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Published: March 19th 2016
Turtle (Seligan) Island
After leaving at about 9.30am from Sandakan Harbour it took a 400hp boat an hour to get us to Turtle Island. On the way we saw Pilipino pirates with black hoods on and 4 of the masked men with big guns, holding up this other smaller boat. I didn’t get my camera out fast enough to take a shot. We learned that there is now police on Turtle Island because there had been a kidnapping several months previously and lots of poachers.
We settled into our basic accommodation and then 10 of us sat around telling travel stories etc. It was great.....not to mention the occasional joke. They were a good mob.
After lunch we hired fins, goggles and snorkel and went for a swim in the sea where they had netted off a large area. The weather was really warm and so was the water. It was beautiful.
The water was very clear and once we got away from the beach where the coral had been trampled on, the coral was in
excellent condition. It was beautiful as was the incredible variety of colourful fish, sea cucumbers and all that you would expect in tropical waters. We were paddling around for a couple of hours on and off.
Turtle Island is a turtle sanctuary where rangers take all eggs laid by turtles each night and bury them in a carefully marked spot in an enclosed hatchery. We saw many monitors which are predators and raid turtle nests.
The turtles in this area are green turtles and hawksbill turtles. That night after dinner and after we had watched a half hour video on the turtle conservation work being done on the Island, a ranger indicated there was a green turtle laying her eggs up the beach. It was about 8.30pm. We all herded up the beach and watched her lay 88 eggs. The poor thing was exhausted after she laid her last egg.
The rangers collected the eggs and then buried them in the heavily fenced hatchery. There were also some hatchlings which had made their way to the surface in the hatchery so it was time to take them down to the beach
so that they could find their way to the water. Even though we had seen this all before at Begara near Bundaberg, it was still exciting to watch these little animals make their way to the water by following the ranger’s light. It was a very successful night so we went to bed very satisfied.
The next morning we were up early for breakfast before catching the 7.00am speed boat back to the mainland
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