It’s been a while since our last update. With everything happening in the past year, we wanted to take a moment to share some news and provide you with an overview of the current situation in Indonesia.
It will be a longer newsletter than our usual one, so please grab a cold iced tea or a hot cup of Joe and make yourself comfortable! Ready? Ok, let’s go!
Annual Green Fins assessment
Last year, following our latest Green Fins assessment, Ceningan Divers was named in the top 3 Most Sustainable Dive Operators in the World. (Position # 2, 3, and 4 ranked in second position having each scored the same in our assessment) If you are unfamiliar with Green Fins, they aim to certify dive operators based on annual in-person assessments.
After winning the BlueGreen260 Awards for the Best Dive Resort in the World in 2018 and 2019. This was a celebratory moment, rewarding our teamwork efforts to position our eco-friendly dive resort as global marine conservation and sustainable development leader.
Then Covid-19 took the world by surprise. We went from our best fiscal year to the worst possible scenario within a few months.
The current Covid 19 situation in Indonesia
2020 started with a bang! Following our latest Green Fins annual assessment, Ceningan Divers ranked 2nd in the World for Most Sustainable Dive Operators. Rewarding years of teamwork efforts to position our eco-friendly dive resort as marine conservation and sustainable development leader. Then Covid-19 took the world by surprise. We went from our best fiscal year to the worst possible scenario within a few months.
On March 19, 2020, we announced that we would be closing our Resort due to Covid-19. A few days later, the Indonesian Government announced that Indonesia was going into lockdown, cancelling all travels and taking other measures.
In mid-July 2020, we reopened, allowing us to operate under the “new covid,” offering our services to guests who are already in Indonesia. There were surges in cases at the end of 2020 and the start of the year. Then things seemed under control; slowly, the islands reopened, new discussions to open Bali to international travellers remerged, optimism was in the air.
However, following the recent national holiday and the increase in people travelling home to visit their families led to a drastic increase in new cases over the past few months. The latest COVID-19 update indicates that Indonesia reported 38,391 on July 9, with 577 new cases in Bali (Which is the highest single day since the start of the pandemic).
Since July 2, 2021, Bali is back under a government-imposed lockdown: Limiting travel/movement and closing non-essential businesses. The crisis has pushed hospitals to overcapacity, 1000s of healthcare workers dead, those remaining are exhausted, the Government is asking people to stay home as the health system cannot provide any more support. Oxygen supply is depleting rapidly; people wait in line for hours in the hope of buying a cylinder of oxygen for sick family members at home.
To get more up-to-date information, we recommend you follow the Bali Covid-19 Update page on Facebook. Jackie, the admin, is a valuable source of accurate information.
Here’s the link to the latest update as of the writing of this newsletter.
How’s our team doing?
For the most part, life has returned to a simpler routine on Nusa Ceningan. Most families have pooled their resources together and returned to work the land, seaweed farming, and fishing as they have done for generations before the tourism boom of the past decade.
Gina, our marine biologist, is back in the UK, where she will be studying for her master’s degree. Vita, Gusti and our other team members from different regions of Indonesia returned home to their families last year when we closed the Resort in March. Using our contingency funds and the money we raised with our 2020 GoFundMe campaign, we continued to support our entire team until October 2020. At that point, we rebalanced our budget and reduced our workforce to 10 employees.
Although the situation remains stressful and grim, our team remains optimistic. We continue to tend to the Resort, and our families hope for a swift recovery and return to pre-pandemic life.
A word from Sandra and Robert in Canada
While Ceningan Divers’ co-owners David and Lea manage the companies, it’s providing an opportunity for our co-founders Sandra and Robert, to take a moment of respite.
Sandra and Robert have worked non-stop, building and growing Ceningan Divers and our various eco and sustainability programs since 2015. Many of you have witness first-hand their dedication and passion. They devoted their energy to improving our dive resort and our team, often sacrificing their own needs to ensure the success of Ceningan Divers.
“We planned to take time off in 2020-2021 and eventually split our time between Canada and Indonesia. The pandemic somewhat accelerated these plans! Sandra and I have moved to Montreal last July. Since then, we have processed Sandra’s permanent residency application; we are waiting for her work permit and final approval. I started teaching entrepreneurship and coaching start-ups. We both continue to support our team and David and Lea to ensure Ceningan Divers’ ongoing success.”
Will Robert and Sandra be returning to Bali?
The short answer is: Yes! “We co-founded Ceningan Divers; we miss our team, friends, and the islands. As mentioned before, it was always in our plans to split our time working and travelling between our favourite places. Sadly, this won’t be possible until the global pandemic is under control and the international tourism and travel industries have returned to the pre-pandemic level. So, until it is a possibility, like many others, we adapt to the situation, we remain resilient in our efforts. We enjoy the moment while we look forward to reuniting with you, our friends, and our family members across the globe.”
