• Photo by Rantje Allen

  • Photo by William Tan

  • Photo by Rantje Allen

  • Photo by William Tan

  • Photo by Rantje Allen

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Category Archives: Go Green

Zosterops chloris nests at Miguel’s Diving dive center

Zosterops chloris is a small lemon colored bird with a beautiful ring of tiny white feathers around its eyes. Commonly called Lemon-bellied white-eye, it is endemic to Indonesia. Here its name is burung katamata laut.

Regular Nesters in Miguel’s Diving Green Zone

Lemon-bellied white-eye
Lemon-bellied white-eye, an endemic

At our dive center, we seek to maintain green zones, even though our property is small. In front we maintain a grassy area edged in flowers. In the back are clusters of bamboo and trees. These are commonly used as green fencing locally. Also, we have climbing, flowering vines.

With branches towering far above the ground, a pair of Zosterops chloris have built their nest for several years in a row. After raising their young

, all the birds leave until next nesting time. As of this blog posting, they are nesting again and sing twice a day.

Rescuing Fallen Juvenile Birds

Zosterops chloris juveniles
Rescued juvenile White-eyes

One year when the juvenile birds were learning to fly, both fell to the ground. Fortunately, our dive staff were working on the speed boats that day. Boka, a dive master, noticed a large rat quietly approaching the helpless birds. He quickly scared the rat away and picked up the baby birds. Then, he placed each one on a low branch.

The parent birds quickly flew down. They made much chirping sounds to encourage their babies to try to fly up the tree in a series of short flights. One baby made a return to the nest high in the tree. Its sibling was too afraid to try. So, one parent bird perched next to it and they both slept there through the night.

Naturally, our dive staff stayed away from the baby and parent. We only checked on them occasionally during the night. However, by dawn both were gone. In the following days, we saw all four birds. After that incident, the adults seem to know Boca and start chirping if he is working at the dock.

Zosterops chloris

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, Exclusive to Indonesia

Zosterops chloris is found from the Sunda Strait west to the Aru Islands. However, it is said to be missing from the Indonesian archipelago’s large islands of Borneo, Java, Sumatra, and Timor. Based on small color variations, research in 2017 states that there are five sub-species. We are not sure which one of those nests on our property. The geographic complexity of Indonesia has created genetically isolated populations.

This small bird measures about 11 centimeters. It has a lovely, high-pitched song. Dive staff hear the nesting pair sing in the early morning. Also, they sing in the late afternoon. Recordings of their song are available at this link.

For your chance to see one of these delightful birds while waiting to board one of our speed boats, please make your dive reservations with us.

Mooring Buoys for Olele Marine Park

Mooring buoys are a welcome development in Olele Village Marine Park. Miguel’s Diving staff determined the locations and set the buoys in 2020.

Environmentally Friendly Mooring Buoys

Since opening diving in 2003, Miguel’s Diving staff have always anchored our speed boats with care. At each dive site, we have scouted locations suitable for anchoring. Such locations include sandy places and rocky terrain. At many sites, a dive master will jump into the water to place the anchor in a hole that we have found. We re-use the same hole during each visit.

About ten years ago

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, the Bone Bolango Regency Marine Fisheries Department erected floating fences. Although these were not suitable for securing speed boats, local fishermen used them on weekends. This actually opened the marine reserve areas to regular fishing. During the followinge wave season, storms destroyed all the fences. One anchor block still sits at Silvertip Grounds dive site. That hard coral growth now covers that cement block. This rapid growth confirms the healthy marine environment here.

mooring buoys anchor
Steel mooring anchor

Learning from the past, the new series of mooring buoys use a different set up. A stainless steel anchor post is drilled into the ocean bedrock. A short and flexible chain connects the embedded anchor to a strong rope. Floating on the surface is an orange buoy. Boat crews then can tie to this floating mooring buoy. Sadly, one was stolen, so Miguel’s Diving crew dive down and tie to the anchor post at that dive site. At the approach of wave season, marine park monitors will remove all the rope and mooring buoys for seasonal storage. These will be re-attached when dive season returns.   

