*A story written by Jay Williams, intern at the Perhentian Turtle Project*
So after a near 30 hour journey I finally arrived in Perhentian much to my relief. Connaugh and Joel had already arrived earlier that day (when I was supposed to if it wasn’t for my delay). Just threw all my stuff into my room and jumped straight into the sea – much needed! I hadn’t even been here for 24 hours the next morning to find one of the Kampung’s many semi domestic/feral cats near the Ecoteer house, with an open leg wound where you could see the bone and ligaments. At the time I was the only person around with any First Aid experience, never mind any Veterinary so I happened to be the one to see to the wound, clean and dress it: luckily that cat is running around nice and healthily now.
The first week here consisted of mainly DIY projects in and around the turtle house getting it ready for the volunteer’s arrival the next month. Later on in the week we had some visitors from the project in Merapoh so together with them we explored around the Kecil Island seeing the terrestrial beauty of what makes it special. To end the week on Friday, we went with Zuri from ‘Ecoteer House’ to her Roots & Shoots class at the school to meet all the kids.
Next week we had a lot more visitors including the 2 Big Bosses Daniel & Pavin and most of the people from the projects in Ipoh and Merapoh, totaling in over 30 people were staying between the 2 projects and volunteer’s house. It was a warm gathering for the Fuze Ecoteer Family with new faces turning into best friends. This was mainly in aid of the lifeguard course taking place that week by Mr Lee – Veteran life guard coach for all the most well established institutes across Malaysia. Even though only 2/3rds of us were actually taking the course, it was a chance for all the projects to get together at the same time. After a busy week of communal dining, training and testing, everyone passed the course and I went out to celebrate with about half of the group to Long Beach for my first experience there – if you know me you will understand what I mean when I say it was a fun night.
It was weird going from having so many people staying with us then them leaving us with only 4 in our house and 6 at Ecoteer. But to be fair, we actually had time to start doing what we’re actually here for – Turtle Surveys! So in the first week of surveying we started by finding the resident celebrity of turtle bay – Polly! And then found an extra turtle each day which was a promising progress finding 5 on the 5th day!
After about 10 days of surveying we finally received the last member of the turtle team – Kak Ramona! So with the team complete we had just under a week until the first volunteers would arrive in which time Ramona managed to settle in and catch up really quickly. When the volunteers arrived we gave them the vital initiation of the infamous Jetty Jump! We then took turns in taking them on surveys and had our first proper Malay dinner all together at Kak Ani and Abang Sabri’s house (The Aunty and Uncle of Ecoteer and Turtle project) a meal that will not be forgotten!
To end the month and start the next one, we all went over to Tiga Ruang on the Besar Island to meet Pok Din and some of the fisheries staff then after we carried out our first night patrol. Unfortunately, we did not see any turtles come to nest that night, perhaps it’s still too early in the season as Monsoon has still not finished. Another sign of Global Warming.