▼ How long can I stay at SORCE for?
Our Expeditions are typically booked in increments of 1 week, however, we appreciate that everyone has different motivations for joining an Expedition and so what suits one person may not necessarily be the right thing for another. For this reason, we leave the exact number of weeks that you stay for, and which week you wish to begin, to you to decide. The only restrictions we have are the minimum durations for our varying expeditions based on what each one contains, and a maximum duration of 25 weeks due to the 180-day maximum duration of a Social Visa.
Whilst we don’t dictate how long your Expedition should be we do have certain recommendations depending on which expedition you choose and what you hope to get out of your stay. If you are looking to learn about what we do, gain some new knowledge, and get hands-on with the projects then we recommend a minimum of two weeks to facilitate this. We would also recommend an additional week+ if you intend to complete one or multiple of the following dive courses whilst with us: PADI Open Water, PADI Advanced Open Water, PADI Rescue Diver, Reef Check Eco-Diver.
If you are a student joining our Research Thesis Placement then we recommend a minimum of 6-8 weeks to collect your data, whereas students joining our Scientific Field Experience Placement are advised to join us for a minimum of 12 weeks in order to cover all of the training, complete your project and build your field experience.
If you are hoping to complete your divemaster qualification we recommend a minimum of 8 weeks and suggest that the ideal period of time to get the most from both the Divemaster and the conservation experience is 12 weeks. However, please note that the expedition that you combine your divemaster with will impact the recommended minimum duration.
If you are a student enrolling in the Marine Science A-Level course please be aware that the course runs for 17 weeks and has a set start and end date dictated by the examination schedule run by Cambridge International each year. It is possible to complete portions of the course remotely online so if you are not able to join us here in Indonesia for the full 17 weeks don’t worry, we can still accommodate you.
▼ Do you offer Scuba Diving courses?
Yes – We are partnered with a local dive shop called Oceanway Dive Resort. The owner and instructor Jake is a fantastic diver and teacher. At present he offers PADI Open Water, PADI Advanced Open Water, PADI Rescue Diver, and Emergency First Responder.
It is also possible to do your PADI Divemaster training whilst with us. We run this as a combined Divemaster – Conservation Diver course with Jake teaching the diving portion and SORCE covering the conservation portion.
Lastly, we offer the Reef Check Eco-Diver course and the Reef Guru Restoration Diver and Conservation Diver courses. These are taught on-site here at SORCE, by our Managing Director who is a qualified Reef Check Eco-Diver Instructor and Reef Guru Instructor.
▼ Will my dietary requirements be an issue?
At SORCE we do our best to cater to everyone’s individual dietary needs. Our breakfast and lunches are always vegetarian (although there are optional extras available for adding meat to these should you wish to) and we always have a vegetarian option available for dinner even when it is a “meat night”, or the ability to add meat as an extra on “vegetarian nights”. We can also cater to vegan diets, gluten and dairy intolerances, and a range of different allergies.
▼ If I have a medical condition or disability, can I still participate?
We do our best to accommodate anyone who wants to join one of our programs at SORCE. In the past have successfully accommodated participants with back problems, bad knees, arthritis, and auto-immune conditions to name a few. Being a communal living project means that generally everyone helps each other, and we have found our expedition students to be extremely supportive of each other. Our staff will also do everything within their capability to help you. Please contact us if you have any concerns regarding whether or not we can cater to your needs.
Unfortunately, some medical conditions are not compatible with diving and can be dangerous. Please look over the PADI medical form here for reference and get a signed medical certificate from your doctor if you answer “YES” to any of the questions in the Medical Divers Questionnaire section.
▼ Do I need vaccinations?
It will depend on your vaccination history, personal preferences, travel plans, and most importantly your Doctor’s advice as to which (if any) vaccinations you will need. We do provide a vaccination advice sheet as a part of our “Welcome Pack” that you will receive via email once your booking has been confirmed, however, we do advise that you seek advice from your doctor in order to get the most up-to-date information and a vaccination plan tailored to your medical history. We recommend that all travelers should be up to date with routine vaccinations and injections, for their own protection, however it is not a requirement in order to visit our site.
Please note that at present there are COVID-19 vaccination requirements for obtaining some visas for entry into Indonesia. If you are planning to stay in the country for 60 days or less then this is not relevant to you since you can enter on a Visa on Arrival (pre-travel application required). If you wish to stay longer you will need to apply for a visa which currently requires proof of COVID-19 vaccination. Please note that all of our staff are fully vaccinated and we follow all of the Indonesian regulations and guidelines regarding conduct and safe practice in relation to COVID-19.
▼ Are there mosquitos?