Locations Determined by Miguel’s Diving

The Tourism Department of Gorontalo Province provided funding for the mooring buoys. Miguel’s Diving staff determined the best locations. They also performed the work of implanting the anchors. There are buoys for twelve dive sites. Plus, an additional three buoys serve the snorkeling catamarans that operate out of Olele Village.

Miguels Diving at buoy
Our speed boat at a mooring buoy

Olele villagers do the monitoring of the marine reserve. They are alert for illegal activities. Thankfully

, no bombing or cyanide fishing has occurred at the village or other areas where Miguel’s Diving takes guests. Since the dive sites are in proximity to villages, monitoring is a simple task. However, remote sites cannot be managed 24 hours daily. Miguel’s Diving is the only dive operator in Gorontalo that owns speed boats. To join us, please make your dive reservations directly.

Reef Safe Sunscreen for Gorontalo

Reef safe sunscreen is a concern of divers around the world. This includes guests of Miguel’s Diving. Divers need to protect our skin from harmful ultra-violet rays but also to protect the marine environment from harmful chemicals.

Strategy One: Physical Barriers

Although various media sources highlight the need for reef safe sunscreen

, we suggest another strategy first. Physical barriers provide much better protection against sun rays. Most divers already use a great barrier. We wear wet suits, which can cover skin from ankle to wrist. During surface intervals, divers usually open the top of their wet suits. Rather than coat your shoulders and arms with creams or sprays or oils, please wear a T-shirt.

Another must-have item besides reef safe sunscreen is a wide brim hat. This keeps sunlight from hitting your head where sunscreen cannot be applied. A wide brim helps shield a diver’s face and neck. Moreover, sunglasses with appropriate ultra-violet protection are a must for divers.

on the dive boat
Our blue canvas helps protect from sun rays

To assist in decreasing the need for our guests to use lots of sunscreen, each of our dive boats has a complete canvas top. Moreover, this would be considered another physical barrier.

Mineral blockers that contain zinc oxide and titanium dioxide coat the skin and reflect ultra-violet radiation off the skin. The media generally consider a mineral blocker to be reef safe.

Strategy Two: Reef Safe Sunscreen

Chemical sunscreens work by absorbing ultra-violet light and converting the radiation to heat. The two most harmful chemicals in sunscreen are oxybenzone and octinoxate. Research suggests that these could potentially harm marine life. Locations with high tourist volume are most affected.

Researchers estimate that up to six thousand tons of sunscreen wash into the ocean annually. In the United States

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, both Hawai’i and some Florida locations have banned the use of products containing these two ingredients. Gorontalo hosts very few tourists, which greatly helps to limit potential damage.

reef safe sunscreen
Read the active ingredients of sunscreen

To avoid purchasing a product that is not a reef safe sunscreen, simply read the label. However, divers should recognize that scientists have not determined the definition of “reef safe.” That is why divers should use the first strategy of physical barriers. Then divers can apply sunscreen only on the face and hands. Dermatologists suggest that sunscreen should be applied every two hours. The first application should be before you enter the water. That way the sunscreen has time to dry on your skin rather than wash on immediately into the ocean.


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, Miguel’s Diving requests that guests not use aerosol sunscreens onboard. Particles of these sprayed chemicals drift in the air onto the dive boat, other guests, and over the waters.

To dive with an operator dedicated to protecting Gorontalo’s marine environment, please make your dive reservations with Miguel’s Diving.

Plastic Reduction Policy

Plastic reduction policy at Miguel’s Diving Gorontalo revolves around the four R’s: Refuse, Reuse, Recycle and Reclaim.

Plastics Policy & Pro-active Waste Reduction

Some may be surprised that a local dive center like Miguel’s has a plastic reduction policy. Actually, we have had one in place for many years. Guests will notice right away our efforts and we encourage participation.


