I got used to the constant sound of cicadas buzzing away in the jungle. Apparently when they stop it means that a thunderstorm is on its way.
Panorama shot of me standing on Turtle Bay, Lang Tengah.
Camp begun with a nest check this morning. On Turtle Bay, the camp’s private beach, there are little wooden signs behind a metal mesh labelling the nest number and indicating the nest position. Ghost crabs and monitor lizards prey on turtle nests and so the mesh prevents them from digging into the egg chamber.
The signs and mesh indicating and protecting the turtle nests.
Removing the mesh and sitting around a green turtle nest, we positioned our hands like flippers to dig down into the egg chamber and avoid damaging the eggs. Once we reached the eggs we took a few out to see their development and determine an approximate hatching date. When the egg shell thins, that is when a hatching is imminent and when that’s the case, we camp out on the beach and wait for the hatchlings to rise! When covering the egg chamber with sand, we never pat the sand down for the turtle eggs to have an oxygen flow. The eggs are porous and sensitive, thus requiring special care. Before digging we disinfect our hands. Turning the eggs can twist the embryo and kill the turtle.
Green turtle eggs are significantly larger than hawksbill turtle eggs. The dark spots on top of the egg are signs of a fungal infection, in this case a very mild one which shouldn’t affect the hatching.
Every morning our camp leader, KL, updates the chore list in the kitchen. They rotate daily and involve tasks such as cooking, raking the leaves off camp ground, putting out the solar panels to charge phones and power kitchen lights at night, fetching well water to be filtered, cleaning washed up trash on the beach and doing the dishes. This makes camp life comfortable, clean and active!
View of the ocean from Turtle Bay, Lang Tengah.
After a quick pasta lunch, camp got ready to go snorkeling in “Blue Coral”, a lovely spot close to Summer Bay. I brought my flippers, a water bottle and my mask. To get to this spot, us volunteers trekked through the jungle, D’Coconut hotel and Sari Pacifica Resort. Both of these hotels seem to be running out of business, as they have barely any tourists staying with them. The island’s poacher, Yassine, works for D’Coconut hotel and does turtle egg poaching as a side job.
Jungle trekking to "Blue Coral".
Faye, the camp’s intern, showed me how to get water out of my snorkeling tube and mask and she taught me snorkeling sign language for “shark”, “triggerfish”, “turtle”, “I’m good”, “what you’re showing me is cool”, “come up”. The water was as warm as bath water, turquoise and clear. In the shallows most of the coral was bleached, but as the group snorkeled out into the deep, where the shallow suddenly dropped, there were thousands of colorful fish among this stunning neon blue coral. I have never seen anything like it.
We found a dead baby black tip reef shark in the shallows before snorkelling.
A short distance away from the blue coral was a black tip reef shark nursery. These sharks are harmless and it feels incredible swimming among them surrounded by coral. I saw baby half meter black tip reef sharks and one that was 1.2 meters long! I particularly enjoyed seeing the clown fish in their anemone.
First time adding a gif! I converted a video I took into a gif and it worked! These are clownfish. When you come close, they pop out of their anemone and stare at you.
Most volunteers bought ice cream at the Summer Bay Resort after our long snorkel. We walked back to camp, had bucket showers and changed into clean clothes. We had rice for dinner and then I continued reading The Secret History by Donna Tartt, waiting for my patrol with Faye.
Sunset at Summer Bay Resort, Lang Tengah.
On a patrol, a volunteer is supposed to look out for turtle tracks and then follow them to find the turtle. The tracks are hard to miss, they look as if a tractor wheel rolled up from the water and into the rainforest!
Turtle tracks. They aren't very easy to see in red light, but hopefully now you have somewhat of an image in mind of what they look like!
I really enjoyed jungle trekking and snorkeling today. The nest check was great, too! I am definitely looking forward to camping out on the beach when a hatching is just around the corner. I will document this for you, Steemit!
Thank you very much for reading about my second day on Lang Tengah! Let me know if you enjoyed it!