Thursday, June 17, 2010

Turtle Adventure (Part 2) - Turtle Island

One of the volunteers – Ziqi called me when I was packing my stuffs at about 9.30am. They’d just arrive at Shahbandar Jetty, KT town, from Kemaman.

From Ping Anchorage, I carried my (6 kg) haversack with my DSLR camera bag over my shoulders and walked thru the main roads of KT town to the jetty. It took me around 20 minutes. (I did look like a navy going to war!)

Syahbandar Jetty, the gateway to Redang Island

There were 6 other volunteers there, namely She Yong, Kun Long, Ting Hua, Su Wang, Xiao Wei and Ziqi. All except Xiao Wei are from MMU Melaka campus.

I gelled well with my new found friends.

There were also a few research assistants in Yana and Lionel who gave us some briefing. We left for Redang Island in a Laguna Resort sponsored tourist boat.

At Laguna Resort

Laguna-owned boats

Sometime soon... I'll get my diving license

We transferred from Laguna Resort to our destination – Chagar Hutang on a SEATRU-owned speed boat – Penyu I. The whole journey took a total of 2 hours.

LOOK!!! No sea-sick problems - Ivan Tay KY (You should've come)

Presenting:

Chagar Hutang - Turtle Sanctuary (under full authority of Universiti Malaysia Terengganu Oceanology Department Sea Turtle Research Unit, SEATRU)

Located at the "north pole" of Redang Island, away from all tourist buzz and activities

To be honest, the beach at Chagar Hutang wasn’t what I expected. It was a 350 meters shore-line. A little bit short of my imagination. There were flocks of dry leaves (caused by the heavy rain the day before), and dead (harden, and some sharp) corals on the beach.

We met up with an industrial trainee – Chuan (who would later be my best friend on the island), Yee Kuen (Master student in Marine Biology), Asri, Faezah and Vicky (all FYP students).

Together with 2 local people as full time staffs – Man and Fiffi, there were less than 20 people on ths part of Redang Island.


We were given short briefings of various rules, regulations, and self-conducts to follow. We had a simple makeshift lunch of (Maggi Mee + some veges, fried-eggs)

Our first task started at around 5pm - Nest-Check.

Nest-check is performed to identify the condition of the turtle eggs. Normally, we check out nest which are 45 days old.

Fiffi checking out an egg-nest

Everyone's given various task - taking readings, records, measurement, count all hatched, unhatched, destroyed turtle eggs, count the number of baby turtles, snap photos and etc.

Recording the nest number, date, and tag number (turtle mom's IC number)

Measuring the location of the nest

Labeling

A tag each for both the turtle's flippers - Turtle's IC

Turtle nest record form

It's a tedious but rewarding effort

But as human beings, we ought to contribute back to mother nature, after inflicting so much damage on it.

And do always keep in mind that, no charity is too small

By 7pm, we'd head back to prepare dinner.

One of the masters in the kitchen - Xiao Wei'll really be a good housewife one day

Every meal was simple

But any meal out in the wild will always taste great

A good dinner is most critical, as the most critical part of our duties as volunteers is coming up next - Night patrol, and look out for sea turtles to land and nest eggs.

Our real work starts when the sun sets on the horizon, and when darkness takes over and covers...

This heaven

Ps: More to come... Stay tuned!