holidays to the full.
Unique to the Gilis - all forms of motorised transport are still not allowed - meaning the only way to get around is on foot, by bicycle and in pony carts known as Cidomos.
ATM machines are everywhere on the islands now.
Most visitors stay on Gili Trawangan for the facilities and make the short hop out to the dive sites. Each dive centre has its own fleet of traditional outrigger boats that ferry divers offshore to the walls and reefs where the best diving is to be found.
RESTORING CORAL REEFS USING BLUE RENEWABLE SUSTAINABLE ENERGY
For many years we have been thinking of how to make our successful reef restoration more sustainable. We have tried using solar panels on a barge but they are difficult to maintain and get stolen easily out in the sea. As we are scuba diving around the three Gili islands but also all over Indonesia, we are so aware of the strength and energy that the marine currents have in this region. So we would like to build a tidal energy turbine following the work of Dr. Gorlov with local equipment, material and manpower. We have tried to get funding for the last 4 years to import a tidal energy turbine but it is very difficult to import such technology in Indonesia without paying a lot of tax and it is also difficult to get funding for a very expensive turbine, which will produce way more energy that a Biorock reef needs. Moreover we want to use local knowledge, local material and our experience to build a turbine, which will produce the electricity needed for a Biorock reef and give the best example of how the electricity should be produced in Indonesia instead of using oil. Tidal power has great potential for future power and electricity generation especially in Indonesia which would be able to use its main wealth, the ocean.
We built a tidal turbine prototype which worked but the rotation of its fan was too slow. We are currently working with engineers from the ARUP to improve its efficiency and to build a new prototype.
More than that, of course we want:
- Better protection of coral reefs.
- More Biorock structures and reefs all around the three islands.
- More awareness of swimmers and snorkelers about importance of corals and its protection (PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH OR STEP ON CORAL!)
- More companies and tourists involved in our Biorock workshops.
- More mooring buoys around the protected areas.
MAKE THE THREE GILIS A NATURAL RESERVE!
The scope of these seminars covers all aspects from the theory to the practice, and especially the design, the assembly, the installation, the supervision, the maintenance and the repair of the Biorock structures. Other conferences will cover the basic of the ecology of coral reefs, the threats on coral reefs, and the restoration of the environment.
The Biorock workshops are specially designed for dive shops, hotels and resorts, marine conservation organizations, coast guard administrators, fishermen’s communities, marine scientists, travel agencies, landscape architects, engineers, artists, governmental authorities, environment and tourism decision-makers.
The Biorock workshops will help all those who are interested to:
- Learn how to identify broken, overturned live corals that have a second chance of survival with our help
- Learn how to safely pick up heavy corals and to find suitable substrate to transplant onto for the coral to attach to once overturned and secured.
- Gain reef conservation skills you can take with you travelling and diving around the world
- Learn what a Biorock is whilst diving around the world’s largest concentration of Biorock reef structures.
- Briefing includes why the Gili islands reefs depend on artificial reef restoration. The basics of what a Biorock is and how it is advantageous to Gili islands tourism, fish populations and reefs.
- Help our volunteers’ check the structures are on, working properly and harbouring the correct corals.
- Learn about coral ecology and the importance of coral reefs in the marine environment. The course raises awareness to the state of coral reefs global and the need for awareness and responsible behaviour to protect remaining healthy reefs.
- Take part in training to identify damaged coral reefs, the causes of destruction and the use of Biorock technology for restoration and erosion prevention.
- Learn how a Biorock works and why they are more successful than other reef restoration techniques. Will also gain an insight into how they are advantageous in preventing coastal erosion and eco-tourism.
- Gain a PADI Distinctive Speciality certification
Or have a look at our Biorock workshop website at www.biorock-workshop.org
The Biorock method was invented, developed, and patented by the scientist Prof. Wolf Hilbertz and by the biologist Dr. Thomas J. Goreau.
The Biorock technology uses low voltage direct currents (above 1.2 Volts) going through a steel structure. The Biorock process also called electrolysis is happening between 2 metals receiving electricity in sea water, resulting in a steel structure to grow solid limestone minerals and the other metal to slowly disintegrate. These currents are safe to humans and all marine organisms. There is no limit in principle to the size or shape of Biorock structures, they could be grown hundreds of miles long if funding allowed. The limestone is the best substrate for hard coral. The Biorock process is used to regenerate coral reefs, re-populate damage reefs from coral and fish, break the wave action, grow beaches, etc…
Hard and soft corals, sponges, tunicates, and bivalves are observed to grow on Biorock materials at extraordinary rates. Hard corals on a Biorock structure can grow 2-6 times faster than in natural conditions, the corals on the Biorock reef are exceptionally bright coloured and densely branched, heal from physical damage at least 20 times faster, have up to 50 times higher survival rate from the most severe high temperature bleaching events, and show rates of new coral growth higher than any previously recorded data.
Fish and lobster population growth in these structures is extraordinary, especially juvenile fish, and depends on the shape of Biorock structures, which can be made to provide an extraordinary density of hiding places. Biorock reefs have turned severely eroding beaches into 15 meters of beach growth in a few years by slowing waves so that instead of eroding sand at the shore, they deposit it. They have been found stable in category 4 hurricanes and the Asian Tsunami, because the open frameworks allow large waves to pass through.
The Biorock reefs system was started in the Gili Islands in 2004. Each year more Biorock reefs are implemented around the Gili’s. Today there are more than 100 Biorock structures around the three islands.
The project is amazingly successful. New dive sites were created, which helped by its elves to protect and reinforce the surrounding reefs of the islands.
The Biorock reef system has helped global efforts for the reef restoration due to its positive effects on the overall marine life, ecotourism and various other conservation projects.