A word from David and Lea at the Resort
In the last week of February 2020, we packed up our lives in Singapore. We were over the moon to finally start living our dream of running an eco-friendly dive resort on Ceningan. Things took a decisively swift turn to the left when we had to close the Resort at the end of March, just one month after arriving, and it was not the ideal start to our new adventure. Still, we have loved being on our small island. The slowdown in life gave us the perfect opportunity to meet and integrate into the tight-knit community. We have been blown away by the support and friendships we have gotten from everybody here and around the world.
Since then, we were able to reopen the Resort in September 2020 and have loved hosting the few guests that could make it over to go diving with us. One upside to the current situation is that we often have our own private dive sites at some of the most popular areas on the Nusa islands, including Crystal Bay and Manta Point, which has made the diving an exceptional experience for us and everybody that has visited us.
Even this new round of lockdown has allowed us to learn and hone our skills. We have just completed visually inspecting and servicing all our tanks. We are halfway through serving all of our regulators, ensuring that everything is ready for you on your return. Lea continues to work with our staff to ensure the Resort and grounds are in tip-top condition, just as you remember it, if not greener!
Although borders remain closed, we remain hopeful and upbeat that we will once again be able to share our little slice of paradise with you all soon and look forward to meeting new and returning guests.
The Future of Ceningan Divers
The reality is most of the world is still early in its recovery plans; some countries are doing well, while others are facing new waves of increased cases or new variants. The road to recovery from this pandemic is still very fluid. As much as we would love to reopen and welcome our guests back to Nusa Paradise, it does not look like this will be an option any time soon.
Financially, as you can imagine, it has not been an easy year for most tourism-related businesses. Asia has been severely affected; most resorts in Bali saw their revenue decline by 95% in the past year. Ceningan Divers was lucky; we didn’t have debts, making it somewhat easier for us to weather the storm. We are still facing a lot of uncertainties; the pandemic is far from being over. Things may be looking up in other countries; however, that is not the case everywhere! We’d be lying if we didn’t say we are worried, tired, stressed; that said, our team remains committed to our mission: Operating a sustainable, eco-friendly dive resort where our guests feel at home, part of the family, treated with respect and appreciation. A safe space where guests can learn from our passion for sustainable development, conservation, scuba diving, and Balinese culture.
Our commitment to go above and beyond for our students and guests has never been stronger. Until we can welcome you to Nusa Paradise, we will continue to master our skills, plant mangroves, dive against debris, and beach clean-ups.
How can you support us?
There are many ways you can lend a hand; if you have read this far, you are a true champion and ambassador of Ceningan Divers! (Thank you) Here’s how you can support our team and us!
1) It’s time for the 2021 Dive Travel Awards; you know the popularity contest Award by Dive Magazine? Yes, the same we’ve been spamming you for the past four years! Yes, the one we won 3rd place in 2018.
Anyway, please go vote now! Oh, and please get your friends, goldfish and pets, RPG characters and imaginary friends to vote as well. We need your support!
We’re late to the game this year, and we usually should have sent at least two spammy newsletters to get you to vote. Yes, we can see if you vote or not, so please do it, it takes 5 minutes, and you will feel better for supporting us in the simplest of ways. (and Rob won’t have to write another newsletter)
2) Please take a moment to write reviews about your experience with us: How was your dive? Did you like the food? How was your stay at our eco-friendly dive resort? Let’s be frank! Reviews are a necessary evil; I mean, you read our reviews before you booked with us, right? Reviews get us ranking higher on Google, Facebook, and TripAdvisor. Without reviews (you recommending us to others), our employees go hungry; you don’t want that to happen.
No, but seriously, please take a moment to write a review on Tripadvisor, and Google, and also here, and oh yes, here!
3) We know things don’t look fantastic in Bali now; however, we all know this will pass. If you are like us, you are looking forward to travelling again; planning and booking your dive vacation for 2022. We’re offering 25%* off our 2019 rates. (Before you ask! YES, we will increase our prices in 2022; the cost of materials, food, gas, and dive gear is rising. It’s basic economics!)
* Guaranteed rates when pre-booked with a 25% deposit, the remaining 75% will be due 30 days prior to your arrival date. (The 25% deposit is 100% refundable up to 30 days before arrival or if you cancel cancelled due to travel restrictions or illness). Visit our Deposit and Refund Policy page for more information.
If you wish to land a hand in other ways, please contact us directly to discuss the options: Contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org or WhatsApp +62 811-3897-702
We’ll aim to send more regular updates in the future to avoid these 1870+ words, 4-page essays!
We look forward to welcoming you back to Nusa Ceningan. Until we meet again, be kind, enjoy the small things and support those in need whenever you can.
David, Lea, Sandra and Robert.