Sunday, June 20, 2010

Turtle Advanture (Part 3) - Night

I had my first taste of night-beach-patrol.

No lights were allowed besides occasional flashes of our torch-lights.

The only light bulb available (On only if necessary)

We were waiting for turtles to “board” on the shore to lay their eggs.

The moon above our heads was bright, as so, we could see our own shadows following us all over the beach line. I felt great lying down on the beach of white, fine sand under a blanket of stars. We could spot important “star-configuration” e.g. South-star (南极星), North-seven-star (北斗七星), South-cross (南方十字座), which were used as direction indicators by sailors for centuries.

Don't really know how to shoot in the dark, esp. without tri-pod

As volunteers, our job were to assist and help the researchers and staffs with their jobs. We were assigned various tasks like recording the time the turtles land, body-pit, nest, camouflage, and leave for sea. Turtle’s sizes (width and length) were also measured and recorded. “First-timer” egg-laying turtles were tagged on their front flippers for future records.

We wore dark coloured shirts and trousers in order not to get noticed by the turtles, for they'll not nest their eggs.

We are required to petrol the 350m long beach line till 12am, and are divide into 2 shifts afterwards. (12-3am or 3-6am)

Turtles start landing on the beach from 8pm onwards, until as "late" as 5am. They'll first look for their favourite spot and "pit" their body into the sand. Not until they're satisfied, they won't "create" their egg chamber and nest.

With their turtle-ly pace, the nesting process takes up about 2 hours.

Some turtles would just land on the beach for an evening walk and return to the sea...

A mama-turtle

Around 10 turtles per night land during my slot

Average 100-200 eggs per nest

Blood sampling for research


Turtles are quite a funny and innocent lot. Some land on the beach doing nothing, some land on the beach but mistakenly walked into the jungle, needing us to "re-direct" them. Some went near our (speed boat) diesel petrol storage area to plot a terror-attack, by hitting the diesel bottles. (Which shocked me a little!)

Some, like this one, needed extra-time.

The sun is up! It's getting hot! What are you still doing here?

Or should I say they're a patient and hard-working lot

Step by step

Leaving tracks in the sand

At least this is how they live their lives.

Grand Canyon in Redang?

Chagar Hutang beach has nature in it's most natural form.

This is a place for research and preservation, of the endangered green and hawksbill sea turtles. There must be some special reasons sea turtles, which had been in the waters for millions of years, choose CH as their ground for prolonging generation.

Why not contribute for this noble cause?

Ps: Still more coming up!


Schuan said...

your blog is interesting, do write more!

kae vin said...

I wish I could do that! Love turtles! :D

ykuen said...

wow ... thanks for promoting SEATRU :)

cruSadER said...

Schuan: Thanks man... Your underwater pics are cool~

Kae Vin: Go to SEATRU website to book your slot?

Kuen: No prob. This is a foo activity.. Hopefully more ppl can experience it!