There are mosquitos here on Lombok, particularly during the wet season (November-April), and fewer during the dry season (May-October). All of our rooms have mosquito nets above the beds so it is quite easy to protect yourself from getting bitten during the night. Mosquitos tend to bite most during dawn and dusk so we recommend bringing long light-weight trousers and tops.
We request that you try not to bring mosquito repellent containing DEET as it has been shown to be very damaging to the environment, particularly marine life.
We have never had a case of malaria at SORCE and it is generally not a concern in Lombok which has been classed under the lowest threat level for an area where cases are possible in theory.
▼ Is there Wi-Fi at the facility?
We do not have Wi-Fi here at SORCE, due to the remoteness of the island. If you would like to have internet access while with us, you will need to purchase a local sim card when you arrive in the country. It is possible to buy sim cards at the airports in Lombok and Bali. Additionally, they can be purchased locally and we can organise this for you once you arrive on site. We recommend getting a Telkomsel sim card, although XL also works.
We are lucky enough to have 4G, particularly at the front of the site, but the further back you go the less signal there is and we do occasionally experience periods with poor or no internet service, which can last a few hours.
Local SIM’s are cheap and can be topped up through an app on your phone or by ordering a top-up package here on site. Make sure your phone is unlocked before buying a new sim. If your phone is locked, we suggest you bring an old phone or buy a cheap smartphone in Indonesia. Additionally please make sure that you register your phone IMEI number at the airport on arrival in Indonesia since you will be unable to use an Indonesian SIM without doing this first.
▼ Is there air conditioning?
We do not have air conditioning in any of our rooms or buildings at SORCE because we are trying to minimise our carbon footprint and air conditioning uses a large quantity of electricity. However, we do have a fan in each room which creates airflow and cools the huts down considerably. We are also situated right on the beach so there is usually a pleasant sea breeze and often after diving multiple times in a day guests feel chilled and welcome the warmth of the land.
▼ Is there hot water for showering?
We do not have hot water at SORCE other than in the kitchen for washing up after mealtimes. This is because we are doing our utmost to reduce the amount of electricity we use in order to keep our carbon footprint as low as possible. However, it is very warm here all year round, averaging at around 30 degrees so often the shower water is warm because the water tank gets heated by the sun. Additionally having a cool shower is often a welcome refreshment after a hot day on the beach.
▼ Is there electricity?
Yes. We do have electricity here at SORCE. We run on a combination of mains and a generator with the mains being our primary source and fuelled by a local solar farm. There are power outlets for your fan and to charge phones and laptops in each room. We do request that people are conservative with their electricity use so that we can remain as sustainable and environmentally friendly as possible.
▼ Is there couples accommodation?
Yes. Our bamboo lodges have been built with flexibility in mind. Each hut contains two private rooms with a partition wall in the middle separating them. This partition wall can be removed by our staff to create one larger room in each hut. Beds can then be arranged into a double for couples, or a twin dorm-style room for friends wishing to share.
▼ How do I wash laundry?
We have two laundry days a week “Washing Wednesday” and “Soapy Saturday”. We send laundry to the local village (just 2km from our site) where they will wash, press, and fold your clothes before sending them back for a fee of Rp 10,000 per kg. We use this method of laundry because it is vitally important that we support the local community and fuel income generation for them wherever we can to reduce their reliance on fishing and mangrove logging.
▼ Can I go off-site on my days off?
Yes. Lombok is a beautiful place and Sekotong is largely untouched by tourism making it a perfect region to explore if you like places of natural beauty. On our “Pricing Advice” sheet that you will receive as part of your “Welcome Pack” when you book, there is information regarding the cost of the car, scooter and boat hire for days away from the site. We can recommend some of our favourite spots to visit and will happily arrange transport hire on your behalf. There are also a small number of restaurants and resorts in the area, on the mainland and on a couple of the islands around us, which are perfect if you are wanting something a bit different on your Monday Dry Day.
▼ Can I withdraw cash locally?
You cannot withdraw money at SORCE since there are no ATM’s here. However, money can be withdrawn from Mataram (1.5 hours from SORCE) which can be done for you by our staff on one of our Mataram supply trips. However, these trips are only once every 2-3 weeks and occasionally issues can arise due to ATM incompatibility with your bank making cash withdrawal not possible. We suggest bringing cash with you or withdrawing money at one of the airports as you pass through to avoid issues later on.
▼ How much cash will I need?
This really depends on how much you intend to buy outside of what is included in your package. In your Welcome Pack, we provide a “Pricing Advice” sheet which gives information about the local prices of snacks, drinks, and souvenirs as well as toiletries, data packages, and transport (if you are wanting to venture off-site on your weekends). This can be used to help you estimate how much cash you are likely to require to cover your expenditures.
