Monday, July 7, 2008

Chagar Hutang 2008

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At long last... gonna squeeze in some time to write about my trip to Chagar Hutang (CH). The trip was pretty much the same as in the past. The usual briefing at the Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) campus where we would meet the other volunteers as well. I was supposed to meet Fong (last year’s RA) but the timing of my flight was out and she had to leave for Setiu on her other project. It was however pleasant to meet Karen again (a vet student whom I met during last year’s trip to CH). Anyway, we arrived kinda’ in the midst of the briefing so a tip here for volunteers would be to take the Air Asia flight which leaves at 7 am instead of the MAS flight which leaves at 9 am. Anyway, blah blah blah.. and we were then off to Merang after signing our disclaimer… so if anything happens to us in CH, UMT is covered… :-)

We arrived at Laguna jetty after 1 pm and Adie soon greeted us on Si Penyu (the speedboat belonging to the project). After loading the boat, we were on our way… Woo Hooooo…

The whole week was pretty much uneventful except for the stormy rains almost every night except on Friday and we had a sort of record landing and nesting as well, a total of 56 landings and 33 nestings thus ending up in 2nd place so far (lost out by 1 nest). That was pretty much my personal record as well. On top of that there were at least 5 new nesting green turtles (nesting for the first time) and there were 2 hawksbill turtles… (of which I saw one) YES... a dream fulfilled!!

Activities throughout the week was pretty much the same except that on Wednesday there was a bunch of school kids from all over Malaysia who visited the island as part of an event organized by the Co-Curriculum Centre in an effort to create awareness & appreciation for marine life and as we were short-handed, I was given the honour of giving the briefing to the kids in the gallery. Mann was briefing on the beach patrol and other conservation work whereas Lea (the Research Assistant) would be briefing the participants on the efforts of the Conservation Program.

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During the river hike, we also completed a mission… To place signboards of interesting spots… The river hike is pretty much an unguided one so I was thinking that it would be good to have the signboards in place so volunteers would know what to look for.
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The turtle rock hike had to be postponed till Thursday as certain events kinda’ threw the original schedule out. In addition, the sea conditions were quite bad since Monday so snorkeling at other spots (e.g. Marine Park, Pulau Lima) also had to be canceled. We still had fun snorkeling off the beach.
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This year, nests were affected quite badly by fire ants. There wasn’t that much monitor lizards lurking around (as I understand the staffs had gone on a lizard purging activity recently) but we were relocating nests on an average of 2 -3 nests a day due to fire ants attack. And it wasn’t a pretty sight. There was a nest that was attacked and though we managed to recover the remaining eggs and some of the hatchlings most of the hatchlings didn’t survive probably due to the injuries from the ant bites.
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Food-wise, it was as great as ever. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that food is better than at the resorts. Even Bao Yi who doesn’t normally go for Malay food is now a believer!!
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All in all, no regrets coming here again... now planning for the next trip... to French Guyana for Leatherback Turtles... Woo Hoooooo..... more like a dream... :-) Welll... enjoy the following pictorial account... and there are many more at my multiply album.

We saw turtles.... There were green turtle hatchlings...Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
And there were hawksbill hatchlings...
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We saw the Green Turtle Mommy...
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And we saw the Hawksbill mommy (My first time too)Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
We ate Bihun Goreng Chagar Hutang...
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We had Ayam Masak Merah
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And the Ayam Masak Tomato was outta this world...Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
However, some of us were still hungry...Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
We saw butterflies
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We even had our Mr Chagar Hutang competition... Adie Won!! Siooottt!!!Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
We hiked up the river...
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And we hiked up Turtle Rock...
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We saw the sun rise...
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And we saw the sun set...
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Of course, we worked...
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But we also lazed...
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We posed...
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We also snorkeled...
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We lost a few...
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But we also saved a lot...
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Lets all make a difference... Pledge and say "No!!" to turtle eggs by sending an email to turtle@umt.edu.my with the message “I pledge NOT to eat turtle or terrapin eggs for the rest of my life” together with your full name and MyKad number (needed for authentification).

4 comments:

Chen Sue Yee said...

Hey GREAT blog!!!!
Nicely written & great photos!!!

[well, I'm still hungry...starving for hatchlings!!! LOL!!!]

pelf said...

"We lost a few... But we also saved a lot.."

I love this, PA :D

puayaun said...

ke ke... Sue Yee... I'll get Adie to mail you some carcasses...

Pelf... yeah... I sorta came up with it all of a sudden while trying to figure out how to arrange the pics... Some of my friends are complaining I write too much... should have more of a photo blog... So was trying to balance it both but as you can see.. I still very cheong hei... So how's the US of A?

Rebecca (slot W 2007) said...

Nice blogging here.. Made me miss it so much, will probably do it again next year. ;) The increase of the fire ant is a shame, but guess that's the nature of life.

Bec