(Oct 3 and 4)
Before heading to the famous turtle island, i had yummy chinese breakfast of egg tart and curry pastry. Yummmm
At 9 we headed down to the harbour to catch the jetty over to turtle island.
A short oen hour ride from sandakan - we passed by some of the stilt house settlements.
We landed on the gorgeous beach of Turtle Island. It was like in a movie...where your boat lands on a white sand beach with ridiculously warm water.
Palm trees everywhere..
We walked in and realized this was no ordinary resort island. It was a true turtle sanctuary...in a sense. This pic below is the turtle hatchery where they take the eggs laid on the beach by the mothers and put them into these individual holes. Each hole is labelled with the datrk the number of eggs and the number of the transfer in the year.
After settling into our accomodations, we all head to the beach for some sunshine and r&r.
The beach was beautiful, warm waters, white sand...
It was gorgeous....until the storm clouds rolled in and we were all kicked off the beach.
Tho the rain did make us have extra time to walk around and see these new hatchlings in the hatchery. Im pretty sure i wasnt allowed to walk into it unsupervised, but....so cute!
The beach was empty....but there was something so peaceful and pleasant about walking on th beach as it slowly gets darker. Scott kindly accompanied me for the awesome evening stroll.
He showed me these turtle tracks from the mother turtles the night before! How cool is this?
Also saw this tiny crab in the dark. One of these things, but twenty times smaller landed on me during the day and bit me! Fiesty little things!
The thing about turtle island is that you have to be patient. Dinner is scheduled for 7:30pm, and after that, we pretty much have to wait until the park rangers say we can go look at the egg laying. The reason we are allowed to watch is that when the egg laying begins, the mother turtle goes into a trance and is completely oblivious to everything around her.
It was an amazingly magical moment, but something about taking pics of the laying process was slighty odd. Lol.
The turtle was huge!
More than a metre in length. Whenver a new turtle reaches the island, she is tagged so that they can track the number of times the turtles lay eggs. This girl in particular was a new comer :)
That night, she laid ninety three eggs! Can you imagine giving birth 93 times?
After the eggs were transfered ot the hatchery, the park rangers took the hatchlings from the current day and prepped them to br released into the wild. It takes these babies four days to get from their shells to above ground.
Once all the photos were taken of the basket, the turtles were released and they raced towards the water.
Not sure what motivates them into the water, but they are instinctively aimed for the water. Soooo cute
Seeing these baby turtles released was definitely the highlight of my trip. Absolutely amazing.
After the hatchlings are released, we are required to go back to our rooms so as to not disturb any of the mothers still laying her eggs on the beach. The following morning, we decided to all get up to see the sunrise..and take a stroll on the beach at five. Unfortunately, park rangers got us and said we cant go until 6.
At around 5:50, we started walking around and saw sooooo many turtle tracks. SOOOO AWESOME. Really wish i could have seen the mother turtle go in thou :(
The stats for the day for our island "PSL" are as follows: 38 landings, 33 nestings, 2456 eggs transplanted, and 1011 hatchlings!!!
The efforts made by Sabah parks is absolutely amazing. Thanks to them, these little sea turtles have more of a fighting chance of survival. Yay turtles :)
This island was by far my favourite part of my malay trip. Absolutely amazing. :) anyone who goes to sabah MUST come here!
We leave the island at 7am and head back to sandakan. It was pretty early so a few ppl fell asleep. Elko fell asleep...and everyone decided to pose in a pic with him. Hilarious :)
I decided to leave my tour group after turtle island. Almost two months of constant go-go-go has taken a bit of a toll on my sanity, so i decide to forgoe the orangutan sanctuary (remember that i hate monkies).
For sure, the person i would miss most from this Sabah tour Is Scott. He taught me so much about nature, about the area, about malay culture and certainly about not giving up (as im hyperventalating up the mountain). He's also one of the funniest, most free spirited people I have met...he lives the life that I dream about. Travelling the world, meeting new people every day and emersing himself in new cultures all the time. My trip to the Borneo jungle would not have been the same without him. Thanks Scott for making my visit here sooooo amazing :) you rock.
Location:TURTLE ISLAND, Sabah, Malaysia