The first action of our plastic reduction policy is to refuse. Our staff bring green bags to stores and local markets. This way we do not need plastic bags. We also refuse to buy individually wrapped snacks and those with plastic trays. Instead, we provide wafers, which can easily be shared among guests. Traders at Gorontalo’s Central Market know that we are looking for the day’s sweetest pineapple when a staff appears with our big plastic box complete with lid. But that brings us to the second R.


Using containers for daily fruits is one way we refuse single-use plastic bags. We reuse sturdy plastic boxes for the fresh, local fruits that we provide guests after a dive. These are also easy to clean, helping maintain necessary sanitary conditions.

plastic water refill
A guest refills his bottle

Miguel’s Diving does provide the standard plastic water bottles containing drinking water. We purchase these from a Gorontalo water company that employs local people. Rather than letting those bottles become single-use plastic

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, we provide a pen with permanent ink. Miguel’s Diving also encourages our guests to write their names on their bottle. After a dive, a quick glance determines which bottle belongs to which guest. Some guests bring their own re-useable drinking containers, which is even better. We provide a large five-liter refill station of local, purified water. Our daily briefing includes explanations about water refill as part of our plastic reduction policy.

plastic reduction policy
A reuseable lunch box

For lunches, we have long used re-useable lunch boxes with lids. Even the plastic spoons are rewashed and eventually end up in the coffee station. Rather than single use plastic or Styrofoam meal containers, ours are literally used hundreds of times. 


plastic water bottles
Giving away a sack of used plastic bottles

We have no trouble giving those plastic water bottles away at the end of a dive day. Neighbors of the dive center, who have limited income, drop by to collect them. Gorontalo has a plastic bottle recycling center, which pays for plastic bottles.


Miguel’s Diving staff take part in annual local beach cleanups. The local government is the sponsor. Local officials use these events to educate coastal residents on cleanliness and hygiene. For a number of years now, Gorontalo City government offers free garbage pickup. Residents are encouraged to leave garbage in a container or small pile in front of their houses for daily pick up. This has greatly reduced the amount of plastic thrown in the rivers flowing through Gorontalo City.

underwater beach cleanup
Local divers clean up underwater

The biggest impact Miguel’s Diving makes on reclaiming discarded plastic and other human-generated rubbish is our daily reef sweeps. During each dive, Miguel’s Diving staff check the reef for plastic or anything else that does not belong. Our staff estimate that 90% of rubbish on the reef is single-use. We thank guests who help us keep the reef clean. Moreover, the captain will steer the boat toward any floating rice sacks and pick these up. They cause the most immediate damage to the reef. A rice sack easily tangles onto hard corals, blocking necessary sunlight and killing the coral within a few days. Travelers to Gorontalo remark how clean and neat Gorontalo City is. Divers notice how relatively clean Gorontalo’s marine areas are.

For your chance to support a local dive center with a clear plastic reduction policy, please book your dive trip with us.     

Beach Cleanup Nationwide Includes Gorontalo

Beach cleanup proclaimed by Indonesian Marine Fisheries Minister Mrs. Susi Pujiastuti officially included Gorontalo.

Nationwide Beach Cleanup Announced

Indonesia enjoys an extremely popular Mminister of Marine Fisheries. Her colorful past and forthright attitude speak to the hearts of many Indonesian citizens. She is most famous for her by-line “Sink it!” During almost four years as minister

, she has sunk over 360 foreign vessels caught illegally fishing in Indonesian waters.

nationwide beach cleanup
Marine Fishers Minister sponsors a nationwide event

With her usual personal charisma, Ibu Susi announced plans for a nation-wide beach cleanup. She calls her organizational teams Pandu Laut Nasional.

“As proof of loyalty and love for the Republic of Indonesia, Pandu Laut Nasional will do beach cleanup in 73 beaches from Sabang to Merauke, Miangas to Rote.” She also added, “If we don’t begin now, when will we? So, our plea is that all Indonesian citizens, including the youth, will form a marine alliance along with Pandu Laut and go to the ocean on 19 August.” Indonesia’s Independence Day falls on 17 August.

