Honeymoon Day 2 – Turtle Islands
An early start this morning to get to Kota Kinabalu airport for our short flight to Sandakan, although I did get to watch the last half hour of the West Ham v Burnley game as we did our final packing.
We were met in Sandakan and taken to the jetty for our boat trip to the Turtle Islands, but not before a quick stop off in the town to buy some snacks. Found a local market that had the worst smelling fruit in it, the durian fruit. That combined with the stacks of dried fish gave the place a really horrible smell. So glad I don’t have to shop there every week!
The boat trip to the islands took about 50 minutes and when we arrived the boat beached itself and we all jumped off onto the beach, no luxury of a jetty here!
We were given a quick briefing telling us where we could go, what we could do and what would happen later that evening before being left to our own devices for the rest of the day.
The accommodation wasn’t exactly the luxury you’d expect on your honeymoon: two single beds, a simple bathroom, a ceiling fan and a can of bug spray!
We went for a walk around the island, which took about fifteen minutes, taking in the turtle hatchery where thousands of eggs were buried, and came across a large monitor lizard. After lunch we hit the beach for a bit of subathing and snorkelling and just relaxed for the rest of the day.
Before dinner we were shown a video about turtles and the project to save them in this area and then after dinner there was nothing else to do but wait.
We weren’t allowed to wander around the island in case we disturbed any turtle that came ashore, so we sat around playing Uno with a few other people in our group, while we waited for news of a nesting turtle.
At 8.40pm we got the call and made our way down to the beach to watch a female lay her eggs. Up until the time she actually starts laying it is important not to disturb a female as she may change her mind, not lay and head back to the water. It’s only when she goes into a trance-like state that it’s safe for us to get close to her.
She lay 92 eggs and these were taken back to the hatchery to be placed into their own secure nest. Afterwards we made our way back to the beach where we released 35 baby turtles back into the water.