Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network (ITN)

NTA in Indonesia: A Tale of Two Cities (and ESRs): The Second Week

Blog by 4D-Reef ESRs Mariya Perepelytsya, based at Deltares (the Netherlands), and Kathrine Maxwell, based at Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Research (Germany).

All PhD’s gathered for a network and training activity (NTA) in the field in Indonesia, for two weeks. After the first week in Makassar (read all about it in our previous blog here), we packed our bags and left our hotel to catch our flights to Denpasar in Bali where we stayed for another week of networking, workshops, and team-building activities (the Bali way).

Week 2 in Bali

Day 8


The majority of us were flying to Denpasar at lunchtime. We were less lucky than Katt and Estra (who flew on another flight) and Bali welcomed us with a shower. However, even in the bad weather I was glued to the window of our bus on the way to the hotel! For someone who visited Bali for the first time, I was mesmerized by the rich architecture, temples, statues and blossoming flowers, not only on the trees around but in front of every place as daily offerings. We rounded the evening with a tasty group dinner and relaxed before the workday ahead of us.


Day 8: 0600H

Left the hotel very early to catch the morning flight to Denpasar. We were gifted with a very nice view of the Spermonde Archipelago. Bali welcomed us with fair weather. We had a short sweet break because of our travel from Makassar so we decided to walk along Sanur beach after grabbing lunch.

Day 9


We were welcomed at the Coral Triangle Center, which is a non-profit foundation focusing on coral reef protection, education, supporting marine management and many other aspects in the field of marine conservation and sustainability. You can learn more here:

During the morning we got a chance to learn about the work done by the Center and experience first-hand various outreach activities aimed to inspire a wider audience in marine protection. These activities included team-played escape rooms, art exhibition “Harmony Island” by Mulyana, getting acquainted with the coral restoration projects across the Coral Triangle and the marine biodiversity database. What is more, you can take diving lessons and learn about the environmental best practices for diving and snorkeling. Impressively broad range of activities available at CTC for everyone!

During the afternoon, we engaged in discussions on collaboration initiatives between all the 4D-REEF ESR’s.



We walked our way to the Coral Triangle Center (CTC) which is just several meters from the hotel. We learned about the CTC ‘s activities as an NGO focussed on marine protection and had team-building activities: the CTC escape rooms and marine-themed card game. We also had the afternoon full of discussions on collaborations between our projects.

Day 10


It was a team-building day and nothing is better for that than having a trip together! Any words to describe it would be quite bleak in comparison to the natural beauty and cultural richness of the Ubud area. The only note for myself: if you can bike in the Netherlands with the phone in your hands (which is forbidden anyway), that doesn’t mean you should attempt filming everything around on the steep curvy roads, cause you may kiss the asphalt :D



We head down to Ubud district to continue with our team-building activities and cultural experience in Bali. I was really hesitant to go on biking around Ubud area at first, but after the experience, I was one of the people who enjoyed it the most. We cycled in different areas in Ubud seeing the traditional Bali houses, temples, and really good sceneries of rice fields. We went to Pura Puseh Desa Batuan, a Hindu temple, and to the Tegenungan Waterfall, a tourist spot.

Day 11


Ibu Rili Djohani – Executive Director and Founder of the Coral Triangle Center, welcomed us at the CTC and shared her professional development story and her work on “ Turning knowledge and science into the ground action”. From actions on local level via online CTC Academy and development of interactive learning activities (which we enjoyed as well on Day 9), inviting tourists and locals to think and care more about the oceans, to development of Indonesian National strategies for marine protected areas (MPAs) by 2030 and work on Ocean20 – Rili Djohani is a role model for young marine scientists and I was honoured to meet her.

Other speakers of the day were Ranny Yuneni, who told us about the population decline of endangered marine species and translation of the biodiversity protection efforts into policies; and representatives of organisations Pesisir Lestari and Blue ventures introduced us to their work on providing support for community-based octopus fisheries and management in Indonesia.

The day was concluded with a workshop by Dr. Arjun Chennu (Max-Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, and a supervisor in 4D-Reef) on data sharing – his experiences and role of open access data in facilitating knowledge exchange and collaborations.



We head back to the CTC to have another day of talks and discussions; this time about NGOs and how to make impact at various levels with science, from local to global policies.

We were welcomed by CTC Executive Director Rili Djohani and she kicked off the morning session with her talk on policy development and the role of NGOs in translating science into policy. Personally, I am really inspired by her work and advocacy on marine conservation and management. After the morning session about the work of NGOs in Indonesia, Dr. Arjun Chennu gave a workshop on data sharing—sharing his experiences and lessons learned about sharing data.

Day 12


Early morning start to get to the Nusa Penida Marine Protected Area (MPA), to learn more in the field on coral reefs and mangroves.

Unfortunately, the waves were too high to snorkel in the open waters with hope to see mantas in the Manta Bay, so we proceeded to Nusa Lembongan. There we visited the Mangrove forest with the boat tour around it and learned about the conservation initiatives to protect mangroves and their biodiversity in the area. After lunch, we snorkelled over the local reefs, explore the differences and similarities with the reefs near Makassar. And where we were lucky enough to see some dolphins and some of us a turtle. The abundance of colors was truly mesmerizing! The last stop of the day was the CTC community center on the island where we tagged reef stars (see previous blog, on the MARS project with reef stars) and placed them within the MPA. In the evening we concluded the 2 week NTA Indonesia with a team dinner.



Day 5 in Bali. We took the boat and visited islands Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan. Here we visited a mangrove forest, learned more about coral reefs and coral restoration in the field, and participated in a coral tagging activity with Reef Stars (see also our first blog for more information about Reef Stars).



Thank you, Bali. Thank you, Makassar. Thank you, Indonesia for welcoming us. We will definitely be back again. We were greeted by this rainbow during our second day in Bali.






*All photos made by 4D-Reef and ESRs.

Written by ESR: Mariya Perepelytsya

MSc in Hydroinformatics and Water Management

Deltares, Netherlands

Written by ESR: Kathrine Maxwell

MSc in Geology

Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT), Germany

October 28th, 2023|ESR blog, Network Activities|