Raja Ampat Lockdown – What does it look like at Papua Explorers?

  • April 23, 2020

Corona Days at Papua Explorers

There is no wonder that the Covid-19 outbreak hit all dive operators hard. Currently a Raja Ampat lockdown is in place. The Papua Explorers Eco Resort operation was forced to temporarily stop on March 29th. That was when we had to send our last guests home for the time being. Coralia Liveaboard and Papua Explorers employ around 100 people, most of which are local Papuans. Our first priority has been the wellbeing and safety of our team. We realize that the livelihood of many families depend on us and with this responsibility we are keeping them employed. Being employed enables them and their families to benefit from public health services in addition to securing their food.

Early Maintenance during Raja Ampat Lockdown

After sending most of our team to their homes, we decided to do an early maintenance during the closure. The closure allowed us to focus on some nice projects. One of these is our food garden and the hydroponic garden that we had been researching so much about, but never had time to realize. Our nursery looks promising and the hydroponic system started working. We just had a delicious fresh salad from our homegrown greens. We hope to be able to serve our own greens to our guests soon.

plant nursery at Papua Explorers, a project that we establishd during COVID-19 lockdown in Raja Ampat

Nursery at Papua Explorers Raja Ampat

Boat and Bungalow Maintenance

Another team that is very busy is the fiberglass team. We have been making our own fiberglass boats for the last three years. We’ve trained three Papuans as fiber boat builders along the way. Our fiberglass team is currently busy renewing all the dive boats and building new ones.  Once they’re finished with them, they will move on to our liveaboard, Coralia. Meanwhile, the carpentry team is renewing all the rooms, sanding the wooden surfaces and re-varnishing them. Our talented team is making lamps out of bamboo in all sorts of creative designs.

our fiberglass specialist shown inside a Papua Explorers boat during maintenance

Fiberglass boat workshop at Papua Explorers

At the Office

Our management team had been busy firefighting the situation. The booking team occupied itself with all the cancellations and rescheduling requests in the first few weeks of the outbreak. It’s a bit quiet now, so we are all being creative and writing blog posts. We also review our websites and think about new marketing strategies. Further, we have been brainstorming a lot about how to review and revise our standard operating procedures in the life after Covid-19. We are very busy re-writing everything considering social distancing and disease avoidance.

Focus on Conservation and Community Work during Raja Ampat Lockdown

The only team that has been busier more than ever is our foundation team. We can allocate more manpower to conservation now. So they are heavily involved in maintaining and monitoring the reef restorations and expanding some areas. Having no guests at the resort, we also have more time for training activities. For example our English classes are going on with an intense focus. But again, having no guests and no income, Papua Explorers SEA Centre needs your help. To support our conservation and community activities, please visit our foundation website.  We had to cease our activities with the kids for safety reasons. However we use the extra time to focus on our own team at the moment. Our foundation is also organizing food help to the neighbor villages. Additionally we plan bringing a community health official in for their medical needs.

two scuba divers fixing coral fragements on a structure, coral conservation during Raja Ampat lockdown

Reef Restoration Papua Explorers Foundation

employees of Papua Explorers sitting at a table with the English teacher for class during Raja Ampat lockdown

English class at Papua Explorers Resort

Looking Ahead to the time after the Raja Ampat Lockdown

In summary, although this period looks like a catastrophe for tourism industry,  it gave us the time to focus on improving every aspect of our operation. Our focus is on developing and improving our premises, our team, our operation and our conservation projects.  We are doing our best to prepare for welcoming our guests again and hope that the situation gets better soon.

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