▼ Can I buy supplies at SORCE?
We have a ‘bar’ at SORCE from which you can purchase a number of “tuck” items. These range from soft drinks, beers, wine, and spirits, to dry snacks and fruit, to toiletries, mosquito coils, and other essential items. We do our utmost to ensure that the products we supply are as sustainable and environmentally friendly as possible.
We also have a number of souvenirs that have been hand-crafted by local people from the surrounding villages. All of the proceeds from these souvenirs go back to the families who make them to ensure that they are fully benefitting from their crafts. We believe it is vitally important that we support the local community and fuel income generation for them wherever we can to reduce their reliance on fishing. We do have some SORCE merchandise for sale as well, so depending on availability you can purchase t-shirts, dry bags, mask straps, log books, and photo prints.
We do however ask that you read through the “Equipment List” provided in your Welcome Pack and bring all necessary items with you.
▼ Do I need to bring a sleeping bag, a towel, or warm/long clothing?
No, you do not need to bring a sleeping bag. Your bed comes with sheets and pillow provided and fresh linens are provided once a week. The nights don’t get very cold at all, so the vast majority of people do not need a blanket and find that a sheet is sufficient.
We provide you with a towel to use during your stay, however, we request that this be used for shower purposes only and not as a beach towel. We have found that some people like to have more than one towel so a lightweight quick dry microfibre towel is a very handy item to bring and not too bulky to travel with.
Although the weather is generally very warm at around 30 degrees C, with repetitive diving some people can get a bit cold so it’s nice to have some warmer clothes to put on after a dive. We also recommend wearing long lightweight trousers and tops in the evening as these can help to prevent bites from mosquitos.
Leggings can also be very useful for snorkeling and diving if you do not wish to wear a full wetsuit, as they create a barrier between you and anything that may sting you through accidental contact.
Full details of everything you need to bring can be found in the “Equipment List” portion of the Welcome Pack that you receive once your booking has been confirmed.
▼ What Scuba/Snorkeling equipment do I need to bring?
As part of our packages, we provide you with rental gear for the duration of your stay. This gear includes a BCD, regulator, weight belt, weights, and tanks. We do also have a supply of Dive computers available to rent on-site, however, these are not included in the package deal.
You will also need to supplement this equipment with a few things of your own, including a mask, fins, wetsuit/rash suit, and booties. These are not provided for a number of reasons, primarily due to the huge range in sizes required to cater to everyone and the fact that having ill-fitting gear can drastically reduce your enjoyment of your scuba diving activities, particularly if you are using the equipment over a longer period of time.
Full details of everything you need to bring can be found in the “Equipment List” portion of the Welcome Pack that you receive once your booking has been confirmed.
▼ Can I choose my activities and are all scheduled activities mandatory?
Absolutely, we want you to enjoy your time here and get the most from the experience, whether that be for your own personal interest, or in order to further your career aspirations. Either way, you will have a level of flexibility regarding the projects that you are involved with.
It is also not mandatory to join activities that are scheduled, for example, we do at times have students who wish to sit out of the odd dive since diving multiple times 6-days a week can be very tiring. This is not a problem at all, we simply ask that you inform our staff as soon as possible so that we can alter the schedule if required and plan accordingly (since your buddy will need a different partner).
Land-based activities can also be missed, however, please note that many of these activities are focused on training and teaching and therefore, if you do not complete the training this may limit the activities that you are able to take part in. For example, reef impact surveys can only be done after you have successfully completed the substrate identification and coral physiology training sessions.
▼ What can I do with the Marine Science A-Level Qualification?
The Marine Science A-Level is a great way to improve your foundation of marine science knowledge across a broad range of relevant biological topics. The qualification is pre-university level, is internationally recognised, and is awarded by Cambridge International. The qualification can therefore provide a fantastic basis upon which to build your marine science career, or simply as a way of facilitating personal development. It is ideal for people looking to progress on to university, or who are wanting to transition from a different career focus directly into the marine science industry. That said, we have also had gap year students, professionals on career breaks, and retirees take part in the course.
In terms of opportunities that the course opens door to, it does depend somewhat on the direction you would like to pursue and your existing background. We have had students take a range of different routes after completing the A-Level course. Some have gone on to study further at university, either through an undergraduate degree, or skipping straight to a Master’s degree. Others have dived straight into the industry working with other NGOs as marine science coordinators, conservation officers, or project managers for various research and conservation-related programs. We’ve even had students go on to work as dive instructors and divemasters but with a specific focus on setting up conservation projects and marine science training courses for their dive schools.
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