With the help of her provincial partners, her ministry identified the 73 locations and designated them for beach cleanup. If no beach is handy, she urged residents to clean up nearby rivers and lakes. Ibu Susi herself will help with the beach clean in Bitung, North Sulawesi, after she sinks some more ships.

With an eye for simultaneous broadcasts, Pandu Laut Nasional coordinated the times. The hope is for one million people to get involved. In a nation as large as Indonesia, a giant beach cleanup like that is certainly possible. In Gorontalo, the beach cleanup started around 1400 hours.

Beach Cleanup in Gorontalo

The organizing committee in Gorontalo included Provincial Marine Fisheries, Environmental Research and Tourism departments along with local universities and police. Local dive entities like POSSI and Miguel’s Diving also participated. About twenty scuba divers participated. They selected Tamboo village for beach cleanup. It is in the Leato Selatan neighborhood of Dumbo Raya sub regency. It is at the edge of Gorontalo City.

Miguel’s Diving staff considered this a great choice since the area is the worst for trash. Three of our dive masters worked as a team. They carried a large plastic dive gear box. They dove to 18 meters and worked their way back up the sandy slope. It took less than 20 minutes to fill their box. Before surfacing


, the team clocked the appropriate three-minute safety stop. They surfaced just in time to join others on the beach to sing “Indonesia Raya.” That is the national anthem. A drone captured the event for live broadcast. Various print and online media also covered the event.

underwater beach cleanup
Local divers clean up underwater

Organizers of Pandu Laut Nusantara also used the beach cleanup to educate the villagers on cleanliness. Mr. Anis Naki, Gorontalo Provincial Secretary gave a challenge. “We in Gorontalo wish that this kind of activity would happen not on this day only. But, this should be carried out routinely, at least once a month.” He added, “We in Gorontalo need to care together, since our cleanliness is less than desired.”

Trash in the Ocean

According to a study released by the University of Georgia, Indonesia is among the top ten nations contributing plastic waste into the oceans. The nation puts an estimated 0.48 to 1,29 million metric tons annually in its seas. Ibu Susi has a goal of 70% reduction in this plastic waste by 2025.

When interviewed by Kompas online media, Mr. Rantje of Miguel’s Diving explained what trash was retrieved from the ocean in front of Tamboo village. Almost all was single use wrapping, like energy drink mix, shampoo, diapers, plastic bags and beer cans.

When guests of Miguel’s Diving dive the reefs of Gorontalo, rarely will they see trash like that. One reason is that our staff do not wait for a beach cleanup day. We pick up trash daily during the course of a dive. To express your appreciation to an environmentally active dive center, please book your dive trip with us.

Illegal Fishing has No Room in Gorontalo

Illegal fishing has no room in Gorontalo, according to Gorontalo’s governor.

A New Task Force Inaugurated

no illegal fishing in Gorontalo
Governor Habibie establishes a task force against illegal fishing

On 21 April 2018, Governor Rusli Habibie established a new task force to fight illegal fishing. The Indonesian Navy, the Marine Police and provincial prosecutors compose this task force. Representatives of these institutions received their official commission from the governor. He gave special hats to team members.

“I do not want people here involved in illegal fishing. If they are, they will be arrested and prosecuted,” stated Mr. Habibie. Illegal fishing wrecks the environment, negatively affecting marine life, especially coral and fish. Thousands of local people attended the ceremony. Libuo Beach in Pohuwato Regency served as its location.

Gubernatorial Decree Number 83/24/II/2018 forms the legal basis for the new task force.

Insya Allah with the existence of this new task force


, fish stocks will be protected for the future welfare of the people,” concluded the governor. The governor charged the team to give maximum effort to guard Gorontalo’s marine ecosystems. They must prevent any fish bombing, the use of long tiger nets and the theft of fish by international agents.

