Turtles and Guns, But Mostly Turtles, Borneo – The Smug Monday Series Ep. 22
A Smug Monday post by Sam (aged 11) and Evan (aged 9)
After a long sweaty slog through the stinky streets of Sandakan, in Malaysian Borneo, we arrived at the offices of Crystal Quest, the only (legal) way to Turtle Island. Once there, we took an hour long bumpy and calm boat ride with Alex (A.K.A Dr Beer) and Michael to the island itself. The accommodation was not the gecko poo infested shed we were expecting. In fact, it was reasonably nice.
As fast as you can say “Army police with big guns” we were down the beach with Army police with big guns, protecting us from Philippino pirates. I think the scary thing was that you could see the Philippines from the island and it would only take two minutes and quite a fast boat to get between the two. The police guys were lovely and had a very big telescope so you could see people walking around in the Philippines. Also another great fact was that we were only 6 degrees north of the equator (414 miles).
After meeting the policemen, we hopped into the lovely water and snorkelled with sea cucumbers, parrot fish and clams. After that, we headed for lunch where it was announced that we had a bucket load of fudge time to do whatever we wanted. So we meandered along the turtle tracked, bomb cratered and drift wood free beach, finding cracked turtle eggs and playing in breakwaters. And then it started to rain. Really started to rain. It rained so hard it hurt. It was like pebbles were falling from the clouds.
Once we had got safely to the dining area we were called to see the first turtle. We trotted along until we popped out onto the beach to see three turtles laying or coming up the beach. We were only allowed to harass one as whenever your torch cascaded over another, a man with a large gun gave you a scary look. The guide said that they can lay two to three eggs a second. Our one laid over 100 eggs and once it was done we headed to the hatchery to plant them. After putting a net over them so the eggs weren’t eaten by lizards, we headed to the beach with a box of turtles to release into the wild. Every one stood in a semi-circle around the box as it was turned on its side and forty-six midget turtles scurried to the sea. We had to turn several around as they came back out confused. We hope that at least one of them will survive to adulthood.
So then it was 10 o’clock and we headed home to sleep. Over all it was epic, brilliant and informative all in one.
The Smug Monday Series is Sam and Evan’s part of our blog. If you’ve got to do some writing, you might as well write about adventures you have on a Monday, just as your friends are off to school, and be smug about it.