The team also must provide education to local fishing communities. This includes fishing within a certain distance from the shoreline. Distance helps guard areas closest to shore for environmental reasons and for marine tourism. The team has six prime tasks. Two are providing guidance and education to local fishing communities. Also, they must increase community awareness of marine fisheries laws. Additionally, they must patrol and identify any illegal fishing activities. Finally, they must analyze and evaluate all relevant data.

Destructive Fishing Practices

Certain destructive fishing practices are illegal. Bombing is one form of illegal fishing. A person will use fertilizer composed of nitrate to fill a small bottle. Inside is a small fuse. If it is lit

, it will quickly explode. When thrown into the ocean at the right time, many fish will float to the surface. However, most of the fish fall dead to the ocean floor. The coral is blown to smithereens. No bombing has occurred in areas where Miguel’s Diving takes guests for diving.

Sometimes, a fisherman will put cyanide poison into a plastic bottle. He will often then use a surface compressor to dive. This allows him to find prize fish like Napoleon wrasse. A squirt of poison in its face will cause the fish to lose consciousness. That way the fish can be caught alive and transported to a holding tank. However, smaller fish will die after contact with the poison.

illegal fishing with compressors
Compressor fishers in Gorontalo

The use of a surface compressor is also an illegal fishing method. A team of compressor divers will drag a long net along the reef. They are able to catch almost all the fish in a certain location in a couple of hours.

The Public’s Role in Fighting Illegal Fishing

Miguel’s Diving has long played a role in protecting the marine environment in Gorontalo. We have conducted awareness campaigns on the necessity of protecting coral reefs. These took place in schools, village meeting halls and front porches in fishing villages all over Gorontalo Province.

Miguel’s Diving continues to form friendly relationships with local fishermen. We agree not to allow fishing from our boats, including spear fishing. We buy fish from fishermen at the local market. Our guests can easily confirm this positive relationship by seeing all the waves to and from local fishers.

Social media posting proved a crucial factor in prompting the governor to form the new task force. Several times during the current dive season, guests of Miguel’s Diving witnessed first-hand large teams of compressor fishermen at several dives sites. Guests uploaded photos and live videos of the illegal fishing. This prompted official action, including arrest and confiscation.

To dive with a socially responsible and environmentally aware dive operator, please book your dive trip with us.

Plastic Bottle Recycling with Miguel’s Diving

Plastic bottle recycling is part of Miguel’s Diving company ethos. It is both environmentally and socially proactive.

Safe Drinking Water on Board

To ensure safe drinking water on board our speed boats, Miguel’s Diving provides bottled water for its guests. The water comes in a 600 milliliter plastic bottle. The water itself comes from the mountains around Manado in North Sulawesi Province.

Avoiding Plastic Bottle Wastage

plasticbottle refill
A guest refills his bottle

Miguel’s Diving also has a strategy for avoiding plastic bottle wastage. Before diving

, guests often want a quick drink of water. We provide a marker in the coffee and tea tray. A guests writes his or her name on the plastic bottle. After enjoying the reefs of Gorontalo, divers see several plastic bottles on the benches of our dive boat. The water in these bottles is only partially drunk. However, divers immediately know which ones are theirs. This avoids wasting the contents of those water bottles.

Moreover, we provide filtered water on board. Divers can refill the plastic bottles. This is local, Gorontalo water. Numerous depots provide refills for 19 liter bottles.

Go Green with Recycling

plastic bottle recycling
Giving away a sack of used plastic bottles

Despite our careful use of plastic bottles, every day the dive boat arrives at our dock with many empty ones. These we give to people looking to supplement their income. Although a single plastic bottle is not worth much, avid recyclers can collect and sell them. The local recycling center buys them by the kilogram. Our neighbors also like them. They reuse the plastic bottles as containers for home-pressed coconut oil, which sells for a good price.

The way Miguel’s Diving handles the need for clean drinking water is both environmentally and socially proactive. We encourage our divers to support this Go Green strategy by writing their names on their water bottles. Please contact us for your diving booking.